social media guide

Social Media Guide For Brands During COVID-19

The question on many marketers’ lips amidst the current COVID-19 crisis is how they should be marketing their brand on social media. After all, most businesses can’t afford to stop promoting altogether, but many fear they are being insensitive to the pandemic.

The good news for brands is that since the UK-wide lockdown and social distancing measures, social media usage is up. In fact, platforms like Instagram and Facebook have seen a whopping 40% increase in use since the start of the outbreak. On average, we’re now spending between 3-7 hours on social media every day.

But, although we might be using social media more and more, it’s certainly isn’t business as usual.

Brands must learn how to navigate the temporary ‘new normal’ with sensitivity, learning to adapt their social media strategies in light of the current crisis.

Report Central have put together this guide to help every business learn to alter their social media strategy during the COVID-19 crisis. After all, businesses can’t afford to stop marketing or selling through social media, but they can change the way they do it.

Alter your messaging

 

Perhaps the most obvious question at this time is whether your brand should continue posting on social media at all.

After all, brands do not want to risk coming across as insensitive or ignorant to the crisis. However, with more people using and spending time on social platforms, this is a great opportunity for businesses to connect with their audience.

The answer is that there’s a balance to be found.

Although brands should continue sharing and posting, they must alter what they share. After all, brands shouldn’t ignore the fact there is a global pandemic going on. The key to delivering crisis-sensitive posts is to alter your tone and messaging.

To do this, here are a few key points for every brand should take on board when it comes to their content:

  • Do not exploit the situation for your own gain. It goes without saying – customers won’t appreciate or respond to this. In fact, 75% of us think companies shouldn’t exploit the situation.
  • Be authentic: 63% of consumers choose to buy from brands that are authentic over businesses that aren’t. During a time of crisis, customers want to see authenticity more than ever.
  • Be honest: likewise, honesty is also held highly by consumers, with 91% of customers valuing honesty from companies they decide to buy from. Be open and honest about what your business is doing at this time and how you’ve had to change.
  • Be available and open: let your customers know that they can reach out to you on social media to ask questions or gain further information, whether that’s through Direct Messaging or comments. Communication is super important during a crisis to instil trust between yourself and the customer.
  • Use the right tone: although you need to be on-brand, businesses also need to alter their tone to be sensitive towards the current crisis, being compassionate in your communications, addressing your customers’ concerns and supporting them as much as you can in a thoughtful, positive and constructive manner.
  • Keep your audience informed: it’s important to keep your audience in the loop about your COVID-19 measures, showing them how your brand is playing its part during the crisis. From safety measures to shipping policies, keep your audience informed.
  • Be positive: consumers turn to social media for positivity. Your followers want to hear about how your brand is having a positive impact on the community, how your products are being used for useful means or a positive story to make their day that bit better.

Provide value to your followers

 

As many of us have extra time on our hands under lockdown measures, think about how your brand can create awesome organic content that offers real value to your audience. Whether that’s by informing or entertaining them, this is a great way to grow engagement and keep connected with your audience during this time.

Although this will inevitably differ from business to business, here are a few examples every business can take on board for inspiration:

  • Teach your followers a new skill: under lockdown many people are focusing on picking up new skills, so how better help them out by parting some of your brands’ expertise to your audience? From styling tips, home work-out advice to short cooking classes, think about how your brand can help your audience.
  • Sharing useful guides: again, think about what will be useful to your audience, whether that’s a guide on ‘tips to working from home during lockdown’ to ‘best ways to home-school your children’, create useful guides your audience will love.
  • Posting video content: from an enterainting viral-worthy TikTok video to an informative Q&A with an influential figure in your industry, 80% of us are consuming more video during lockdown. This means video is a great way of offering awesome free content to your audience, keeping them entertained or teaching them a thing or two. For help creating awesome video content check out our complete guide here.

Go Live

 

Facebook and Instagram Live views increased by a whopping 50% in just a week’s time during lockdown. Going live is a great way to connect with your audience and there are tons of avenues to explore with the Live feature.

