Social media is no doubt the quickest moving and most consistently updated source of information for your audiences, and your response strategy across your social profiles should be high on your COVID-19 to-do list.
These are the best immediate actions you can take on your organization’s and executive’s social media profiles.
Acknowledge the situation as quickly as possible
- Demonstrate empathy, clearly communicate the organization’s status, share pertinent details of how you plan to respond, and explain how to get more information or get in touch.
- We’ve been touched by the warmth and positive energy that’s been shared by our employees, clients, and partners in these trying times. Company X is committed to all of you, and we’re determined to help lessen the impact to you during this difficult situation. Our team is continuing to monitor the guidance of WHO, CDC, and other state and local health experts, working through the implications and identifying the best path forward. Please visit our COVID-19 response page for up-to-date information and answers to frequently asked questions.
Limit social media publishing to share only posts that fit all three assessment criteria: positive, helpful and necessary
- In times of crisis, it is better to pause, review the situation, and determine if you have any value to add before reacting. If your prospective clients aren’t in the mindset to receive and consider your messages, then they won’t be effective in helping drive business revenue anyway.
- Slow down cadence of posting to limit noise during the crisis. It’s okay to go silent if you don’t have anything helpful or necessary to contribute, but consider if it’d be on-brand to do so.
- While you may choose to slow down or stop social media posting for a period of time, that does not mean you should stop communicating with your key audiences completely. In times of crisis, clear and consistent communication is key. Leverage the resource landing page(s) on your website to provide up-to-date information.
- Review editorial calendars for tone and relevance to your key audiences in the current environment. Sideline content that isn’t appropriate or relevant.
- Get creative and identify ways that your brand can surprise and delight your followers with content (i.e. see #hashtagcowboy).
Sample Social Media Publishing Calendar:
Response webpage, video, press
|No Post||Relevant Resource
Blog, video, services page, ebook, worksheet
Jobs page, job spec, services page
|No Post||No Post|
Communicate to your internal team before sharing important information on social media
- This is a challenging time for everyone. Offer empathy, goodwill, and support to your internal associates and contract employees. Make sure they are up to speed on your communication plans before pertinent information is shared publicly.
- If your company has laid off or terminated employees, or has had temporary employees/contractors or field employees recently displaced, ensure you have appropriately communicated to these audiences how you will be supporting them.
Prepare and publish executive leadership response
- Publish a post that is authentic, heartfelt, based in fact, transparent, informative, and aligned with company communications.
- Consider posting a thoughtful, informative video response — these are being viewed very positively by a public that is increasingly adopting social distancing and spending less time around others.
- This one’s up to you! Don’t use a template: be authentic, personal, and open. Communicate to your stakeholders what you’re thinking or feeling, and what you think they need to know right now.
- Marriott CEO Video: https://twitter.com/MarriottIntl/status/1240639160148529160
- JetBlue CEO Video: http://blog.jetblue.com/coronavirus/?source=MKTEM20200318_4607465
Promote open jobs if you’re still hiring
- If you have openings that you or your clients need to fill, you should promote those positions. Many people have been laid off, furloughed, terminated or have uncertain job prospects. Communicating that you have available work is definitely helpful and necessary at this time.
Anticipate questions and prepare responses
- Develop prepared responses to frequently asked or expected to be asked questions and distribute to your social media and community managers. Ensure they’re armed with the information they need to respond quickly and effectively to all audiences.
- Are you still hiring right now?
- We are still hiring and you can find the list of available positions on our website at companyx.com/jobs.
- Is your LOCATION office open right now?
- The LOCATION office is not currently open due to shelter in place orders. However, our associates are available to assist you remotely. Please provide your full name, email address and phone number, and I can have them contact you at their earliest convenience.
- I was just notified my contract ended, what do I do now?
- NAME, I’m very sorry to hear that. I’m NAME and I’ll help get you in contact with the appropriate member of our team that can help you out. Can you please provide me with your full name, email and phone number?
Determine if you should start, stop or continue running your social media ad campaigns
- The decision of whether to run social media ads should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis as each business’ scenario and objectives are unique. However, if you decide to run ads, all should go through a thorough vetting process to ensure that tone, message, content, and imagery are appropriate for your audience during the current climate.
- For example, 57% of adults said they thought showing someone shaking hands in an ad would be inappropriate in the current climate. Be sure to consider all angles!
- If your organization offers products or services that ease the burden on clients and employees, then this may be an opportune time to build awareness of your brand. Just be sure they fit all three assessment criteria: positive, helpful and necessary.
Each brand and business is in a unique situation with different stakeholders, audiences, and needs. If you’ve determined it’s best for your brand to scale back on social media at this time, we recommend reallocating your energies and investments to prepare high-value content that can be used in the future (videos, proprietary studies, white papers), do something to surprise and delight your audience (we love these examples), or plan for a bigger, better campaign in the future that will help your business catch up from the downtime.
Whatever your needs—preparing your response or planning for the future—ClearEdge Marketing is by your side. We’re #InThisTogether.