Social Media & Covid-19: How to Communicate During a Crisis – Later Blog

Social Media & Covid-19: How to Communicate During a Crisis – Later Blog

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:
social media instagram covid-19 coronavirus

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?”

As Instagram expert Jenna Kutcher said, “this is not the season to be quiet, this is the season to communicate.

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 expert Steph 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.

A post shared by V E T T A (@vettacapsule) on

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.

Celebrity & business owner Kristin Cavallari did a good job of explaining why she was promoting a sale for her jewelry brand Uncommon James, by simply stating that she has 100 employees and will do everything she can to help them keep their jobs, which means promoting her sale on Instagram.

Sounds simple, but just adding that context and acknowledging the current climate really does make a difference in humanizing your brand.

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.

@Anthropologie has been posting regularly, while shifting their visual content to include a bit more interior design, loungewear, or exercise imagery. They have tweaked their captions, like adding the word “daydream” to this photo of a poolside vacation to keep it realistic:

A post shared by Anthropologie (@anthropologie) on

Or saying “date-night-at-home” to keep their content (and clothes) relatable:

A post shared by Anthropologie (@anthropologie) on

I think @thewoodlandshouse in Sandy, Oregon is doing a good job of staying active on Instagram and promoting their business in the most sustainable and healthy way they can. As a small business in travel, one of the hardest industries, they are having to get creative in finding ways to keep the lights on.

This is a well-written caption: they are acknowledging the crisis, pro-actively providing answers to sanitization concerns, and only offering their home as a place to self-isolate and practice social distancing, if you need a little more space.

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.

The online store Ban.do has done a great job of using the right tone in their Instagram captions while still promoting their products.

First, they acknowledged that right now is kind of a weird time to be promoting a sale, and then they acknowledged that “not everyone is in a position to shop right now,” which shows that they are being empathetic and thinking about all of their followers, not just the ones who can afford to shop.

A post shared by ban.do (@shopbando) on

Even promoting the last day of their sale, which normally would have copy like ‘last chance!’ or ‘don’t miss out!’ or ‘shop the link in our bio!’, is more subdued. Instead of a hard sell, they are simply stating the important info (like the percentage discount and when the sale ends) and allowing their followers to decide to take action if they want to.

A post shared by ban.do (@shopbando) on

Check out the @shopbando Instagram for even more examples of how to communicate on social media during Covid-19… they even had to promote a book launch in the middle of all this, and still executed all of the social content really well.

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.

Here at Later, we are making a big shift in our social content to follow this principle. 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:

A post shared by Later: Social Media Scheduler (@latermedia) on

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.

For example, the Insta-famous brand @Revolve is known for their epic influencer vacations and travel content, and they’ve had to dramatically shift their content strategy.

So instead of #revolvearoundtheworld, they created a new hashtag #revolvearoundthehouse to encourage their followers to “stay positive, stay productive, and most importantly, stay connected.”

A post shared by REVOLVE (@revolve) on

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.

Like smoothie bowl recipes on IGTV:

A post shared by REVOLVE (@revolve) on

Daily work-outs on Instagram Live:

A post shared by REVOLVE (@revolve) on

Instagram Stories takeovers from influencers:

A post shared by REVOLVE (@revolve) on

And even a weekend DJ set over Instagram live! That being said, Revolve has decreased their post frequency a bit, from 5+ posts per day to what looks like now an average of 3 posts per day, which is totally normal (and encouraged).

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.

I really liked this approach from my local lunch spot Kokomo, who committed to giving back $5 for every $50 gift card purchase to our local community women’s shelter.

A post shared by Kokomo (@heykokomo) on

 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.

Below, we’ve broken it out into three scenarios: closed businesses, open but hustling businesses, and then businesses who are in a strong position.

Scenario #1: Open, but hustling

If your business is open but working hard to survive right now, like many retail stores and restaurants are, you’ll be wanting to share content with the goal of getting sales from social media.

