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10 Useful Social Media Management Strategies in Times of Crisis: COVID-19 Outbreak 2020

Consumer Behavior | Mar 22, 2020

Even though everyone wanted to kick off the 2020 New Year, but unfortunately, sometimes it does not go the way we planned.

Of course, we are all aware of the global crisis of the COVID-19 outbreak, the virus appears to have originated from the Wuhan seafood market and in just a couple of months, it has spread all over the country. Not only in China but in other countries as well. For example two of the top infected countries with coronavirus are Italy and France.

COVID-19 Outbreak: Social Media Management Tips

Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash

The reason you are reading this article is that you are worried about your business and social media presence,

Bearing in mind that should not be insensitive at all! but you need to stay active on social media accounts and show support to others as well.

No need to worry, this article got you covered just keep on reading!

How the Coronavirus Outbreak Could Affect Business

Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, Google canceled I/O 2020, its annual developer conference, and Facebook canceled its F8 developer conference. Twitter, TikTok, Mashable, Intel, Vevo, Amazon, and many others pulled out of the South by Southwest festival, which was ultimately called off the week before it was scheduled to begin.

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival followed the movement just days later. Large gatherings everywhere have been canceled. Interestingly enough, the Council on Foreign Relations canceled its conference, Doing Business under Coronavirus, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in New York City.

The Role of Social Media in Times of Crisis

As we live in a technology era, the important and vital role that social media plays nowadays cannot be denied, starting with the most popular platforms everyone uses such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, and Snapchat.

Anyhow, besides engaging with each other on social media, it does have an effective role in crisis time.

Examples of Using Social Media During COVID-19 Outbreak Crisis;

1. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 

FEMA has a perception problem because the public does not fully understand what the agency does, according to John Shea, public information officer for new media.

FEMA coordinates the federal response to disasters with other federal agencies and state and local partners. The agency keeps the message consistent by using blogs, Twitter and YouTube to communicate. FEMA’s Web site has videos that can be posted on other Web sites. Also, FEMA maintains a network of videographers called Disaster System Reservists — and many have their own YouTube channels.

2. The American Red Cross

Besides, The American Red Cross uses social media to empower the public to either seek or give help during a disaster, says Laura Howe, the agency’s senior director of public affairs. The Red Cross helps accomplish these goals through the photo-sharing site Flickr.

During Hurricane Ike in September 2007, the Web site averaged 4,000 Flickr views per day. Among the viewers were CNN, Yahoo!  News and local newspapers — many used the photos when reporting on the events.

The Red Cross utilizes YouTube and its 10,000 Twitter followers to distribute information during a disaster, and it manages a Facebook page to gather and receive feedback. It also uses Utterli, a micro-blogging service with an emphasis on mobile communications, to broadcast information to radio stations and bloggers.

10 Social Media Management Strategies Amit COVID-19 Outbreak 2020

1. Update Your Social Media Profiles:

If your working hours have changed or any of your business practices, make sure to update that on your profile and create a social media post about it. Besides updating that on Google My Business.

2. Create a Social Media Policy:

Having a documented social media policy is a must because it will enable you to have accurate guidelines for your employees on what to post and not post. You are also reducing the risk of them posting irrelevant posts.

3. Pause Any Scheduled Posts:

It is important to be kind and to show your support. Posting memes and funny posts won’t do you any good and will show you insensitive.

4. Do Not Argue:

As this is a hard time, you may notice a rise in the negative comments, however, as always, do not delete any negative or block whoever disagrees with you, on the contrary, respond to all of your comments with the utmost of respect and empathy.

5. Keep Your Tone Empathetic and Upbeat:

Bear in mind that your followers may have loved ones suffering from Coronavirus or at high risk from complications from it, stay supportive and empathetic.

6. Don’t Post Any Promotions at least the next month: 

One of the most important social media strategies is not to post any sales, discounts or ask people to purchase something for at least the next month. You do not want to look like you’re trying to profit off of this or are insensitive to the job loss and financial problems people are enduring because of it. On the other hand, you want to keep your business going so you might need to come up with a home delivery service.

7. What to Do If There Is no Delivery Service?

Explain your plans and strategies till your business are back on track again and your service is available.

8. Use Call-To-Action (CTA):

Customers need a call to action and especially in crisis time. No one is like to being kept hanging without knowing what to do and you do not want the customer to get bored. So what to do? It is simple; direct them towards external sources of advice, give them practical tips on what they could do to minimize the impact of the emergency.

We got you covered with a formula to use in all of your updates:

“update/description + what is currently being done to fix it + call to action”

9. Avoid Certain Topics:

It is always about the timing and amid the ongoing events, you need to make sure to pick up the right content.

Here are some recommendations: 

Avoid any topic about travel for the time being.

  • Encourage staying home and give others ideas, movie recommendations and suggest what do to while they are home.
  • Make your tips relevant to your industry and for the ongoing events so people can relate to it.
  • Talk about COVID-19 but not in all your posts; go for 30-50% only. Make sure your news is from a trusted source like WHO and CDC. You do not want to be accused of spreading inaccurate news.
  • If you’re a designer, avoid some of the posts that are just about how beautiful a room is. Those are good ones to add in information about what you’re doing at home or ask for recommendations.

10. Reconfirm Your Commitment to Your Customers:

For Example, Patagonia Outdoor Clothing & Gear made sure to over-communicate and provide customers with plenty of information about how it is dealing with COVID-19.

In the Twitter thread sharing the announcement about its retail stores closing Patagonia told its customers:

  • We will temporarily close our stores, offices and other operations at the end of business on Friday, March 13, 2020.
  • Employees who can work from home will do so. All Patagonia employees will receive their regular pay during the closure.
  • We apologize for that over the next two weeks; there will be delays in orders and customer service requests.
  • We encourage our friends everywhere to take the extra precautions necessary to safeguard their health and that of others.

It could have been a simple statement announcing that it will close the retail stores on Friday, March 13, 2020. But Patagonia took the time to communicate and share more information with the customers to assure that it is all for them.

Hopefully, these tips will do you good and make your social media account active and sensitive towards the crisis we are all facing!

Amy Harrison


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