How to Use Social Media the ‘Right Way’ During COVID-19 Crisis

EloQ Communications
  • Date Published
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During a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, how should social media be mastered and employed in a responsible way?

Nowadays, social media have become primary sources of information. During a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, how should social media be mastered and employed in a responsible way?

Check In With Target Audience

Why Social Media Should Be Used in Three Stages of Crisis?

Social media can be integrated and used in all three crisis stages: pre-crisis, crisis (response) and post-crisis. Before and during crises, the communication choice depends on the nature of the crisis, whom it affects, how many it affects, the expected outcome of the crisis, the amount of information available at any given time, and the nature of the company. Thus, before engaging in any digital experience, you need to check in with your target audience to ensure the content is still relevant, and your audience is interested in engaging and participating virtually. For some audiences, it will be a comfortable and welcoming transition, but others might only want in-person interactions and conversations.

Social Listening Analyzes Conversations and Trends Happening

Social listening is a great place to start when looking to gain a more in-depth insight into different discussions. In the past, people went to forums or their close communities to share information; and now social media is a public place, so we can check how they feel about the crisis, about your brand, as well as the broader industry and community more quickly. And from that, we can evaluate whether the campaigns that we are doing are really influential to the stakeholders, and what we can do to improve our communication.

Bring Your Audience to Social Media Versus Bring Yourself to Audience

Social media is now a mainstay for everybody staying at home during this time, so try to come up with content that keeps you and your brand engaging and speaks to the needs of your audience at the same time.

Listen Before Engaging Your Audience

A word of caution is that we should be much more mindful of our social media calendar during a crisis than normal times. People nowadays are less than enthusiastic to see updates about sports events or outdoor activities, and some may even be annoyed if a brand tries to sell high-end products when their budgets are tight. Ask yourself, what does your audience need from you right now? It can be webinars of different topics for self-improvement on all platforms. It can be entertaining, brand-related content to subtly remind your audience of your brand message. Or it can be a giveaway, something to show that you care, and you proactively reach out to your stakeholders when they feel isolated. If in doubt, you can go back to your social listening, to identify which topics are of interest that you can follow, and which topics are sensitive that you must avoid.

Gear Content on Social Media to Your Listeners’ Interests

By “bring yourself to your audience,” you should try to be present. The most important thing during this crisis, or any crisis, is communication. Do you have an employee diagnosed positive of COVID-19? Do you have staff layoffs or furloughs? Do you have to reduce working hours or temporarily close the business? If so, what are your plans for continuity and recovery? Absence of communication leaves your audiences with questions, perhaps leading to incorrect conclusions. You must own your narrative, or someone else will. Your stakeholders would love to hear from a brand that they love. You should still be present to your stakeholders. Be empathetic. Keep them informed and engaged, and make them feel cared for.

View the full article with more tips and examples on “How to use social media the ‘right way’ during COVID-19 crisis” at EloQ’s blog.

By Dr. Clāra Ly-Le, Managing Director of EloQ Communications. This article is an excerpt of her presentation at PRCA Virtual International Summit – May 2020.