According to the New York Times, “The virus changed the way we internet.” Facebook and YouTube use are up 27% and 15.3%, respectively. It’s likely your company has experienced an increase in social media traffic, as customers turn to social platforms to pass the time or stay updated on what’s going on among their friends, families, and favorite brands.
There are some essential things to keep in mind when it comes to your company’s official social media posts. Although information sharing is important, it’s wise to deliver your message in a calm and objective manner. The following social media strategies are likely to present a professional front that customers can appreciate and trust.
Be Upfront About Your Company’s Current Challenges and Wins
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, and your customers and followers are acutely aware of this. It’s acceptable to share your company’s current challenges with your audience. Continuing to do business as usual and downplaying the situation can come across as inauthentic and insensitive at this time.
When crafting your company’s social media posts, do more than simply share how the virus is affecting your business and its employees. Use the opportunity to highlight the actions you’re taking to address the challenges. In Ohio and other states, food trucks are doing booming business during the pandemic because their kitchens are kept in the same highly-scrutinized conditions as usual plus they’re mobile. Some are even offering online ordering and same-day delivery in various neighborhoods throughout their cities, and they use their social media accounts to share their locations and menu changes. Breweries and wineries are following suit.
For example, if your restaurant is indefinitely closed but you can keep your kitchen open, promote take-out service or advertise home delivery services. Offer to prepare and deliver meals to local hospital workers using a portion of the proceeds from the takeout and delivery orders. Donate your food surpluses and share how you contributed food to local food banks and organizations.
Show your followers and local communities how your company is rising above the current challenges — you may become an inspiration to others.
Highlight Your Employees and Their Efforts
As most of the world shelters at home (and in many cases alone), many people miss human connections. Add the human element to your social media posts to engage your customers. Showcase your employees and their stories so that followers and customers get to know the people behind your company better. Is there someone who can share a funny anecdote about the company? Can your employees share a favorite work-related story of how your company goes the extra mile when it comes to customer service?
A good example would be how a restaurant’s group of employees deliver home-cooked meals made in the commercial kitchen after hours and delivers them to the local hospital workers every evening. Or how an administrative assistant sews facemasks for employees on the weekends.
Stories about how people (such as nurses, doctors, bus drivers, and police officers) are risking their lives every day to overcome the current challenges to do their job and be of service are among the most widely read. And in the current light of the uncertain situation, your social media followers may crave the uplifting, human stories more than anything.
Be Cautious About What You Share
There’s a lot of misinformation spreading throughout social networks. In fact, Twitter and Facebook are fueling the wave. Facebook, Google, and Twitter are working in conjunction with the World Health Organization at removing conspiracy theories about where the virus was developed, what DIY medications can stop the spread of the virus, and more. But much like the rapid spread of the coronavirus, the networks are unable to keep up with the sharing of misinformation.
Make sure your company isn’t part of the problem by checking all sources carefully before your company makes any inadvertently false statements. Posting industry or business-related updates about how COVID-19 is affecting your industry or its customers can provide your social media followers with great value — as long as the information is factual.
Some sources you can use to fact check any viral news you may want to share are the World Health Organization, government agencies, or even Snopes.com, a former urban legend reference site, which has evolved into a reliable fact-checking website for social media posts.
Besides ensuring that the information you’re sharing is accurate, make sure you have at least a couple of employees scan your posts before they go live to confirm the message you intend on delivering is worded accurately. A post may be misinterpreted by something as simple as the use of an incorrect term.
What Your Company Posts on Social Media has Long-Reaching Effects
Your social media accounts are akin to your company’s calling card. The information you provide can be seen by anyone. Public servants and individuals running for office know this all too well — the public is skeptical of politicians in general and may be looking for signs that prove the politician is not being authentic by analyzing their ads, social media campaigns, and speeches Take a cue from their social media strategies when you’re designing your social media campaign by making sure that your messages align with what your company believes in and stands for.
In the same light, prospective customers and future employees considering a relocation may research your company to get an idea of your company’s core values. And one of the places they may look first is at your social media activity. Inversely, 46% of employers today use social media to recruit top talent. What impression is your firm providing to future talent and the world in general? Make sure that whatever your company is publicly posting falls in line with the type of customer and employees you wish to attract.
Start Meaningful Discussions With Your Audience
Be deliberate about what you post to your social media networks. You have a captive audience with more time than normal on your hands. Craft your posts to be open-ended so your followers can participate. Ask their opinions and invite conversations and comments about what you share.
For example, highlight a product you sell and why it’s so popular. Or explain the history of how the product was designed and manufactured. Engage your followers by asking them their opinion about the product’s function, looks, or design.
Make sure you keep the conversation going to build rapport and trust with your most active commenters by responding to their comments. Building a relationship takes time. Start today to develop a loyal customer in the future.
Capitalize on the Traffic Upturn
Take advantage of the unprecedented times we live in. Consumers are spending more time than normal on their favorite social networks. Your company can capitalize on the upturn by taking the opportunity to build real and lasting connections with your audience. Monitor the success of your posts according to how customers respond and repeat what works. .
Once you notice your social media accounts are more active, expand into email marketing. Ask active followers to sign up for your company’s email newsletters. Converting your followers into lasting customers using email marketing in conjunction with a social media strategy can help you expand your reach.
Business Social Media Best Practices
Remember that your company’s social media accounts are public and can be viewed by a variety of people. Put your firm’s best foot forward when posting to make the best impression among current and prospective customers, employees, and the world. The COVID-19 pandemic is changing how many businesses market their products and services, but the strategies addressing the present crisis are still valid long after the outbreak is over.
About the author
Noah Rue is a journalist and digital nomad, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn’t searching out his next great opportunity, Noah likes to shut off his devices, head to the mountains, and read novels based in the American Southwest.