In the moments culturally where finding the “right” words may prove difficult, our clients and colleagues often find themselves considering going dark on social media. While pausing is always an option, having a deeper thought process and strategy can help you be authentic and integrated across all channels. Some instances will call for an opportunity to teach, share, or show that you are listening and others will call for you to simply be considerate and aware of your consumers’ current perspective.
Brands should be adjusting their communication strategies across the board – media relations, internal communications, and on social media.
Here is our topline guide to navigating these moments on social media.
Reconsider Your Tone
Community managers often have broad authority to post online and engage, but in times of crisis, coordination with the overall enterprise-wide communication plan should be the priority. Stay aligned even when it slows things down.
Disable all auto-scheduled content. Content written days or weeks ago will likely be off-tone.
Share sample posts with colleagues in communications, brand, and marketing roles. Working together with the team to ensure content aligns with the enterprise communication plan is essential.
Consider dedicating a team member internally, or through your PR partner, to perform active listening across all your communication channels. This includes media, social, clients, partners, and competitors. Then, summarize findings, analyze what it means, and share the analysis with your team. Use concrete examples and recommendations so decision makers can discern whether or not to adopt or dismiss ideas reviewed.
Remain Active and Empathetic
Absence on social channels can easily misrepresent your brand to the world. Stay the course if the content you tend to produce is organic, respectful, and considerate.
Make the decision to suspend or scale back paid follower campaigns. Check in and make sure certain precautions are taken across all your advertising and that you aren’t displaying commercial messaging in sensitive content. Concentrate on your platforms existing followers.
Assess the usefulness and relevance of paid offers and content. Consider softer, more gentle calls to action, letting go of the “act now, last day, only 3 left” call to action.
Adapt content to current events. There is no need to create net-new, long-form content right now. Share what has been popular and beneficial to your own channels (downloads, views, shares).
Rather than focusing on new content series and creative ideas, keep your focus on existing threads. Don’t try and drum up excitement in negative times.
Take copywriting precautions. Write social media content like you would a media release. Don’t be hesitant to ask for peer review. Social media is changing by the second but in times of any crisis we have to work slowly or embarrassing errors will be made.
Rethink Thought Leadership When Necessary
Although it is natural to pause in the face of uncertainty, socially active executives should stay engaged. Develop content based on the words they’ve shared with employees, colleagues, and clients. Authentic emotions are appreciated on mediums like LinkedIn or Facebook.
Recognize individuals and companies who make a difference. Appreciating others work sometimes shines a light on your own ideals and highlights someone who is making a difference. See it, like it. Be generous and authentic.
Listen and look for opportunities to help. Get creative if a situation is particularly endearing to your brand. If there are concrete opportunities to help, internal employees will rally. Provide clear direction and ideas.
Measure and Adjust
Generally, social metrics like visitors, sessions, bounce rate, time on site and goal completions outperform direct, organic search and paid traffic on total volume metrics. It’s likely social visitors know or care about your brand. Think about what they need when in doubt.
There is an increasing demand for content that offers support, training, and collaboration. Participation in webinars is above average (on average, 50% of those registering attend). Consider collaborating with partners and previous sponsors to write content, promote webinars, or present case studies.