It’s a very strange time in the world right now. The current global crisis of COVID-19 has the world rocking and reeling. And rightfully so. Never before in my life have I seen something like this. Just today I went to order Thai food, temporarily spacing on the mandatory stay home order issue that has closed many businesses and restaurants. I was hit again with the painful reminder that there is a real crisis happening, right outside. And we are all in this together.
We will make it through.
What does the current global climate mean for your social media? There has been a 70% increase in time spent across social platforms such as Instagram and Whatsapp, a 50% increase of messaging across Facebook’s platforms, and 2x more Facebook and Instagram Live views.
There have been 468 Million mentions of keywords related to the COVID-19 outbreak across social media channels over the past 90 days. That number is staggering. With 62% of adults in the U.S. getting their news from social media while 59% of consumers engage with their favorite brands on social media as well. And from a recent poll, 68% of people learned about company updates from social media, with 79% via email.
These numbers are pointing to one thing: People are turning to social media outlets now more than ever for information, connection, and so much more. Digital attention is drastically on the rise as people turn to social media to what we at The AD Leaf ® believe to be a more grass-roots resurgence of the whole point of social media: to be social. With many staying at home to protect the lives of others and themselves, social media has reminded us once again that it’s of vital importance as a tool to remain connected, to communicate ideas, or organize and collaborate, and see loved ones.
With that being said, there is something of vital importance to insert here. The current COVID-10 pandemic is not a marketing opportunity.
With the state of the world, there are things that you need to consider as we all navigate into some pretty murky waters. Below are a few quick ideas that we think are vitally important for you, your brand, and social media:
- Be careful to not “go dark” – This is huge. It’s important to not just drop off the face of the planet, especially in a time like this. Your brand needs to be seen as a pillar of strength for your audience. What we would suggest is to pause your social media, take a step back, and reevaluate the direction of your strategy. What was communicated last week may very well not fit into the current narrative. It’s ok to take a step back for a few days to reassess the situation, the tone, your strategy, and your in-house staff. But then, once ready, come back as a source of strength and encouragement to others. Going dark for a long time communicates an instability that will hurt you in the long run. Keep the lights on.
- Don’t capitalize on the situation – We have never seen such a pandemic like this in our lifetime. This is not the time to try and hijack the situation for personal gain. Many don’t mean or realize that what they are communicating is actually insensitive, so take a moment to think about which foot you are stepping forward with. Make an extra emphasis on empathy, and approach the situation as someone who is here to help. That doesn’t mean however that you cannot sell products, but it does mean don’t use a painful situation to capitalize on. Be careful here.
- Tone – We touched on this, but the tone is huge here. Stay true to your brand during this time, but exercise balance. The livelihood of your team may depend on selling products, and that’s ok. But the way you go about things here requires more tact and balance than ever before. Think about staying true to yourself, but being more compassionate. As an additional note, it’s ok that your brand doesn’t have all the answers. Transparency coupled with professionalism is a bright, shining example that we have seen many companies exercise in the light of recent events.
- Communicate – Whether it’s with your team or your audience, it’s of paramount importance to over-communicate in this time. And if you are able, work from home to help reduce the spread of the virus. We have a plethora of ways to remain connected, like the video conference call company, ZOOM, to help you and your team remain on the same page. With your audience, it’s important to do the same and let them know what’s going on. As we saw earlier, a large percentage of people use social media for company updates, so once you have stepped back to reassess your direction, come forward with a clear message of hope, resilience, and on-brand messaging. A point of caution here would be to be careful to not communicate information that your audience may not need. There is a plethora of companies, brands, leaders, influencers, politicians, newsrooms, newspapers, authors, actors, and endlessly more voices out there, communicating information. Sending out that email to an inbox that has already received 54 emails before 9 am can add unnecessarily to stressors that are probably already occurring. Only send pertinent info.
- Practice moderation – This one is a gentle reminder about mental health. It’s ok to not have all the answers. It’s equally ok to not be glued to social media or the news where the challenging events are constantly in your face. Our mindset can be greatly impacted by the onslaught of the terrible things that are happening out there and being viewed in real-time at our fingertips. Take this time home as an opportunity to spend additional time with your spouse, your kids, to pick up a hobby, or to go on a walk. Practice social distancing, but also unplug and take a moment to exercise gratitude. Science shows that those who practice being thankful are mentally and physically healthier and happier. Take a moment to smell the roses.
While this is a serious event in human history, we have seen glimmers of hope and encouragement from regular businesses and people, just like you. For example, Krispy Kreme is giving away donuts to all health care workers. The CEO of Texas Roadhouse gives up their salary so front-line workers can get paid. Zoom has made video sharing services free for teachers so at-home classes can commence. Starbucks has extended mental health benefits to its partners. Apple is offering unlimited paid sick leave to any of its employees experiencing related symptoms. Sprint is giving its customers unlimited data and 20G of hotspot access for 60 days to ease remote working. And the list goes on!
We at The AD Leaf ® want you to know that if there is any way we can help you, please reach out to us. We are here for you.