During times of national emergency, or in this case, global, companies need to walk the fine line of continuing with business as usual while being sensitive to the problem at hand. Companies and individuals alike are going through a scary, uncertain time. During times of uncertainty, people turn to what is secure. It may seem minor, but a sensitive and robust message on social media from brands does help provide a sense of normalcy. It’s a gut reaction for many companies to pull back on social media marketing and advertising but is that the right call? To be frank, no. Let’s talk about some common concerns and how to confront them.
“If we post on social media as normal, we’ll come off as insensitive.”
It’s very easy to cross the line in your social media posts, but it is certainly not impossible to continue with your posting strategy, nor is it suggested to stop! Making jokes, playing off an issue, or completely ignoring the problem altogether are sure-fire ways to anger your audience. Instead, focus on what it is you offer, how it can help, and if applicable, what you’re doing to mitigate the situation.
Are you a small restaurant or store? Offer curbside or delivery of products. Are you financially able to donate to causes helping those most affected? Share that and encourage others to, as well. COVID-19 and the economic issues surrounding it will no doubt affect nearly everyone, so you should reiterate that we’re all in this together. It would help if you also shared what you’re doing to help stop the spread of the virus, whether it be a change in how business is conducted (working from home, splitting office time, etc.), reduced hours, or other associated changes in policy. It shows you’re taking the issue seriously and instills confidence in your company. Continuing to post is especially important if your demographic is young Millennial or Gen-Z. A lack of activity is seen as a red flag for demographics that seemingly live on social media.
“We’re quickly headed to an economic downturn. I need to pull back on advertising costs.”
The idea makes sense, right? If you need to save money, cut costs where you can without risking integrity. While that might be true in some scenarios, this is arguably the most crucial time to continue advertising. To quote the Harvard Business Review, “Although it’s wise to contain costs, failing to support brands or examine core customers’ changing needs can jeopardize performance over the long term. Companies that put customer needs under the microscope, take a scalpel rather than a cleaver to the social media marketing budget, and nimbly adjust strategies, tactics, and product offerings in response to shifting demand are more likely than others to flourish both during and after a recession.”
In other words, by not continuing to advertise or by cutting your budget, you give off an air of instability and a lack of concern or understanding of what your base may be going through. Stability in all forms speaks volumes. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. You pick up your phone, search for a company, and click on one of their social media profiles, only to see their communication is spotty at best. Are you going to give them their business? Not likely! Suppose a company suddenly stops posting or the quality changes drastically. In that case, people are likely to think the company has either gone out of business or is going through a tough time.
“I know what my customers do and don’t do, like and don’t like; I don’t need to worry about social media marketing.”
Times of panic change people’s habits constantly. The train of thought for your customers during average times may not match what they’re thinking and feeling during times of crisis, and how you market to their needs to alter in recognition of that. It’s essential to be sensitive to changes in income and general feelings of stress. Is your tone too harsh or too playful? Is your price point realistic? Every aspect of your campaigns and brand need to be evaluated dynamically.
Brands must show strength and understanding during times of struggle. It would help if you conveyed that you’re here for customers and that you’re not going anywhere, but it needs to be done in a way that isn’t tone-deaf, either. It’s not an easy feat, but that’s what experts like us are here for. Our social media team will help you navigate these murky waters with the care, concern, and knowledge the situation calls for.
If you think you’d like to seek our social media marketing services, give us a call at 321-255-0900! At The AD Leaf ® Marketing Firm, we would love to help you succeed!