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4 Steps to a Social Media Strategy During COVID-19

There’s no denying that these are tough times. When times are tough, it’s really common for brands to struggle with what to say, particularly on social media. Do you stick with your old messaging and pretend it’s still business as usual? (Hint: no). Do you commit your feed to only COVID-19 related posts from now on? (Hint: probably not).

While we can’t answer these questions for you, we can give you a guide to putting together a strategy that strikes the right tone for your brand and audience. We’ll take you through each step with tips, questions, and recommendations to help you come out of this with a custom social media strategy that fits your situation. 

Why Is Social Media Important in a Crisis Like COVID-19?

Let’s take a look at some data points to see. 

  • According to eMarketer, Facebook saw a 70% increase in usage of all of its apps in the month of March. People are turning to these apps to keep them entertained, connected, and informed while they’re spending more time at home.

  • Many marketers are pulling back spend in all areas, including social media, but engagement and turning to methods like email and social media to continue to build a brand and engage customers. This means that you'll get a bigger reach for you ad budget than before.

These are just a few of the data points that make it clear that now is a convenient time for marketers and businesses to double-down on social media to build relationships with new and existing customers. That doesn’t mean that anything goes, however. Now, more than ever, brands need to approach all of their marketing, social media included, in an intentional way.

Whether you’re just exploring social media or you’re experienced but trying to navigate this new world, the steps below will guide you to the right solution.

Know Your Audience

This is always a critical piece of any kind of marketing at any time, but it’s most critical during times of crisis like this. Marketing relies heavily on empathy, which in turn relies on an understanding of the people you’re trying to talk to. 

If you’ve been marketing your brand for a while, you might be tempted to skip this step. You already know your customer, right? Maybe, but do you know them in their current state? Are there additional audience opportunities that you haven’t assessed that you could test now? 

It doesn’t matter who you are — now is an excellent time to take a step back and re-acquaint yourself with your ideal customers. Here’s how: 

  • Identify the basic information: Answer questions such as age, location, gender, basic interests, income level, etc. Once you have a basic outline of a profile, go further and ask yourself, “So what?” and “What does this mean?” 

  • Find out what your customer is thinking and feeling now. Do some research, check in with influencers that target your customers, and do what you need to do to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Are they now dealing with working from home? Are they trying to keep kids busy now that schools are closed? Are they trying to stay fit and healthy while in quarantine?

  • Take those answers and take a step back. Zoom out and forget everything you’ve done before and everything you thought you knew about your customer. Are there any new opportunities to share your product in different ways with different people? How can you pivot to meet the needs of your customers right now? 

This in-depth knowledge of your customers will set the tone for everything you do during a crisis like COVID-19 and even beyond. The relationships you build through effectively knowing and meeting customer needs will endure long after the crisis is gone.

Focus Less on You, More on Them

Look, I get it. You’re a business, and you have to make money to survive. I’m not suggesting that you forget that entirely. I’m suggesting (firmly) that the middle of a global pandemic might not be the best time to focus on the KPIs you’ve always held dear. Don’t discard them altogether; they’ll move back toward the top of your list eventually, but it’s in your best interest to assess what success looks like now versus what it looked like before. Here’s how that might play out: