It’s hard to imagine going through this period of necessary isolation without social media.
Social media has always been a source of entertainment, information, and, most importantly, engagement with others. And while nothing will replace in-person conversations, game nights, and happy hours, social media is making it possible to stay connected despite the distance.
The numbers back it up: According to the March 2020 Global Web Index, 70% of respondents are spending more time on their smartphones, and 44% are devoting more time to social media specifically. Facebook noted that total messaging was up by more than 50% on Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp combined. In addition, Instagram and Facebook Live views doubled in a week’s time. And between March 16 and 22, TikTok saw 2 million new downloads.
With more people on social media platforms than ever, brands have the opportunity to not only reach audiences but to relate to them. Social media can – and should – be used as a powerful tool to create genuine human connections and provide a positive space in tough times.
Here are a few ways to do just that:
#1: Keep your followers in the loop
If you’ve built a loyal social media following, the last thing you want to do is stop posting. Going dark on social is equivalent to closing your doors to the public! If your business has been disrupted, be upfront and honest about the changes you’re making. Be sure you’re communicating what’s going on, such as new hours, special delivery services, or delayed response times. “Pin” your most important posts to the top of your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles, so customers don’t have to dig to find information. Consider making a Facebook group dedicated to communicating with your most loyal customers and providing helpful daily updates.
#2: Listen closely
Use social media as a listening tool to identify the most common issues your customers are facing right now. What are they saying? How have their needs changed? If you uncover a lot of frequently asked questions, consider hosting a Facebook/Instagram Live to provide updates and address concerns in a more personal manner.
#3: Spread positivity
Let’s face it; we can all use a pick-me-up! A recent Twitter poll found that 70% of respondents want brands to boost positivity and share positive content in light of the COVID-19 crisis. While brands need to stay authentic, there’s great value in pivoting your messaging to be more positive, inspiring, and compassionate than it was previously.
Here are a few ways to spread the love:
Show the human side of your brand
Now is a great time to pull the curtain back on your organization and post employee-generated content. If working from home, how are your employees adapting to the changes? What unique value can they add outside of their typical roles?
LOFT, a women’s clothing retailer, has been sharing weekly recipes and step-by-step tutorial Instagram Stories created by one of their team members. While this content is unexpected (it has nothing to do with clothing), it’s timely, supportive, and totally in line with the brand’s “Loftimist” messaging.
Be a helper
Chances are, your brand is in a position to help others through this challenging time. Why not use social media to better understand your customers’ needs and ways to support them? For example, Instagram recently changed the wording on its question feature in Stories from “Ask Me A Question” to “How Can I Help?” Take advantage of this feature to engage with your followers and find out how to help them.
Use humor (when appropriate)
By nature, social media is meant to be fun and engaging. And especially now, a little laughter can go a long way. If it’s true to your brand voice and fits the current context, use relatable humor to connect with your audience and provide comic relief.
Wendy’s has toned down its notorious Twitter snark in favor of a more playful approach. The brand is quite literally meeting customers where they are: Twitch, the world’s leading live streaming platform. Over the past few weeks, Wendy’s Twitch channel has featured amusing live painting sessions and live gameplay of the wildly popular Animal Crossing video game. Best of all, each broadcast is paired with a special menu discount, keeping the brand’s core offerings at the forefront.
At its core, social media is about being authentic, engaging, and in tune with the surrounding environment. Embrace the human side of your brand and use social media to improve the lives of your followers, whether it’s by bringing joy, easing pain, relieving stress and fear, or simply making them laugh or smile.