Brands currently face extraordinary changes to their business during this global pandemic. Confronted with remarkable new challenges, many business owners are having to get creative with their social media marketing during COVID-19.
However, it is important to remember that consumers themselves are confronting their own personal struggles. Taking advantage of a crisis is not only tasteless but can irreparably damage your brand in the eyes of your potential and current customers.
In other words, don’t do it.
And if you’re among the legions of brands already flooding customers, editors and the public with product promotions, unsubstantiated claims and all the things we must purchase online while “social distancing”, quit it. People KNOW they can shop online.
When people and businesses take advantage of an opportunity like this, it smells of opportunism and strikes a wrong chord.
Brands are blasting inboxes with an assortment of messages. Some in management even sign them, attempting to appear empathetic, usually in bland, static terms.
Some even attempt to do so while remarking how vital it is to keep supporting business in situations like these (i.e. shop and spend money). It’s almost always in vain.
It also feels disingenuous, which is an indicator it’s time to pull back. So what should you do differently while marketing your business during COVID-19?
The Do’s and Don’t of Social Media Marketing During COVID-19
Get Creative on Social Media
Social media is the most effective way for brands to remain involved with their communities with clever and creative content. Use this time to engage with your customers and fans and provide value. You can also show how your product provides the best solution to the main pain point of your customer but again skip any obvious reference to how it will help them during social distancing.
Blatant references like these almost always alienate customers during times of unrest. Consumer focused content will bring your community together.
While COVID-19 presents a challenging situation to marketers, always err in favor of humanity.
We often think our businesses are of greater significance than they really are. While our respective businesses play a substantial role in certain elements of our lives, they aren’t that essential to greater humanity. This is never more applicable as right now.
Approach your content with this “bigger picture” philosophy and that sentiment will spill over and ensure your brand is operating properly on social.
Be a Humanitarian
Some health and wellness brands are manufacturing medical face masks, while companies like Apple, The Estée Lauder Cos, Nike, Alibaba, Facebook are promising millions of dollars and a considerable number of masks and other medical supplies needed by hospital employees experiencing a grave shortage.
Facebook, having grappled with negative press for more than two years over its misuse of user data, devised a grant program for small businesses compelled to shut its doors over coronavirus guidelines and the company reported more measures are underway.
Companies can cultivate a positive message and feeling about their organization, as long as the moves genuinely resonate with consumers and do not brim with personal interest.
What Does Your Audience Want?
Directly asking what your audience wants to see is fair play. Curie, the indie natural deodorant brand discarded its social media calendar and invited customers to let them know what they’d like to see on social media. In times of distress, customers want to be entertained and distracted and with a saturation of content, letting your audience give you some direction will help you stay relevant.
Your audience may also want practical information such as prolonged return windows or enhanced online customer service.
Consumers have a long memory
Whether you’ve taken a hit in sales or your sales have sky rocketed during this time, remember that customers have a long memory. Audiences will recall the messaging you put out during a very stressful situation. They will remember how it made them feel.
They will remember the brands that entertained them and eased their anxiety. They will also remember the brands that didn’t.
The brands that continue to forge ahead without any regard for the lives people are now living will struggle to get people to connect with their brand.
Yes, these are difficult times for everyone. But your business can still thrive if you’re open to trying a fresh marketing approach that is unique to your business. Now is the time to connect with your customers and not abandon them.