We’re living an incredibly challenging new reality as this COVID-19 pandemic moves across the world. From navigating the changes to social distancing, homeschooling kids, dealing with cancelled projects and travel, working from home and taking proper safety measures whenever we leave the house, everyone’s adapting.
Our social media audiences are also feeling sensitive and vulnerable. As businesses, we need to be careful not to seem tone-deaf or misinformed.
If you’re wondering how to keep your social media followers engaged, informed and safe, we’ve got a few do’s and don’ts for social media during this trying time.
- Communicate with your team. First and foremost, if you’re part of a team, check in with your supervisor or communicate with your teams to make sure everyone is on the same page on the strategy you will adopt.
- Focus on your audience. Use this time to build trust and grow your audience. Offer helpful resources, freebies, or even a sounding board allowing them to voice their concerns. Check in with your audience often and if someone needs help, make sure to ask if they have tips to share with everyone else.
- Let them know you’re there. Respond to DMs with voice memos. People in isolation would really appreciate a live voice — and it’s a lot faster.
- Host Instagram Live chats. Many people will be feeling lonely. Seeing and hearing you live (and even perhaps joining you on screen) will be a welcome surprise for your audience.
- Reuse content and review any scheduled posts. Reuse old high-performing posts so you don’t have to concern yourself with creating new content. It’s actually best practice to use your content more than once, so don’t worry! You should also double-check your scheduled posts, unschedule posts that aren’t appropriate right now and save them for once things are back to normal.
- Take a break. Schedule your posts and take a break from social media if you feel the need to do so. You need to put yourself first so you can take care of yourself and your family.
- Sell your regular services and products. Life goes on, and your business does too. So, unless people need to leave the house to do business with you, it’s okay to continue promoting your business.
- Give COVID-19 updates. Of course it’s okay to mention the pandemic. After all, it doesn’t need to be the elephant in the room. That said, make sure you don’t add to the noise, or worse, help spread misinformation. Leave live updates to journalists and medical authorities.
- Email your audience about your contingency plan, unless it affects them. If you’ve paid attention to your inbox lately, you probably know every single business is emailing their lists about their plans regarding COVID-19. While some businesses need to do so (airlines, for example), if only a handful of people will be affected by your new plan, it’s best to email them directly. Be respectful with your audience’s time.
- Post happy-go-lucky posts on social media. While Instagram is a place for entertainment, you should be more careful at this time (and during any other crises, disaster or tragedy of a certain magnitude). Use your best judgement to make sure you’re not sounding tone-deaf and insensitive.
- Take advantage of the situation. This is a major no-no. This is not the time to show off, profit from the crisis or try to turn excessive attention to yourself. It’s time to be humble and to serve your audience.
- Push your audience to spend extra money. This will also depend on your business and audience, but you should always be sensitive to the uncertainty people are feeling. Reconsider dates of your promotions and launches, especially if your business is a luxury.
- Lose focus. This is important, especially if you’re a business owner doing your own social media. You may be feeling stressed out, angry at some behaviors or your government. While you should definitely express your values and opinions as a business when appropriate, make sure your account doesn’t become a place for negativity and rants.
Manu Muraro is Hype’s social media director. Find her on Instagram @yoursocialteam or Twitter @yoursocial_team.