Crises, whether in business or life in general, have an uncanny way of disrupting everything. The world is becoming a minefield of political correctness all the while humanity is being threatened by killer viruses that threaten to bring us to extinction. However, we live in the age of marketing humanism, where brands are expected to be transparent and authentic in their dealings with consumers – whether in person or on social media. This article looks at the latest global business crisis, the importance of being heard over the noise, and a few social media marketing tips to keep in mind during a crisis:
The COVID-19 crisis
The Wuhan virus of 2019 and extensive global lockdowns as a result of the ensuing pandemic have posed the most brutal challenges to businesses since the Great Depression. These are challenging economic times and political regulations governing trade are making it tough for brands to keep their doors open. Marketing budgets are being slashed and businesses are not sure how much more they can take. What brands need more than anything during a crisis is a robust network of communication channels.
Being heard over the noise
Social media has been humming with talk of COVID-19 since the start of 2020. What’s more, protests are occurring across the globe for various reasons which flood the social media landscape. In times of crisis, individuals want to hear words of comfort from the people and brands they hold dear. Authentic social media marketing is about having conversations with customers, finding out how the crisis is impacting them, and being open about how the brand sees itself progressing through the crisis.
Crisis social media marketing tips
- No-one will judge you if you admit that things are not great, but you should probably include a positive in that content to make consumers feel that their needs will still most likely be met.
- Set up chatbot functionality on your social media platforms wherever possible so that no customer messages go unanswered. Better yet, respond to customer messages directly.
- Facebook and Instagram stories are great places to share the brand – and those who have stakes in it – in a natural manner, where social media users are more forgiving.
- Be aware that posts, including group photographs (think yearly staff photoshoot), even if taken pre-COVID-19, could confuse people into thinking that your brand is not following social distancing guidelines.
Crisis social media marketing is challenging but certainly not impossible. It takes a tiny bit of an extra effort but this energy could be the difference between customer retention and loss during times of crisis.
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