How to Communicate and Market During the COVID-19 Crisis P

How do you market your business on social media during Covid-19?

It’s a tough question that we don’t have all the answers for.

But as people around the world are adjusting to the new normal of social distancing, small business owners and social media managers are scrambling to pivot campaigns, adjust content calendars, and come up with new creative ideas to market their products or services.

Staying connected is now more important than ever, with people and businesses relying on social media to stay in touch with friends, consume the news, and be entertained.

In fact, Facebook and Instagram have seen a 40% increase in usage due to Covid-19, with views for Instagram Live and Facebook Live doubling in one week.

But just because people are spending more time on social media doesn’t mean it’s business-as-usual.

So how should you be using social media for business in the age of Covid-19? Keeping reading for best practices, tips for what kind of content you should be posting, and ideas for projects to work on:

Navigating Social Media during Covid-19

Overwhelmingly, the most popular question we’ve received lately is “what should I be posting on social media right now?”

You can’t afford to stop marketing or selling, and that includes posting on social media.

Your followers are spending more time online than they ever have before, so it does present you with a unique opportunity to deepen your relationship with your audience and increase brand affinity.

But you also can’t just be running business-as-usual, or you risk coming across as tone-deaf to an audience with heightened anxiety and sensitivities.

And the hardest part? It feels like our world continues to change by the day (or hour).

“This presents brands and social media managers with the unique challenge of embracing an unsettling time—becoming as human as possible on their social media channels—while juggling the necessary bit of marketing and selling needed to stay in business,” states social media expertSteph Gilbert.

But remember: this is brand new territory for all marketers (including myself). No one is an expert in how to market your business on social media through a global pandemic.

So while we can’t offer you tried-and-tested strategies for marketing your business through this challenging time, we can give you some guiding principles to help you think through your posts and make decisions as the crisis evolves.

5 Guiding Principles for Social Media Marketing & Covid-19

1. Listen & Acknowledge

Ignoring Covid-19 or pretending like everything is normal can come across as inauthentic at best, and tone deaf at worst. Let your followers know that you’re listening and acknowledge our  new normal.

Even a simple “It feels weird to promote something right now, but…” can go a long way in showing your followers that you’re listening and caring.

 

2. Keep Posting

Your followers are spending more time online than ever before, and you want stay connected to them! If you’re unable to market or sell your products or services right now, focus on sharing content that aligns with your brand values instead.

The copy in your captions is more important than ever before as it can provide context for the content that you shot weeks ago.

3. Be Empathetic

Covid-19 is affecting everyone around the world, but in different ways. Remember to think outside of your own situation, have empathy for your followers, & offer compassion. With this mind, think twice before posting memes!

You don’t have to mention Covid-19 explicitly in all of your content, but do take into consideration the tone of your captions and how it could be interpreted by people facing a different reality than you might be in.

Remember that some of your followers have lost their jobs, are caring for a loved one, trying to work at home with a toddler, might be sick themselves, etc.

4. Provide Organic Value

Turn your Instagram into a valuable resource for your audience. Focus on engagement first, instead of driving traffic, by providing extra education through videos, carousel posts, or captions – instead of constantly asking to swipe up or click the link in your bio.

Instead of using Instagram to drive traffic (fun fact: stories are our top traffic driver!), we are now hyper-focused on just providing value and education organically on Instagram.

For example, you can look at this carousel post about Instagram Live. Instead of trying to drive our followers to read the blog post, we distilled the main points of the blog post into one handy and helpful post:

Another way to provide value is by shifting your overall content strategy to address social distancing and give your followers what they’re needing the most right now.

 

They are then sharing a ton of helpful, organic content that they know their followers want to consume right now, and have turned their Instagram account into a destination for stay-at-home lifestyle content.

 

5. Ask for Help

If you’re struggling, it’s okay to lean on your community, that’s what it’s there for. Get vulnerable in your content, share your story, and clearly communicate how your followers can support your business right now. And remember: we’re all in this together.

 

 What to Post on Social Media during Covid-19:

Now that you have 5 social media principles to guide you through communicating during Covid-19, let’s dive into some specific types of content that you can (and should) be posting on social media right now.

The type of social media content that you’ll be posting right now is directly related to the state of your business and how Covid-19 has affected your industry. You’ll likely either have the goal of retention, sales, or awareness.

 

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