How to Navigate Social Media During a Crisis

How to Navigate Social Media During a Crisis

Today, we are discussing how to navigate social media during a crisis. With social distancing as the new normal, social media has become a crucial communications tool for brands & businesses. By leaning into social media, businesses can effectively reach audiences as people are spending more time on their phones.

Local social media experts London Faust of Bellevue Communications, Kyle Huff of Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Maven’s own Rebecca Devine — shared insights and best practices for brands to navigate the current social media space during a Philadelphia Public Relations Association webinar.

Below are the key takeaways from the pros equipping you to manage social media during this time.

To Post or Not to Post on Social Media During a Crisis?

“Once you stop, it’s hard to come back online.” 

When the coronavirus began impacting our daily lives, businesses started to wonder whether to continue their social media schedule or go silent. With more users online, it’s critical for businesses to maintain or increase their social media frequency to get their message out effectively. Especially businesses that are no longer operating as usual. 

While increasing post frequency may help your business communicate effectively, it’s also essential to assess the content companies are putting out there. It is ensuring that they are not tone-deaf to the current environment. Take a more in-depth look into your content calendar and alter messages to be more relevant.

Shift the Conversation

“People are looking for different types of content right now. Highlight employees working from home.” 

Messaging during this time should be a top priority for brands, as one message that doesn’t resonate could be detrimental to your audience base and brand loyalty.

Go back to the basics:

  • Who is your target audience, and what information are their interests? This is the time to rediscover your audience and find ways to communicate with them more meaningfully.
  • Shift the conversation from any self-serving, sales-driven content to a more empathetic, community-driven focus.
  • Use this time as an opportunity to highlight employees, partners, frontline heroes, and others who are making a difference during this time. This can range from highlighting your employees’ work-from-home spaces to recognizing stories of heroism that tie back into your brand.Now more than ever, the online community wants to hear positive stories.
  • Stay informed and connected to your brand — link the key messaging in when appropriate.

Focus on Brand Loyalty

“One thing to underscore is the huge importance of brand loyalty and establishing more of a human connection. The same can be said for every business.” 

With so many people using social media right now, engagement is rising. Users are looking for information they can readily access, and they’re going straight to social media instead of a business’s website. By being transparent and engaging, this is an opportunity for businesses to continue building brand loyalty, as well as goodwill amongst audiences. Keep in touch with your followers — see what they need or how you can help them.  

Social Media = Media Relations

“The speed and access that social media provides is amplifying our media relations efforts across the board.” 

Just like the rest of the world, reporters are also spending more time on social media. In essence, they are finding their stories on social media before an editor even has the time to assign it.

Many reporters are also utilizing social media to gain assets for stories (images & video) — a departure from gathering material in the more polished, packaged way. While traditional pitching is still preferred by journalists, supplementing that approach with social media posts is enhancing media relations plans.

The Future of Social Media

“Everything is going to be different.”

Our situation is continuously evolving, which means social media will follow suit. Four weeks ago, the messaging focused on “these unprecedented times.” That message has now shifted into “the new normal.” Brands need to stay informed on what’s going on globally to deliver meaningfully evolving messages. Brand loyalty is vital, remain in touch with your audience as the situation continues to evolve. Treat them with care every step of the way.

Thanks for reading our insight on how to navigate social media during a crisis. To hear more insights from Rebecca and other industry pros on how businesses can navigate the current social media landscape, watch Philadelphia Public Relations Association’s “Social Media During a Crisis: Insights and Best Practices From the Pros” webinar.

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