- 13 de diciembre, 1901

Social Media Best Practices in the Chaos of Covid-19

What a mad few weeks it has been. As a researcher, as a marketer, as a CEO responsible for many employees and the success of our customers, as a soon-to-be first-time mom - it's hard to stick a pin in the state of the world right now. It’s hard to know how to process all the stimulus, the absence of clear answers… how to be a useful, responsible human being, let alone to be a marketer when nothing except news about the coronavirus seems to matter to anyone.

I’m an optimist, but I don’t believe the next few weeks will be less weird. All the math points to worse before better. Suited execs are taking video calls from the edge of their beds, in between repeat singing/dancing performances of “Frozen 2”. Dogs in NYC have never been walked so much. The same type-A overachievers who used to risk their lives to cram into a closing elevator, are now prepared to wait an extra ten minutes just to ride alone. Everyone in the street (if we’re even out in the street) is a walking potential infection. It’s scary, alienating and surreal.

But while we’re all figuring it out piece by piece as humans, we also need to market our products, services and companies. Yikes.

How we can be adding value right now? If we don’t happen to be a news outlet with Covid-19 related updates to share, what on earth can we possibly talk about? Sports are on hold, filming is on hold, everything has seemingly ground to a halt. Our usual strategies, the ones we might have been able to get away with even two weeks ago - will now appear hollow, tone deaf, even offensive. But saying nothing is also risky – will you seem uncaring, tongue tied, out of touch? So how can we strike a balance as the world shifts beneath our feet?

Here are some top questions we considered as we looked into the data around consumer behaviors on social, and how companies are managing business-as-usual right now:

  • Are consumers more or less active on social media now that they are more isolated, and holed up at home in lockdown? Does this present an opportunity to connect, or is even the idea of it too risky to touch?
  • Is it OK to advertise your products (even if they have no direct or tangential Covid-19 relevancy) right now, or should you hold tight?
  • Do consumers want to engage with content that is not related to the Covid-19 news cycle right now? Is it a welcome escape or viewed as tone deaf and self serving?
  • Humor – yes or no? WFH hacks/tips – yes or no?
  • Do your customers give a s$%& about how you’re continuing to manage your business, how your company is addressing Covid-19 – or are they too focused on themselves right now?
  • For sure, we don't have all the answers yet. But based on an analysis of year-to-date posting and consumer activity trends as well as a large online survey, here are some of our initial findings:
  • Social media is valuable as a source of information, not only as a place for consumers to connect with each other: 28% of consumers cite social media as their preferred source to learn more about Covid-19 (second only to online search, at thirty eight percent), with Facebook being the go-to platform for information in the U.S. overall.
  • About 70% of all consumers are engaging more on social media during this time.

Yet – based on our analysis of each U.S. Industry category since the start of 2020, the average company (across Sports, Media, Publishing, CPG, Retail, Financial Services, Automotive, Retail and more) is posting 6% less content. It’s important to note that despite this, consumer engagement across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is up 7% YTD.

This underscores the disconnect between how hungry consumers are for content – related and unrelated to the stressful news cycle – and the need for brands and content creators to fill this gap.

  • Over two thirds of consumers want to hear from brands regarding Covid-19. They seem most interested/concerned about how big companies are helping their communities and considering their employees.

Marketers seeing strong activity now are not pushing commercial content but taking an organic posting approach - showing their company’s values, and how they are thinking of/supporting their community in this critical time. (As an aside, just nine percent of consumers thought that brands should keep ‘posting as normal’ on social media, underscoring the urgent need for brands to adjust their current approach – but not simply to go dark while they wait it all out).

*See Tania's original post on LinkedIn here.