Twitter’s trending topics are buzzing this week with news surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. From social distancing and quarantines to restaurant, bar and school closures, social media users across the globe are fixated on the best ways to avoid the spread of Coronavirus. 

Social media managers have the unique responsibility of balancing business goals and taking the necessary precautions to maintain brand reputation when it comes to the messages being shared on brand channels. Below are a few thoughts to consider when posting on behalf of your brand in the coming days and weeks.

Review scheduled content

The majority of social media managers draft and schedule content days, sometimes weeks, before the posts actually go live. When things happen seemingly overnight and we’re sent into panic mode, the first step towards ensuring your brand doesn’t seem unaware or aloof is to review your previously scheduled content. After reviewing, consider delaying or even deleting posts that may come off in bad taste given the current environment. If you’re encouraging product sales, phrases like “stock up” and “stop by” should likely take a backseat for the time being. Even posts with St. Patrick’s Day themes should be reviewed with a careful eye.

Communication is key

It’s becoming increasingly common for social media users to go directly to a brand’s social pages for updates in real time. To ensure your followers are in the loop with any changes made in response to the pandemic, be sure to share as much information with them as possible Will your store hours be affected? Are your employees working from home but conducting business as usual? What steps are you taking to sanitize and reduce the potential spread of COVID-19? Communicating these updates to your followers via social media will help to reinforce trust and keep them informed without clogging your inbox full of questions that need to be answered. 

Focus or pause on your ad spend

Similar to reviewing your previously scheduled content, it’s important to take a look at the ads you’re running to ensure your budget is being fully maximized. Unless you’re selling toilet paper or hand sanitizer, it’s highly unlikely that people are going to be buying your items. Be sure to focus your ad spend on messaging that works in the current environment. And for ads focused on conversions and performance, you may consider lowering your budget or halting your spend altogether. 

Find ways to take things online

In the past few days, we’ve seen conferences and events cancelled or postponed across the country. If you have an event scheduled in the next 8 weeks, consider finding a way to host it online. The Facebook and Instagram Live video features provide the perfect opportunity to connect with your audience on a specific date and time, while providing them the opportunity to maintain a sense of normalcy in an otherwise chaotic world. If the majority of your business is conducted in-store, consider having a flash sale online, hosting a virtual class or posting a video offering best uses for your products and/or services while people are staying indoors.

Metrics are going to decrease (and that’s okay)

While people stuck at home tend to spend more time on their phones and, by default, social media, it’s likely that engagement will actually decrease during this time, especially if your brand is publishing less content. Unless you’re sharing important updates or using memes to distract your audience, people’s focus will be first and foremost on how Coronavirus is impacting their everyday lives. Understand that these decreases don’t have as much to do with your brand as they do with the current climate. In the meantime, start a list of ideas for future engaging content to share when this all blows over. 

Show empathy

The last piece of advice I’ll leave you with is “be empathetic.” Although you or your brand may not be at a high-risk due to Coronavirus, others might not be so lucky. Instead of bragging or carrying  on business as usual, think about what you are saying, how you are saying it and how it might come across to the masses. It’s highly unlikely that everyone who follows you will be unaffected during this time, so tread lightly. In this case, it’s better to not say anything than to risk a potential disaster. 

If you’re struggling to find the right messaging for your brand during this time, we can help! Connect with us to learn more about our social media and crisis communication services!