As a totally unedited video stream, Live lets followers engage with your brand in a truly authentic way. Plus, it’s a great way of showing the personal, human side to your business, helping build a strong connection with your audience.

There’s loads to explore when it comes to shooting Live, but here are some content ideas every business can consider:

  • Q&As: whether you let your audience ask you questions or you interview an influential figure in your industry. This is a great way of offering your audience more information about your brand or industry, helping to inform and entertain them.
  • Product demos: show your audience interesting or useful ways of using your products. Where possible link this to the current situation as this will be super useful for your audience. For example, show how your product is helpful when working from home.
  • Collaborate with influencers: this not only makes for great content for your audience, it also brings in new audience members from the influencer.
  • Show your life in lockdown: show your audience how your business is operating under lockdown and what changes you’ve had to make. This is a great way to add in a human touch while being open, honest and authentic.
  • Live stream events: whether you’re a musician live streaming a solo gig from your home or a chef preparing and cooking a meal from their kitchen. There are loads of super useful events businesses can stream to help and entertain their audience.

For more help with Facebook and Instagram Lives, check out this comprehensive guide from Later.

Ask for user-generated content

 

This is a great way to connect with your audience, showcase social proof and keep your audience entertained during lockdown.

Whether you ask your customers to send in photos or videos of them using your products in creative ways, ask them to show you how they’re keeping entertained during lockdown or ask to see their work from home set-up. There’s tons of fun ways you can connect with and engage your audience via user-generated content.

 

A few tips when asking for user-generated content include:

  • Ask them to tag you: this might sound obvious, but this not only enables you to find the users’ content, it is also great for brand awareness.
  • Use a branded hashtag: whether that’s merely your brand name #ReportCentral, or you get creative by creating a hashtag incorporating your brand name and an element of lockdown such as #WFHwithReportCentral, hashtags are hugely important for discovery and brand awareness.
  • Share the entries: sharing the user-generated content on your stories or feed is a great way of showing your audience you appreciate their content whilst encouraging more audience members to do the same.

Use your platforms to show how you’re helping

 

No matter how small, there are ways most businesses can help during a time of crisis. Whether that’s by offering useful free content to your audience or donating a % of profits to charities. If your brand is doing something to help, let your audience know about it on your social platforms.

After all, a recent Twitter survey found that 86% of people believe that businesses that can, should support frontline health staff and vulnerable people in the community. 77% said brands should support their local communities while a whopping 74% said brands should showcase acts of kindness and share positive stories.

The key takeaway for brands is to use their platforms to show what they’re doing to help at this time, no matter how small, and spread kind and positive messages.

If your business can’t afford to donate to charity there are tons of other ways you can help. Take this example from Basecamp, a work management platform. Their co-founder hosted a Q&A livestream answering questions from people about remote working:

As experts in this field, Basecamp are playing their small part to help their audience during this time. Think about how you can help your audience and use your social platforms to carry this out.

Communication is key

 

In times of crisis, it’s never been so important for brands and businesses to use their social media platforms as a means of communication with their customers.

Social media platforms are a great way to keep your audience updated on what your business is doing to address the crisis and keep them updated on any developments.

Remember, communication is a two-way street, and during this time of crisis your customers may have more questions and queries than usual.

That’s why it’s important to use your social media platforms as method of communication with your customers. It’s important for businesses to use their social platforms to respond to messages and comments, keeping a clear line of communication with your audience open.

Next Steps – approach your social media strategy the right way during the COVID-19 crisis

 

Living through unpresented times – businesses, brands, consumers and everyone in between are learning to adapt to the crisis as best we can. Although it’s a tough and tricky time for many businesses, every brand can learn to adapt and shape their social media strategy to best approach the crisis.

We hope you found our top tips to shaping your social media strategy useful. For more help with your brand’s social media, get in touch with Report Central today.

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