A post shared by GOLDE (@golde) on

This is a super stressful and busy time for you, and you’re likely leaning on free organic channels like Instagram more than ever before. Here are some ideas:

You need to make sales in order to keep your business going, and you likely don’t have a ton of time to devote to social media right now.

In this case, you’ll want to be focused on working smarter, not harder. Now is the time to create efficient workflows, simplify your process, save time, and save money.

Sitting down and scheduling a week’s worth of content at once will allow you to spend more time actually running your business.

You can schedule up to 30 Instagram posts per month for free with Later, and we have a free version of Linkin.bio to help you set up a shoppable Instagram feed to make more sales, too.

Scenario #2: Closed (for now)

If your business is closed or unable to operate right now, such as wedding photographers, hair stylists, florists, etc, you want to share content with the goal of retention: staying in touch with your existing followers, so that you are top-of-mind when they are able to use your services or book an experience with you again.

For example, my amazing hair stylist in Vancouver @hairbyjulias normally doesn’t post a lot of tutorial content, but is using her time at home to create step-by-step tutorials in her Instagram Stories:

Julia is using this time to strengthen the relationship that she has with her clients, while also building her brand and getting *new* followers through her social media content, something she didn’t have much time to do before.

Some ideas for what you can post or work on right now are:

Scenario #3: Business as (un)usual

If your business is in a strong position, or you’re not worried because you have a decent amount of cash in the bank, you’re in a healthy spot to create content with the goal of awareness.

You can use a slower time to invest in growing your brand instead of your bottom line, start new social channels, or run an influencer campaign.

If you haven’t already started a Youtube channel or an IGTV series, you should think about doing that now, even if you’re just working on the planning stages of it (here are some tips from Instagram about how to create your IGTV strategy).

But I would encourage you to buy a ring light and start recording anyway! We are currently filming our new IGTV series – a weekly social media show called “Screen Time” – out of the corner of my tiny apartment.

A post shared by Later: Social Media Scheduler (@latermedia) on

The production may not be perfect, but with people spending a lot more time on social media, it’s only natural that video consumption is increasing among all social platforms.

Another way to increase brand awareness and maximize your marketing spend on social media is to run an influencer campaign.

According to influencer marketing platform Fohr, 58% of influencer campaigns have been paused and 18% have been cancelled.

Because of reduced demand during this time, 48% of influencers are reducing their rates for sponsored content, with an average cost savings of 30% for brands.

Combine this with the fact that engagement is increasing and people are spending 40% more time on Instagram, and it’s easy to conclude that it’s actually a really good time for brands to be running influencer campaigns.

A creative strategy I heard recently was to reach out to influencers you have worked with in the past and ask them to re-post content from an older campaign at a reduced rate.

Since influencers usually shoot multiple photos for a campaign, but likely only post a few, this is a win-win for both influencers and brands.

It allows influencers to still receive income at a time when a lot of them aren’t, and it is more affordable for brands who need to be cutting costs while also driving more sales.

In fact, a lot of influencers have seen higher engagement on their sponsored posts than normal, and are just tweaking their content and captions to align with the new normal of staying at home.

A post shared by Chriselle Lim 🌟 YOUR RICH MOM (@chrisellelim) on

More Social Media & Covid-19 Resources

Like I said earlier, no one is an expert in marketing your way through a pandemic. Don’t be too hard on yourself and remember that no one really knows what to do right now.

And in a time of heightened anxieties and uncertainty, you should also expect decreased productivity out of yourself and your team.

Here at Later, we’ve created a Covid-19 resource page which has details about our Customer Relief Program and other programs available to small businesses at this time.

If you’re wanting to learn more about how to navigate social media during Covid-19, here are some more excellent resources to check out:

We’ll be sharing more tips about how to market your business during this time through our newsletter and on our social channels at @latermedia. Have a question? Send us a tweet or a DM!

