April 30, 2020
A global pandemic like the COVID-19 is one that has gone against set rules. The ability to adapt swiftly to such a situation is important and social media can play a major role in this regard. The speed, reach, acceptability and virality of social media has made it an important tool in crisis communication. Given the times, having a social media crisis communication strategy is very necessary. But before we proceed, let us differentiate between crisis communication and communication during a crisis.
Crisis communication refers to a form of brand communication meant to mitigate damage to a brand’s reputation during a negative action or event caused by, or involving, the brand.
On the other hand, communication during a crisis refers to communication from a brand during a widespread crisis that is bigger than the brand itself. This type of crisis is not caused by the brand but is likely to affect the brand’s business, operations and communities. Which is what the COVID-19 pandemic is doing!
Now that we have discussed the difference, let us look at three ways to deploy social media when communicating during a pandemic.
#1: Share Valuable Contents
During this pandemic, the types of contents shared by brands will affect how they are perceived by their publics. To ensure that your brand perception remains positive, share informative, relevant and valuable contents. Refrain from overwhelming your audience with COVID-19 information (except you are a media outlet). The key point here is to ensure that your brand maintains balance in contents being shared. Also, previously planned contents should be examined to see if the tone fits the current situation.
#2: Engage Your Audience
As a brand, this is not the time to leave your audience hanging. Listen to their complaints, show responsiveness and empathy. A lot of them are going through a period of anxiety and uncertainty, and the chances of lashing out at the slightest mistakes made by brands are high. Creating contents which reassure them of your brands availability and empathy will give off the vibe that you are focusing more on them and less on you.
#3: Use Insights to Make Decisions
Currently, a lot of people are online searching for contents to distract them from the negativity brought by this pandemic. A proper research on what your audience are searching for on social media can be used to make decisions on the type of contents to push. Trends, challenges, videos are some of the contents that brands can utilise to engage their audience this period.
Planning and executing a social media crisis communication strategy is not rocket science. All you have to do is create and share valuable contents, interact with your audience and give them the contents they want, based on their search history.