Happy quarantine day infinity everyone. We know a lot of social media marketers are riding the metaphorical struggle bus from the comfort of their couches as to how to handle the pandemic on social. Going along with scheduled content as normal doesn't seem like an option for a lot of us right now.
We're thankful that we have the unique opportunity to come together as a community through #SMTLive to address all the many questions we have about social media marketing right now. In this week's chat, users gave us a solid round-up as to how to handle your tone and messaging regarding Coronavirus on social media. While many common threads ran through this chat, the number one takeaway was that no marketer is alone in wondering how to handle this whole thing.
The words "awareness" and "empathy" abounded in these answers.
A1b - Under the current circumstances, "mindful marketing" means that we are toning down our messages. Gentle, friendly and above helpful (rather than celebrating in an overenthusiastic voice). #SMTLive— Ruth #NowInside (@InnGritttt) March 31, 2020
An excited or celebratory tone could seem tone-deaf right now.
A1- Situational awareness layered on your marketing. #SMTLive— Jennifer Baker | Social Media Trainer (@JenniferBakerCo) March 31, 2020
A1: Being conscious or aware of how your message will or might be received. Being empathetic with your audience.#SMTLive— Two Hour Digital (@twohourdigital) March 31, 2020
Love this answer. It’s important not to be tone deaf to the realities people are facing right now! #smtlive— Amanda Shepherd (@missamander) March 31, 2020
As we said before, #SMTLive users emphasized awareness of the current situation in terms of what's important on social these days. Being that Coronavirus is on everyone's minds, not talking about it at all sounds like quite the faux pas.
A1 - Mindful marketing to me, is about keeping individuals specifically as well as the industry at large in mind when designing strategies and implementing tactics. That means regularly checking scheduled content to ensure relevancy & intent are on point #SMTLive— Sarah Marks (@_ofwanderings) March 31, 2020
In that same vein, a lot of social media marketers probably scheduled content for April without planning for a pandemic. It's important to check on these posts before they go out and make sure they're still relevant now that we have a little more than your average marketing environment to deal with.
That leads us to our next question: Where's the rule book here? It seems like a few of you have made some bullet-pointed guidelines of your own.
A2 - I thought this was a good checklist for "Responsible brand communications in uncertain times" via @GoogleAds:— Robin Selvy Re (@RobinSelvyRe) March 31, 2020
Craft your messaging
Be the King of (your) Content #SMTLive
It looks like more than a few brands are in social media marketers' camps right now too, being that so many are putting out checklists like the ones above.
A2: Lead with empathy. Don't be afraid to pivot your strategy or creative. Be transparent and honest, and make sure that you're communicating directly with your stakeholders. #SMTLive— Jordan McBride (@JordanLMcBride) March 31, 2020
We told you empathy came up a lot here. People need kindness and understanding in times of crisis.
A2: Have a plan, but make sure that plan is flexible. Take it day by day. Listening is KEY right now. Be sure you know how your audience is feeling right now. And then provide value accordingly. #smtlive— Amanda Shepherd (@missamander) March 31, 2020
Marketers as a whole are used to talking to an audience. But @missamander brought up that now might be the time to hone in on listening more than speaking.
Q2 - As Hurricane Season regulars, these are our guidelines:— Online Optimism (@onlineoptimism) March 31, 2020
- Have a pinned post with the crisis information customers are seeking
- Cut content that could now be flippant, or promotes canceled events
- Ask your client what they think is most valuable to share#SMTLive
Last but not least, @onlineoptimism shared their expert tips on this topic as self-proclaimed "Hurricane Season regulars."
How does your marketing plan look for the coming weeks and months ahead in light of the virus?
Most of our's probably look like the image above. But a vent sesh, and knowing what other social media marketers are doing to extinguish said fire, is always helpful.
A3 - It ground to a halt. The airport industry is suffering badly and they're our target audience. So all marketing efforts have been diverted to support existing customers where we can... #SMTLive— Sarah Marks (@_ofwanderings) March 31, 2020
A3: It forced me to completely reevaluate every individual post I had scheduled. For one client, we focus a lot on serving k-12 food service pros. Once schools closed, we had to change ALL our content through the rest of the month & really shift our strategy. #smtlive— Amanda Shepherd (@missamander) March 31, 2020
A3. It has created a total paralysis around everything, even when “work” continues. Anyone else feel that way? #SMTLive— Kevin Badinger (@kbadinger) March 31, 2020
We've heard the words "grinding to a halt" across industries during the pandemic. Social media professionals clearly haven't been exempt.
You've got to be flexible and view everything through the lens of the day. I've moved product launches, shifted roll out of research, adjusted external comms approaches and content. Taking it day by day, hour by hour. #SMTLive— Cassie Olszewski (@cgrob513) March 31, 2020
@crgob advised that flexibility has helped manage the chaos.
A3- some of the brands that i manage have an experiential factor, which has been closed for the foreseeable future. this has caused us to pivot from a quarterly strategy to go week by week instead. #SMTLive— Maddie (@maddielydon_) March 31, 2020
And to anyone in the events sector, we feel for you.
