What does coronavirus mean for brands on social media?

The coronavirus pandemic represents a huge challenge on multiple levels for businesses. Brands should be considerate what they communicate more than ever now.

Social media provides consumers with a direct line to brands, and consumers are using that to question and challenge us. While businesses are under scrutiny, the coronavirus pandemic also offers an opportunity for brands to rise to the occasion and make a memorable impact.

Do not go dark!

Under immense pressure to deliver, some brands are going dark on social. However, unless the inherent nature of your product puts your brand at risk of coming across as insensitive, we do not recommend going dark.

Instead, you can shift focus to how your brand can provide value for customers.

How should we act?

WPP advise to think about the state of mind and changing behaviours of your audience, and make sure that your brand is following these five principles:

  1. Listen first

The coronavirus pandemic is causing consumers to experience mixed emotions, leaving them unsure of how to think or feel. With such a sensitive and anxiety-provoking subject, it’s imperative that brands listen first, then respond.

Pay attention to how your brand is being talked about on social and stay tuned to the larger social conversation around the coronavirus and how it’s impacting people’s lives.

  1. Be sensitive

Re-evaluate content for tone and message. Consider pausing or revising content that may not be well received in the current social climate.

  1. Be transparent

Consider issuing a statement about how your brand will act during this time. Even if you’re choosing to carry on with social as usual, explain that your brand is aware and has deliberately chosen this path.

  1. Adapt your strategy

Unsurprisingly, with increased self-isolation comes increased media consumption. Eighty-five per cent of Chinese consumers reported an increase of at-home screen usage during the crisis, and 84% said they tried at least one new service for the first time.

Adapt your strategy based on shifting consumer behaviours. Revisit your channel mix and ad spend based on evolving consumer behaviours and performance results.

  1. Rise to the occasion

A global crisis at the scale of coronavirus can be a make-or-break moment for brands – testing not only their values and commitments, but also their agility, creativity and spirit. Consider whether your brand is in a position to contribute to CSR initiatives in a meaningful way. Is there an opportunity to calm mass panic or provide value to consumers?

If you feel unsure managing your social media in these turbulent times, we are here to help. Let’s talk social!