Taylor Loren is the Head of Marketing at Later. She was named a LinkedIn Top Voice for social media marketing, and you can follow her on Instagram at @taylor.loren for more Instagram tips and a look inside life at Later.

This content was originally published here.

Related posts

Trump’s 2020 attack strategy: Smear Biden over mental fitness
By Eric Bradner, Ryan Nobles and Dan Merica, CNN

President Donald Trump and his allies have zeroed-in on an attack against Joe Biden, going after the presumptive Democratic governmental nominee’s mental physical fitness in a coordinated effort using smears and innuendo to paint him as ill-quipped to be President of the United States.

Trump for months has questioned the mental skill of the opponent he calls “Drowsy Joe.” Trump last week described Biden as “a sleepy person in a basement of a home,” and he has actually repeatedly recommended that Biden did not personally write declarations issued by his project criticizing Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

His project and the Republican National Committee have progressively focused its attacks on Biden’s tendency for on-camera verbal stumbles in recent weeks, as it looks for to define Biden after he emerged triumphant from the Democratic primary.

One example came previously this month, when Trump’s campaign launched an ad comparing Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, which closed with the line: “At least Bernie remembers his positions.”

https://twitter.com/parscale/status/1247928262036258816

The attacks are an early demonstration of how Trump will utilize the full Republican politician Celebration apparatus to run a scorched-earth campaign based upon personal insults and unwarranted insinuations– a heightened variation of his playbook from 2016, when Trump and his allies, without proof, called into question Hillary Clinton’s health. They have actually become a daily occurrence from Trump’s campaign, assistants and Republican allies throughout every medium possible– on social media, in campaign e-mail blasts and videos and on Trump-aligned media companies like Fox News.

Biden’s advisers and Democratic allies mention that Trump is guilty of many of the same verbal tics he is attacking Biden over, and often lies and embraces conspiracy theories.

As one Biden ally put it: “Has Trump taken his own guidance and downed a gallon of bleach yet?”

The attacks weaponize Biden’s propensity to stumble over words, utilize the wrong word or interrupt himself in the middle of long answers by stating, “anyhow,” and altering course. To fans of a former vice president who in December 2018 called himself a “gaffe maker,” those long-time spoken tics have always belonged to Biden’s public persona. They are made more forgivable to his advocates by Biden’s openness about conquering a stutter.

Aside from periodic jousts amongst assistants on Twitter, Biden’s project has mostly neglected the Trump project’s attacks.

Biden-world’s view is that the political and media landscape has actually shifted because 2016, when every Trump attack on a rival was treated as novel and took command of the project narrative on social media and cable news.

His consultants pointed to Trump’s stopped working efforts to guide the political discussion in the 2017 Virginia governor’s race, when he and his GOP allies cautioned of the MS-13 gang, in addition to the 2018 midterms, when Trump’s message concentrated on caravans of refugees approaching the US-Mexico border.

” The misapprehension that whatever Trump wishes to speak about is inherently efficient and that he gets to act as the media’s at-large task editor has actually been closed,” a Biden consultant said.

As Biden has adapted to marketing in the age of coronavirus– knocked off the campaign path and rather transmitting occasions and interviews from a transformed rec room in his basement in Delaware– Trump’s project is seizing on every on-camera miscue, with conservative Trump allies such as Fox News host Sean Hannity then magnifying them.

” His sharpness, or absence thereof is on screen every day, every time he talks,” Trump project spokesperson Tim Murtaugh informed CNN in response to concerns about the technique. “His failure to keep a train of thought going is obvious.”

Biden frequently looks down at his notes, which Trump’s allies have actually mischaracterized as Biden dropping off to sleep. Trump’s boy Eric Trump tweeted a seven-second video from Biden’s online broadcast with Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, along with the hashtag “#SleepyJoe.”.

https://twitter.com/EricTrump/status/1255213748811374596.

Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign supervisor, said Trump “always projects his biggest weakens on his challenger in an attempt to deflect criticism from himself.”.

” What is very clear is the White Home thinks his presidency will be evaluated on how properly he is managing coronavirus, so it makes ideal sense that he is now attempting to accuse his challenger of incompetence, which is ridiculous.”.

The attacks resemble how Trump’s campaign pursued Clinton in 2016, Mook noted. Trump and his campaign frequently cast the former secretary of state as sick or unhealthy, a technique that was further elevated after Clinton stumbled after a September 11 occasion in New York due to concealed pneumonia.

” I simply see a pattern regularly from 2016 all the way through now, which is, he attempts to predict his most significant issues onto his opponents so he gives the media a false equivalence to attempt to muddy the water,” Mook stated. “Part of the factor he was so obsessed with calling Hillary Clinton dishonest is because he is probably the most deceitful individual to win the White Home.”.

Biden advisers argue that Trump’s efforts to caricature Biden won’t overcome the same qualities that insulated him in the Democratic primary: After 5 decades in the public eye and eight years as President Barack Obama’s No. 2, voters feel like they know him.

Biden frequently expresses distaste for attacks on his rivals’ character. His aides say that by questioning Biden’s mental capability, the President is guiding the project toward concerns of character and fitness.

” This is asinine to tee up– since it’s 10,000 times even worse for him,” a Biden adviser stated.

As an example of how easily Trump could be parodied, Biden’s assistants indicated a video from The Daily Show in which Fox News hosts and analysts’ comments about Biden’s mental skill were interspersed with videos of Trump’s own verbal flubs.

Biden spokesman Andrew Bates tweeted The Daily Program’s video, which has been seen 3.6 million times on Twitter, on March 25, in action to Trump spokesperson Matt Wolking tweeting: “When is the last time Joe Biden was lucid?”.

https://twitter.com/AndrewBatesNC/status/1242886701002960896.

” Triggering voters to assess prospects’ mental states is a devastating proposal for Donald Trump, so we’re never going to prevent him from going there,” Bates said.
– CNNPolitics.

