Tensions are rising about the Coronavirus, and it is clearly the topic of social media at the moment. People are spreading misinformation on social media and others seem insensitive to the crisis. So what can you do, as a business owner or designer, to make sure you’re social media isn’t missing the mark?
We absolutely recommend that you keep your social media presence going with regular and planned posts across a variety of social media platforms. As a matter of fact, you could increase your posting a bit. Try out Instagram Stories if you haven’t been posting. It would be a good time to start a video series if you find you have a little extra time. People will most likely be on social media more while they have some downtime.
Social Media Recommendations for Coronavirus
Regardless of your opinions about how the outbreak is being handled, everyone should now be using crisis protocols for their social media. But don’t let that intimidate you. That basically means to watch your tone, apologize if you make a mistake and show empathy. Twitter offers some great general recommendations on adjusting your brand voice for COVID-19 that apply to all brand communications.
Since the protocols and cultural sentiment are changing fast on this issue, check any scheduled content you have at least once a week and adjust as necessary. For example, early last week’s posts about going out to eat were likely fine. Now they are not.
Realize that your followers may have loved ones suffering from Coronavirus or at high risk from complications from it. Keep your tone empathetic and upbeat. Support and encourage others.
Never make light of the virus or the recommendations to prevent it. Don’t question whether the precautions are needed. Do not mention anything that indicates you are not following the protocols. Avoid all discussions of the politics of it (unless that’s on-brand for your business).
Do not 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.
If any of your business practices have changed, like your hours or how you’re working, update that on Google My Business and all of your social profiles, as well as creating a social media post about it.
If you post updates about the virus, even on your personal profile, make sure that they are only from highly trusted sources, such as the CDC or WHO. You do not want to be accused of spreading misinformation. We don’t recommend posting updates about the virus on your business accounts, except possibly local information from trusted sources about resources for your community.
Social Media Content Ideas During COVID-19
As tensions rise, it can be easy to offend people on social media, and we want to reduce your reputation risk of having people upset with your content. Here are Wingnut Social’s recommendations for your social media at this time.
Stay away from any discussion of travel, dining out or attending events that sound like you may be doing it now. Instead, talk about those things clearly in the past or the future, as something “I'd love to do when things return to normal.”
In your content, talk about things you’re doing at home with your family. Give others ideas, and ask for recommendations. Movies to watch? Things to do with kids your children’s’ ages? Fun meals to cook?
Provide tips relative to your industry that people can do at home. For example, tell them how to restyle a shelf with the decor they already have or rearrange their plants. Give them fun design tasks to do with their family.
Feel free to mention Coronavirus, COVID-19 or social distancing by name or more subtly. It’s massive news, and not mentioning it at all may seem unsympathetic. But don’t talk about it in all of your posts. Go for 30-50% that have at least a subtle mention.
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.
Managing Social Media Comments During Coronavirus
At times like this, tempers and panic can flare-up. You may see a rise in negative comments on your social media posts, which often have to do with frustration and nothing to do with you.
As always, respond to all of your comments. But do it with the utmost of respect and empathy. People who are reacting hostility may just be highly stressed. Don’t argue, just diffuse the situation.
We hope these guidelines are helpful in navigating how to handle your social media in these changing times. The good news is that we know you can do it!