You’ve done all the things. You have a solid plan for your social media channels. You have clearly defined target audiences, a brand voice that resonates with your followers, and everything is moving along just as you’d hoped.
Then, a crisis hits. All of your best laid plans suddenly don’t work.
First of all, don’t panic. But, don’t act like everything is normal, either. It’s important to take the next right step in order to position your brand in a way that allows you to ride out the storm and keep your footing. Here are some guidelines that can help you navigate challenging times as it pertains to your social media strategy:
1. Hit pause.
Stop any scheduled posts from going live and evaluate any currently running ads while you gather as much information as you can on the situation. Is it a national issue? Does this only affect a local area? Are there segments of your audience that are impacted more than others? These are important factors that will influence how you should move forward.
Tune in to what users are posting, commenting and sharing on different social media platforms. Watch what your customers, prospects, and even employees are sharing and saying. Expand where you gather your information. Check out what people are posting to other news outlets. For example: What are people sharing on TikTok? Yes, TikTok. We’ve learned a lot about consumer and social media user behavior from what people post during a quarantine event through this specific channel that’s currently not widely used by brands. Broaden where you get your insights to get a more informed picture of the state of affairs.
3. Provide value.
During a crisis, people are looking for information and content that speaks to what they need in that moment. If you don’t have content ready that fits those parameters, it’s better to wait and not post for a while—otherwise, your brand runs the risk of coming across as callous or tone deaf. It may be tempting to proceed with your regular content calendar, but it’s better to step back and evaluate how your brand can connect and genuinely engage. Save those previously planned ideas for another time.
4. Humanize your brand.
Fred Rogers, the beloved star of the children’s show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” This approach is true for all ages, not just children. In times of uncertainty, people crave positive stories about other people. This is the time you can highlight those stories. Maybe you feature an employee who is overcoming hardship to deliver goods to customers. Maybe someone in your local community is doing something amazing to bring people together. If it makes sense for your brand voice and strategy, find ways to showcase the humanness of what your organization does.
Navigating a crisis is a challenging task for anyone, but translating your strategy shift to social media can present a new set of challenges. We hope these tips are helpful as you navigate the current crisis affecting our country, but also to help give you a roadmap for any issues that could pop up in the future. If you need help navigating your specific brand needs during any time, please contact us.