You’ve probably noticed that the news is pretty grim these days. The ongoing coronavirus crisis means newsfeeds are overrun with upsetting content. Deaths, infection rates, unemployment statistics, political arguments and commentary, sad personal stories – reading the news or your Facebook feed has become a stress-inducing experience.
For brands, navigating the social media waters is more difficult than ever. This is not the time for perky self-promotion but joining the chorus of negativity isn’t helpful either. To get it right, you need a combination of instinct and insight.
That’s where Zavy comes in. Our brand-new Radar tool was initially developed specifically for COVID-19. It’s a powerful listening tool for social media, analysing thousands of articles, posts, and comments to give you insight into what people are thinking, feeling, and responding to online.
These insights, combined with your business purpose and unique identity, help you create content that’s relevant, optimistic, and supportive – exactly what people need right now.
Offer support, show optimism
In an echo chamber of negativity, optimism stands out. This doesn’t mean dismissing the virus or ignoring its impact, it means hoping for the best, doing your bit, and looking forward to a more normal world.
Think: sharing positive stories and offering support in a way that makes sense for your business and your customers. Ask people to nominate friends and family for prizes; share activity ideas for children in lockdown; post inspirational or funny quotes. And keep it relevant – nobody wants to win a travel voucher right now!
If other businesses in your area or industry are doing amazing things, signal-boost their content. The key is keeping it positive and upbeat, not necessarily promoting your product or service.
Be part of the team
Jacinda Ardern has characterised the fight against COVID-19 as the effort of ‘a team of 5 million’. Your brand should be part of that team. If your customers feel that you’re in this with them, they’ll be more likely to return your support later on. New Zealanders have a strong sense of fairness, so they want to know that everyone is doing their bit – complaining about restrictions or finding ways to sidestep the rules won’t go over well!
Use your social content to show your customers what you’re doing to help stop the virus – photos of your team working from home, explaining your hygiene practices if you’re reopening in level three, or giving advice about social distancing if you have people picking up takeaways. If you can show a bit of humour or creativity while you do it, all the better – one small Auckland café got a lot of coverage on social media for its quirky DIY flat white delivery system.
Don’t just talk, listen
Right now, with people feeling anxious and fearful, listening to your customers is an essential part of your strategy. If you ignore feedback or comments, you risk looking thoughtless and uncaring, which is not what you need right now.
If you do get negative feedback, it’s not the end of the world – you just need to respond quickly. If deliveries are running late, a sincere apology and explanation go a long way – people understand that these are difficult times for everyone, and most will be sympathetic. On the other hand, if you ignore the issue and refuse to respond to complaints or questions, you’ll look even worse. Treating customers badly while they’re stressed and struggling won’t be forgotten – or forgiven.
Cutting through the negative noise
During the COVID-19 lockdown, social media have become a sort of digital town square, places to meet, share news, and get the latest gossip. But it’s not all positive. There’s also a huge amount of misinformation, conspiracy theories, dubious medical claims and vicious fighting online.
Connecting with your customers at this time means cutting through the negativity with upbeat content that’s relevant to their new situation. Find ways to help and support and respond with sincerity if things go wrong.
It’s not an easy line to walk, which is why our Radar tool is so valuable right now. You get wide-ranging, detailed analysis of online conversations around the crisis, helping you hit the right notes rather than miss the mark.
Sometimes, social media marketing can feel like shouting into the wind – you put in a huge amount of energy but you don’t know whether anyone is getting the message.
We used the Zavy score to identify the top three posts of 2021 from the brands in our Top 25 Australian Scoreboard. Here is what we learned.