CATEGORY / Marketing

Showing Empathy During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Should my brand be on social media right now? Is it appropriate for our brand to be actively tweeting, snapping and sharing content on social media while the world is amid a global pandemic? These questions are being asked by marketing teams across the globe.

Now is the time when a well thought out social media strategy is so very important. “Strategy” means knowing when to stay silent just as much as it means knowing what to post and when.

How do brands market and publicize in a post Coronavirus environment where every other story is about COVID19? Where can brands interject themselves into the conversation?

Here are five things that brands need to do during this crisis:

  • Review All Scheduled Posts

Many brands plan social posts 30 days out. Look at every post you have scheduled or are planning to share and consider whether it is still appropriate.

Is that event you were promoting still happening, or has it been cancelled? Does that beautiful creative you have been working on reflect your current needs, or does it need modification?

If you have any doubts about the content, hit the pause button.

  • Ramp Up Customer Service

For some sectors this is the time to ramp up your social media customer service.

If you are in an industry like the travel sector, for the next month or two, you will see an increase in tweets and social media comments from people looking for refunds or cancellation policies. You need to be online, visible, active and compassionate. Make sure you are monitoring your social media channels, direct messages and emails to answer any questions that come through. You may wish to create an FAQ database that you and your staff can refer to, so you have all the answers at your fingertips.

  • Be Sensible With PR

The media is 100% focused on the Coronavirus at the moment. If you are in PR, don’t try to hijack the news to get brand mentions. Use a thoughtful approach to PR in a time like this. Offer up any experts that could help spread useful information. Make sure the content that you as a brand are putting out is factual and not overly promotional.

The risk of a negative brand association is far greater than the upside of a positive brand association in times of crisis. If you don’t have anything to contribute to the conversation, stay quiet.

  • Don’t Push Your Products

Coronavirus is not a marketing opportunity. People are dying and many people are scared. This is not something you want to associate your brand with.

You don’t want to destroy the trust and reputation you have been building with your audience and customers for the sake of a few extra sales.

Basically, don’t try to profit from a pandemic. Don’t be that guy in Tennessee who stockpiled over 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.

  • Show Empathy

We need to understand that people are afraid, now is not the time to pretend they aren’t. This is not the time to market to a state of fear or panic.

Your brand might not be impacted by the Coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean a lot of other businesses aren’t going to be negatively impacted by global shutdowns, travel bans and the sense of doom.

Before you post anything, think about what you are saying. Think about how that content is going to be received by your audience and customers – and other people outside that group.

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