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It has been one month now since COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, and it has certainly changed the marketing strategies of companies on social media. As a result of this unprecedented event, many companies and influencers have made varying decisions in how they have adjusted their social media presence. Some continue to follow the business as usual path, where no revisions have been made to their posted content. Others have turned to silence, pausing all planned posts, in light of the uncertainty surrounding the virus. 

However, some have decided to work around the pandemic, changing their posted content to be more appropriate in tone given the severity of the event. Of course, the circumstances surrounding the decisions made by some companies differ, due to the fact some companies made the ultimate decision to close their store-fronts during this time, whereas others are still accessible to the public. Regardless, most companies have been forced to release a statement acknowledging COVID-19, and how it will impact their businesses moving forward. 

While these are difficult times, what should be emphasized is that companies should still use social media, especially now when everyone is being advised to stay home and more people are inclined to be using these platforms. But this comes with a warning, given the significant impact of COVID-19, companies who do use social media should tread on caution. 

Here is a list of things your company should do on social media during uncertain times like these. 

Understand the position of your audience: it is important to be aware of the circumstances that are affecting your audience as a result of COVID-19. For instance, some people have lost their employment, and people are being told to stay home and avoid contact with large groups of people. But of course, there is also growing fear within communities due to the nature of the virus. With these circumstances in mind, a company should tailor its content to be more appropriate in tone given the current events. This means simply avoiding content that may come off as being insensitive with the reality of what is going on. For example, Gay Lea Foods created a post reminding their audience that social distancing does not have to equate to isolation from everyone. The company created an Instagram post to advise their audience on initiatives they can be taking to practice self-care, such as cooking and communicating with others online. What is important to note here is how the company understands the position of its audience and what they can do during this time.

Show solidarity: With the exponential growth of COVID-19, it has become an issue that everyone should arguably play a part of. As a company, it is important to acknowledge that you are aware of the dangers surrounding COVID-19, but you are also actively making decisions that will benefit not just your audience, but everyone else for the common good. Some companies have already made the decision to close their storefronts to mitigate the chances of infection. During this time, it would be recommended to remind your audience and stakeholders about your mission or vision statement as it relates to the commitments that your company is taking to play a part in flattening the curve. Some companies have made the decision to give back, for example, Zara has shifted its manufacturing to create masks for frontline health workers who need them. 

Spread awareness on your platform: Companies and influencers alike have a large reach with the numerous followers they have. This is a great opportunity to use your platform and remind others of the actions they should be taking. For example, Coldrops created a post on how to properly wash your hands on Instagram, whereas Gucci created a curation of posts that took notes from the World Health Organization. From the audience’s perspective, this is an effective method to at least contribute in some way to help the fight against COVID-19. Of course, this does not mean you have to transform your social platforms to a COVID-19 information page, even as simple as creating one post or Instagram story to remind your audience of advice from medical professionals would suffice.

Maintain your brand image: As previously mentioned, times like these are a good way to remind your audience about the values and commitments that your company stands for. If your company is founded on the principles of integrity and supporting others, it would be effective to relay this message back to your brand in light of what is happening. Your brand does not need to lose its identity during this crisis, and you should certainly not become quiet on social media either. Some companies have quickly changed their promotional campaigns to something simple and effective, with Nike being a prime example. Keeping your brand image alive does not mean capitalizing off of the pandemic and using it to promote your products, this is certainly something you should NOT do.

Interact with your followers: Times like these are the best way to remind your audience of your authenticity as a brand. In a previous blog post, we discussed how you can use your live videos as a way to interact with your audience in an authentic way, which has been proven to be an important trait in maintaining trust with your followers. Interacting with your followers can also include the likes of simply asking your audience how they are doing in isolation, or even asking them what they are doing to occupy themselves during this time. Given the fact that people are likely using social media more during this time, it would be best to reach out to your followers as it enhances your company’s reputation. Just be mindful of how you interact with your followers, you do not want to come off as being tone-deaf since this pandemic has certainly affected others in different ways.

Qode Social is a Toronto-based social media marketing agency that specializes in community building, account growth, ad analysis, Facebook and Instagram support, and more. Led by experienced social media experts, Qode Social has worked with companies such as Gay Lea Foods, Days Inn Canada, TP-Link and more. Qode Social is a division of Qode Media, which is the parent company that focuses on SEO and graphic design.