With Coronavirus monopolising the news agenda, burying your head in the sand is not an option.
As lockdown restrictions are lifted and people begin returning to work, you must have a clear comms plan in place and be actively sharing this on social media. Planning now will help to protect your reputation and brand in the long run.
Here are my top tips to make sure that your strategy is as best represented on social media as it can be:
Be real – be honest about how the spread of Coronavirus is impacting your people and your brand. People respond to this much better than just churning out a template message every time.
Be prepared – think about how much your business, your brand and, more importantly, your customers will be impacted by changes you make, such as social distancing rules or staggered working hours. Put a simple strategy in place to make sure you are prepped for any eventualities. Put together holding statements for internal and external audiences, so that if you need to respond, you have an agreed line
Be honest – say what you can, to who you can, when you can. Being genuine and honest with both your customers and employees will support your brand and reassure people that you genuinely care about them
Be on message – we've all seen what happens when you change your core message and absolutely balls it up - Stay Home/Stay Alert. Think about the key messages you want to communicate to both internal and external audiences and make sure you stick to them
Be authentic – staying true to your brand and making sure your responses are genuine will resonate with your audiences. Consider theming your social posts so that people know what to look out for each time you post one. Similar to how the government branded their slogans, keep your branding consistent throughout.
Be sensible – don’t expect your employees or customers to want to do things just because you would. If questions are raised in response to your strategy on social media, engage with those people to find out what's troubling them most, don't just "hide" or "delete" the comments.
Be creative – embrace new ways of communicating and engaging with employees and customers. Think about how you can adapt your Covid-19 strategy for social media. For example, you could put it together in a free download or even put together a short company video which can be shared across all platforms.
Be employee-focused – don’t forget that your people are your best brand advocates. They are often the first point of contact for customers, so it's important to make sure that they are clear on what the social message is. Brief your team clearly on your key messaging and engage them at every step of the way. Capture any ideas they may have on how to respond to the challenges and reward them for good ideas or customer service.
Be 24/7 – the situation is changing daily, and it’s important to be able to respond. Your social strategy should be flexible and should be able to keep up with the pace of change. Monitor events constantly and if you need to respond out of hours to take something offline, do so.
Be positive – yes, we will all have to adapt to different ways of working and rules of engagement once lockdown is over. But, working collectively we can overcome the challenges and hopefully come out the other side stronger
Coronavirus will continue to disrupt our lives for the foreseeable future, but for those businesses with a nimble, creative and dynamic social media strategy, they are not only likely to survive with their brand reputation intact, but will come out stronger as a result.