A3 As the content strategist for our corporate blog it is important to make sure we are only sharing relevant and meaningful information. I've postponed previously scheduled blogs, added editorial notes to current blogs and created new blogs that are providing value. #SMTLive— Katja Obstgarten (@KObstgarten) March 31, 2020
Adding editorial notes sounds like a helpful strategy to preserve content that's just too good to kill entirely.
A-3 We've pushed back a planed campaign to provide content with insights about the impact on various ad elements. #SMTLive— Pattern89 (@Pattern89) March 31, 2020
A3: My client's business is closed completely so content has shifted to safety and wellness tips, and more product education for right now.— Royann Dean (@royanndean) March 31, 2020
Moving campaigns and other plans around seems like the way of the world right now. As much as you might feel like you're alone in these struggles, clearly, a lot of other marketers on #SMTLive alone are dealing with very similar questions.
For our next question, we wanted users to share resources with the #SMTLive community in regards to handling this crisis on social. So here's what's out there...
A4 #SMTLive— Corinna Keefe (@corinna_keefe) March 31, 2020
- @ThinkwithGoogle has some useful articles about turning live events into webinars
- @socialmedia2day newsletter helped me track down relevant business resources from social networks
- @velocitytweets make me laugh with their Friday content round ups!
A4 @DigitalMktr offered their lab for free and I signed up! Today is the last day but it’s been a great resource! So much good info. So grateful for all the resources to help grow my business during this time. #SMTLive— Michelle Thames Social Media Strategist (@naturalista1986) March 31, 2020
And what isn't...
Follow up (A4): I'd like to see examples of social media messages which have been adapted to the current difficult situation. I mean the before and after. #SMTLive— Ruth #NowInside (@InnGritttt) March 31, 2020
We'd love to see a few adapted before and afters for content during COVID-19.
It would depend on the business, but realistic imagery could work. So many people are home or working from home, so maybe even show that when appropriate. #SMTLive— Mike Kelley (@MKel26) March 31, 2020
that's so true. instead of outside lifestyle content, it's more relevant to show people at home at their desk or kitchen table. #SMTLive— Maddie (@maddielydon_) March 31, 2020
A guide for how to DIY a client photoshoot from home could be a lifesaver for many.
A4 cont: somewhat off topic, but resources for friends who lost clients/got laid off from their agencies because they lost clients. #smtlive— Amanda Shepherd (@missamander) March 31, 2020
Yes please @missamander, agency layoffs haven't been talked about enough during this whole thing.
Last question of the day! Positive thinking:— Social Media Today (@socialmedia2day) March 31, 2020
Q5- On the topic of “mindful marketing in times of crisis,” what is your best advice for marketers feeling overwhelmed right now? #SMTLive pic.twitter.com/eRm38t6I2V
Now more than ever, we need advice from each other during these #SMTLive chats.
A5. My top advice for marketers right now will be to not schedule posts. We're in a time where things are changing by the minute and your scheduled posts could fall at the wrong time. Other than take, take care of yourself and your mental health! #SMTLive— Charu Misra (@charumisra) March 31, 2020
@charumisra advised against scheduled content here, as it could be more trouble than it's worth during this crisis.
Q5 - Not everything has to be urgent. Find out what is a priority and work down the list, and allow yourself little walks between big accomplishments! You've got this, we're all in it together ???? #SMTLive— Online Optimism (@onlineoptimism) March 31, 2020
We love the "little walks" as a treat idea.
A5: Breathe and learn to become flexible! It is easy to become overwhelmed because things are changing daily. Become adaptable to every situation and realize that you are not alone! #SMTLive— Lindsay Hottovy (@LHContent) March 31, 2020
Again, you're not alone!
A5- first and foremost, take care of yourself and the humans around you. everyone is feeling the weight of this right now, so check on your team!— Maddie (@maddielydon_) March 31, 2020
second, this is a great time to play with some new creative concepts. ever want to launch a podcast or write a blog? now's the time!
If you're up to it, @maddielydon_ suggested using any newfound free time for creative pursuits.
A5: Feeling overwhelmed? Step away from social media. Seriously. Go for a walk, watch something mindless, play with your dog, try a new recipe. Do anything else. When you come back, you’ll have a clear head, fresh energy, & ready to help. ♥️ #smtlive— Amanda Shepherd (@missamander) March 31, 2020
It might seem a bit ironic coming from #SMTLive, but everyone could use a social media detox now and then. Usually, our personal social media feeds have happy news on them, like engagements, weddings, college graduations, and babies. But because a lot of that happy stuff has been replaced with bad news about the virus, coupled with the fact that we're all scrolling on our phones more than usual right now, a break doesn't sound like a bad idea.
We hope you can continue to find community in our #SMTLive Twitter chats until this whole thing is over. Here's the info for this upcoming Tuesday's chat. We hope to see you there.
Always a pleasure chatting with you all! I saw a bunch of new faces today. We are here every Tuesday now, so hope to see you again. To get weekly #SMTLive updates and calendar invites to these chats, I encourage you to sign up for the email list here: https://t.co/QRj5K7Bxxl— Social Media Today (@socialmedia2day) March 31, 2020