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How to leverage social media during the coronavirus pandemic

How to leverage social media during the coronavirus pandemic
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How to leverage social media during the coronavirus pandemic
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

Social distancing and directives to stay at home are presenting many challenges for businesses; key among these is keeping in touch with customers, when they can no longer visit your store or office and you can no longer travel to see them. But with most people confined to home, social media is coming into its own, providing the perfect platform to keep in touch with the world, including current and prospective clients. But knowing what to talk about and striking the right tone is more important than ever in these challenging times.

Reviewing your existing social media content: is it pandemic sensitive?

If you schedule content, your first step is to review anything that you have got lined up that you wrote prior to the coronavirus crisis. Even posts that are not offensive in the current climate could seem strangely inappropriate and give out a vibe that you are out of sync with the world and the pressures that your customers, staff, suppliers and wider community are experiencing. You may be able to salvage some content, potentially tweaking it to be relevant to current developments, but some will have to be saved for when this crisis passes and some may even have to be binned altogether.

Creating social media content that will appeal to your audience during the coronavirus crisis

Knowing what to talk about on your company social media accounts when business is quiet can be a challenge. One way to get inspiration is to look at the trends in social media and which posts have been getting most traction.

The past few weeks have been a difficult and unnerving time, so when there’s some uplifting news, like a group of drunken elephants falling asleep in a tea garden in China many are motivated to spread the positivity and share the post.

Posts like these – such as dolphins appearing in rivers in Venice – have been exposed as inaccurate. However, this shows that people are engaging with positive, uplifting content and choosing to share it widely – an action that could be hugely beneficial to your business social media following.  

You could take advantage of this trend of positivity by creating cheerful content, such as a post showing you hard at work refining your brand development now that you have unexpected time to work on (rather than in ) your business, or a thoughtful and conscious tribute to our NHS.

Avoiding coronavirus misinformation online

Inaccurate animal posts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social media misinformation. Lately, incorrect coronavirus-related news has emerged on our social media feeds, the damage made worse when it is widely shared on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

This was seen recently with the inaccurate ‘breath test’ story, stating that if breath can be held for ten seconds without coughing, the virus is not present. This theory – presenting itself to be true on many online platforms – was quickly disproved by medical professionals. Stories relating to the virus pop up on feeds regularly, supporting the words of Telegraph writer Joel Golby, “coronavirus has infected our culture”.  

Avoiding the spread of misinformation can be achieved by focusing on topics that you have extensive knowledge about to bring clarity and reassurance to your audience. This includes talking about how coronavirus is affecting your business, how you are continuing operations and any government grants you may be applying for. Don’t shy away from sharing your strategies for coping with the situation, both physical and mental – there has never been a better time for honesty; customers will be sympathetic to understanding the measures you are taking to ensure you can deliver for them.

Misinformation about the virus will no doubt continue to infiltrate social media, but you can help offset it by reassuring your customers past, present and future about how you’re following current guidelines to keep them safe while also messaging the steps you are taking to keep your business going.

We have been keeping customers updated on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Developing your community through social media

Whilst we’re missing face-to-face interaction with our communities, social media is playing a key role in recreating and re-enforcing our sense of community. Local social media community groups are full of offers of help – and pleas for help are being met with overwhelmingly generous responses. This post on a mum’s Facebook group is typical:

 “Calling all creative mums. It’s my mums 75th birthday on 7th April and I’m not there. Is anyone available to step into my shoes and make her a birthday care package (a small cake, something smelly, bunch of flowers, all ideas welcome) and drop it to Speldhurst? I’m ideally looking for something made with LOVE and focused on 75. £50 budget. Can anyone help?”

If you’re a local florist, cake maker/decorator, jeweller or crafter, stepping into the breach with an offer of help is a great way of contributing to the community in this time of need – with the added benefits that proactive CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) delivers: increased brand recognition, standing and engagement.

Join local community groups on Facebook and indicate that you’re available to help in your profile status.

Keep it real

Social media throughout the COVID-19 crisis has been full of bunker humour. The ‘We’re all in this together’ mentality – combined with our need to laugh more than ever – provides an opportunity to be more honest than ever with customers. They know you’re juggling running your business with trying to keep the kids occupied while worrying about whether you will be able to buy enough food to rustle up dinner. It’s not business as usual – and they will appreciate your honesty, especially if you convey it with humour.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we interact with everyone in our lives; the role of social media has developed to fulfil a more central role in keeping people in touch with the world. In these difficult times it’s important to bear in mind that keeping it accurate and positive can bring value to your audience of staff, customers and suppliers when they are facing uncertainty and misinformation. This is an opportunity to show the personable, community-driven side of your business – take advantage of it.

To find out how  Capital Space virtual offices or business premises

could benefit your growing business,

call 0800 107 3667