Trump’s 2020 attack strategy: Smear Biden over mental fitness By Eric Bradner, Ryan Nobles and Dan Merica, CNN President Donald Trump and his allies have zeroed-in on an attack against Joe Biden, going after the presumptive Democratic governmental nominee’s mental physical fitness in a coordinated effort using smears and innuendo to paint him as ill-quipped to be President of the United States. Trump for months has questioned the mental skill of the opponent he calls “Drowsy Joe.” Trump last week described Biden as “a sleepy person in a basement of a home,” and he has actually repeatedly recommended that Biden did not personally write declarations issued by his project criticizing Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. His project and the Republican National Committee have progressively focused its attacks on Biden’s tendency for on-camera verbal stumbles in recent weeks, as it looks for to define Biden after he emerged triumphant from the Democratic primary. One example came previously this month, when Trump’s campaign launched an ad comparing Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, which closed with the line: “At least Bernie remembers his positions.” https://twitter.com/parscale/status/1247928262036258816 The attacks are an early demonstration of how Trump will utilize the full Republican politician Celebration apparatus to run a scorched-earth campaign based upon personal insults and unwarranted insinuations– a heightened variation of his playbook from 2016, when Trump and his allies, without proof, called into question Hillary Clinton’s health. They have actually become a daily occurrence from Trump’s campaign, assistants and Republican allies throughout every medium possible– on social media, in campaign e-mail blasts and videos and on Trump-aligned media companies like Fox News. Biden’s advisers and Democratic allies mention that Trump is guilty of many of the same verbal tics he is attacking Biden over, and often lies and embraces conspiracy theories. As one Biden ally put it: “Has Trump taken his own guidance and downed a gallon of bleach yet?” The attacks weaponize Biden’s propensity to stumble over words, utilize the wrong word or interrupt himself in the middle of long answers by stating, “anyhow,” and altering course. To fans of a former vice president who in December 2018 called himself a “gaffe maker,” those long-time spoken tics have always belonged to Biden’s public persona. They are made more forgivable to his advocates by Biden’s openness about conquering a stutter. Aside from periodic jousts amongst assistants on Twitter, Biden’s project has mostly neglected the Trump project’s attacks. Biden-world’s view is that the political and media landscape has actually shifted because 2016, when every Trump attack on a rival was treated as novel and took command of the project narrative on social media and cable news. His consultants pointed to Trump’s stopped working efforts to guide the political discussion in the 2017 Virginia governor’s race, when he and his GOP allies cautioned of the MS-13 gang, in addition to the 2018 midterms, when Trump’s message concentrated on caravans of refugees approaching the US-Mexico border. ” The misapprehension that whatever Trump wishes to speak about is inherently efficient and that he gets to act as the media’s at-large task editor has actually been closed,” a Biden consultant said. As Biden has adapted to marketing in the age of coronavirus– knocked off the campaign path and rather transmitting occasions and interviews from a transformed rec room in his basement in Delaware– Trump’s project is seizing on every on-camera miscue, with conservative Trump allies such as Fox News host Sean Hannity then magnifying them. ” His sharpness, or absence thereof is on screen every day, every time he talks,” Trump project spokesperson Tim Murtaugh informed CNN in response to concerns about the technique. “His failure to keep a train of thought going is obvious.” Biden frequently looks down at his notes, which Trump’s allies have actually mischaracterized as Biden dropping off to sleep. Trump’s boy Eric Trump tweeted a seven-second video from Biden’s online broadcast with Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, along with the hashtag “#SleepyJoe.”. https://twitter.com/EricTrump/status/1255213748811374596. Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign supervisor, said Trump “always projects his biggest weakens on his challenger in an attempt to deflect criticism from himself.”. ” What is very clear is the White Home thinks his presidency will be evaluated on how properly he is managing coronavirus, so it makes ideal sense that he is now attempting to accuse his challenger of incompetence, which is ridiculous.”. The attacks resemble how Trump’s campaign pursued Clinton in 2016, Mook noted. Trump and his campaign frequently cast the former secretary of state as sick or unhealthy, a technique that was further elevated after Clinton stumbled after a September 11 occasion in New York due to concealed pneumonia. ” I simply see a pattern regularly from 2016 all the way through now, which is, he attempts to predict his most significant issues onto his opponents so he gives the media a false equivalence to attempt to muddy the water,” Mook stated. “Part of the factor he was so obsessed with calling Hillary Clinton dishonest is because he is probably the most deceitful individual to win the White Home.”. Biden advisers argue that Trump’s efforts to caricature Biden won’t overcome the same qualities that insulated him in the Democratic primary: After 5 decades in the public eye and eight years as President Barack Obama’s No. 2, voters feel like they know him. Biden frequently expresses distaste for attacks on his rivals’ character. His aides say that by questioning Biden’s mental capability, the President is guiding the project toward concerns of character and fitness. ” This is asinine to tee up– since it’s 10,000 times even worse for him,” a Biden adviser stated. As an example of how easily Trump could be parodied, Biden’s assistants indicated a video from The Daily Show in which Fox News hosts and analysts’ comments about Biden’s mental skill were interspersed with videos of Trump’s own verbal flubs. Biden spokesman Andrew Bates tweeted The Daily Program’s video, which has been seen 3.6 million times on Twitter, on March 25, in action to Trump spokesperson Matt Wolking tweeting: “When is the last time Joe Biden was lucid?”. https://twitter.com/AndrewBatesNC/status/1242886701002960896. ” Triggering voters to assess prospects’ mental states is a devastating proposal for Donald Trump, so we’re never going to prevent him from going there,” Bates said. – CNNPolitics.

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