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Apr 2020 | THE PERSPECTIVE

We’re currently living through unprecedented times.

At the time of writing, it has been 32 days since the start of the global spread of the novel-coronavirus and the social-distancing period that has been the hot-topic on everyone’s lips. It has been a tough period for all concerned —businesses, the work force, the government, and everyone in between —without an end seemingly in near sight.

And during these times of literal physical distancing, one modern tool has been instrumental in maintaining a degree of connectivity with our fellow human beings, and that tool is of course social media. Its ability to keep people connected in these strange and turbulent times has been unprecedented and has played a huge significance in the mental wellbeing of people.

However, how have companies and their brands adapted in terms of their social media usage? Surely their approach must be adapted or run the risk of losing credibility and revenue? The following is an extract from a couple of sources, namely Wingnut Social, Adage and match2one.
Don't know what to say on your business social media accounts during this outbreak? We answer all of your questions about your tone and brand voice on social, what to post and how to respond to social media comments during these trying times.

Tensions are rising about the Coronavirus, and it is clearly the topic of social media at the moment. People are spreading misinformation on social media and others seem insensitive to the crisis. So what can you do, as a business owner or designer, to make sure your social media isn’t missing the mark?

We absolutely recommend that you keep your social media presence going with regular and planned posts across a variety of social media platforms. As a matter of fact, you could increase your posting a bit. Try out Instagram Stories if you haven’t been posting. It would be a good time to start a video series if you find you have a little extra time. People will most likely be on social media more while they have some downtime.

Social Media Recommendations for Coronavirus - Regardless of your opinions about how the outbreak is being handled, everyone should now be using crisis protocols for their social media. But don’t let that intimidate you. That basically means to watch your tone, apologise if you make a mistake and show empathy. Twitter offers some great general recommendations on adjusting your brand voice for COVID-19 that apply to all brand communications.

Since the protocols and cultural sentiment are changing fast on this issue, check any scheduled content you have at least once a week and adjust as necessary. For example, early last week’s posts about going out to eat were likely fine. Now they are not.

Realise that your followers may have loved ones suffering from Coronavirus or at high risk from complications from it. Keep your tone empathetic and upbeat. Support and encourage others.

Never make light of the virus or the recommendations to prevent it. Don’t question whether the precautions are needed. Do not mention anything that indicates you are not following the protocols. Avoid all discussions of the politics of it (unless that’s on-brand for your business).

Do not post any sales, discounts or ask people to purchase something for at least the next month. You do not want to look like you’re trying to profit off of this or are insensitive to the job loss and financial problems people are enduring because of it.

If any of your business practices have changed, like your hours or how you’re working, update that on Google My Business and all of your social profiles, as well as creating a social media post about it.

If you post updates about the virus, even on your personal profile, make sure that they are only from highly trusted sources, such as the CDC or WHO. You do not want to be accused of spreading misinformation. We don’t recommend posting updates about the virus on your business accounts, except possibly local information from trusted sources about resources for your community.

Social Media Content Ideas - As tensions rise, it can be easy to offend people on social media, and we want to reduce your reputation risk of having people upset with your content.
Stay away from any discussion of travel, dining out or attending events that sound like you may be doing it now. Instead, talk about those things clearly in the past or the future, as something “I'd love to do when things return to normal.”
In your content, talk about things you’re doing at home with your family. Give others ideas, and ask for recommendations. Movies to watch? Things to do with kids your children’s’ ages? Fun meals to cook?

Provide tips relative to your industry that people can do at home. For example, tell them how to restyle a shelf with the decor they already have or rearrange their plants. Give them fun design tasks to do with their family.

Feel free to mention Coronavirus, COVID-19 or social distancing by name or more subtly. Its massive news, and not mentioning it at all may seem unsympathetic. But don’t talk about it in all of your posts. Go for 30-50% that have at least a subtle mention.

If you're a designer, avoid some of the posts that are just about how beautiful a room is. Those are good ones to add in information about what you’re doing at home or ask for recommendations.

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