Covid-19 has caused a global disaster the likes of which we have not experienced since the Second World War. It is putting everyone and everything in the spotlight, including the community management of your social media presence. We have put together some tips for you on how to handle the pandemic on your social media channels and even put it to your advantage.
Stay-at-home orders, business closures, daily reports of new infections … It has all become part of everyday life because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is all around us, there is no escape. But what does that mean for your social media presence? How should community management react? Is there a ‘recipe for success’ we can turn to?
Well, perhaps there is no easy recipe. But there are some important ingredients. We have summarised what you need to look out for.
We have observed three basic approaches. We call them “Pause”, “Carry on” and “Embrace”.
Which of the three options you opt for depends on your industry and your communications style to date. If your business is closed, then “carrying on” is obviously not an option. But “embracing” also has to tie in with your positioning and be accepted by your communities.
There are risks in switching from normal to crisis mode. For example, the city of Zurich had good intentions when it suggested spending St Patrick’s Day on 17 March 2020 in an Irish pub, but this backfired a little. So check your scheduled posts (text and images) to make sure they are still appropriate to the changed circumstances, photos should show people wearing masks and distancing, for example.
Editorial tools are a useful way of maintaining an overview. They enable you to keep your tasks, content and channels under control more easily. The calendar function helps keep an overview of all your scheduled posts and gives you an opportunity to check them again.
In times of crisis, it is not always easy to gauge the mood of a community from the outset. So it is worth looking at other social media posts: what is happening, what is creating controversy?
Everyone is affected at the moment, so ‘sharing is caring’ is a tried and tested tactic. Share good articles from suppliers or customers to emphasise good relationships and benefit from the positive image transfer.
Monitoring and Listening Tools are also useful for effective monitoring. They mean you will never miss a stream and you can quickly change from an observer into a trendsetter. Find your inspiration!
If it is clear to you how you want to respond to the crisis, share this information with all those who are involved in content production. This guarantees that everyone communicates with ‘one voice’ on your channels.
Do not forget your employees. They also communicate about business within their own environment, so they should be reinforcing your message, not contradicting it. If you manage to get everyone on board, the impact will be significantly greater.
Show empathy: Where you can, pick up on the fears and needs of your community and react to them promptly. Alerts can help here. Finally, listening is just as important as communicating in any dialogue.
Even in times of great crisis, not everyone is constructive and on the same side. If you are confronted by trolls, please do not feed them. Remain neutral and polite, and maintain a distance when it comes to troublemakers. Not all negative comments are worthy of a response. During times of crisis, it is especially important that community managers keep a cool head.
PS: After the crisis is before the crisis. Do not forget to analyse your experiences in order to utilise them for community management in the future.
Remarkable times require remarkable communication. The exact impact of the pandemic on your social media channels is a function of your positioning. Monitoring the mood and activity in your area will help when it comes to developing an appropriate strategy.
But Covid also brings opportunities – it allows you to check how crisis-proof your community management processes and structures are. Editorial and monitoring tools can provide valuable support here.