COVID-19 presents us with uncharted waters in nearly every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Social media will play a key role in connecting us all and keeping us informed in the coming weeks of social distancing, telework and remote learning. In light of this crisis, how should organizations use social media? This is a highly fluid, rapidly developing situation, so our recommendations will likely change over time. This blog provides some general dos and don’ts for owned social media strategy based on the current situation.
Pause all scheduled social media posts. Social media managers often use tools like Hootsuite or Facebook’s scheduler to “set and forget” social content weeks in advance. Under normal circumstances, this is a great way to ensure a steady drumbeat of content. However, given the current situation, previously scheduled content may no longer be appropriate. Social media managers should pause all scheduled content and reassess it.
Acknowledge the crisis and your organization’s activity around it. COVID-19 dominates the news cycle and simply cannot be ignored. If your organization has issued a statement on the virus, consider creating a quote card with it, posting it and pinning it to the top of your Twitter feed.
Convene the core team to reassess content and develop a new strategy. Your organization’s strategy needs to change. Given the situation, pushing products, services or unrelated policy priorities may come across as insensitive or tone-deaf. But, on the flip side, your followers may be more online and engaged than ever before. Striking a balance is key. A new strategy could involve:
- Sharing the services or tips that your organization is offering to support this changing landscape, be it a blog with advice for working from home or information about security for remote employees.
- Sharing ways your organization is helping the community during the crisis.
- Limiting the frequency of posts.
- Posting manually instead of with a scheduler to ensure the appropriateness of each post in the changing environment.
Communicate regularly and frequently about canceled events. Followers are looking for information about cancelations, refunds, postponements, etc. Communicate frequently and transparently about this. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know.
Promote event alternatives. Hosting a webinar? You may get more attendees than ever before. Have interesting resources on your website? Push out information about them while also acknowledging the current situation. Use phrasing such as “Have some free time while social distancing? Check out our Resources page.”
Frequently reassess strategy. This is a rapidly evolving crisis. What feels appropriate today may not be next week, so make time to evaluate strategy or a weekly basis or even more frequently than that.
Abandon your channels. Some teams may be operating with a skeleton staff, but social media cannot slip through the cracks. Appoint a go-to person to monitor channels for follower questions and activity.
Exploit the situation. This is a time of deep anxiety; it is not the time to take advantage of the crisis for political or economic gain for your organization. Don’t be slimy.
Make light of the crisis. It may be tempting to try to bring some levity to these tough times but err on the side of caution here. When in doubt, don’t post it.
Note: This article originally appeared on Medium.