If the past several weeks have taught us anything, it’s that you always need to have a back-up plan. One of the biggest questions we’ve had to field from our partners is what is the appropriate way to go about sharing content during a crisis?
While it may be unlikely that a global crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic will occur on a scale such as this again, it’s clear that all businesses need a plan for sharing content during a crisis.
Read on for what we’ve learned during this unprecedented time.
It’s Okay To Pause
Some of the businesses we work with weren’t sure how to approach the pandemic situation, especially because new details were unfolding every moment. Others wanted to post as normal without mentioning the situation at all.
Our take? In a crisis, it’s better to act cautiously than to not react at all. At B Squared Media, we paused our own social media activity for several days so we could feel out what we would be comfortable putting out into the world.
While you don’t want to stop posts indefinitely, taking a few days or even a week to understand more about the situation and what your audience is finding helpful can be a great decision.
During this time, you might even ask your followers what they want to see. Go live on Facebook or Instagram, or add a quick clip in your stories asking your followers to provide their thoughts. You can even use the question and answer box on Instagram stories to gather feedback.
Take Stock Of What Others Are Doing
If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to sharing content during a crisis, take a moment to observe what the accounts you are following are posting.
Do you notice any themes? What about criticism? Look through the comments and see what people are saying. What are they reacting well to? Are there any posts that put a bad taste in your mouth?
Are brands sticking to their regular publishing schedule or are they posting less often? How often are you comfortable posting?
Create a vision board of sorts with posts that you enjoyed or content that you find relatable and inspiring. Make sure to also note a few examples of content you wouldn’t want on your own accounts. Then share those examples with your team so you can start brainstorming.
Pay Attention To New Developments
You don’t need to constantly watch the news, but being aware of headlines during a crisis is of utmost importance.
If you’re unaware of what’s happening, you increase your chances of making a major faux pas. Paying attention to milestones of the crisis, whether positive or negative, will help you determine what kind of content is appropriate to share.
For example, you don’t want to encourage your followers to take a walk on the beach if your area has closed local beaches. And you don’t want to post something overly enthusiastic if the news is focusing on a jump in fatalities.
Long story short, check-in with the headlines once or twice a day and tweak planned content as needed.
Keep A Pulse On Trends
While in the world of content it’s always important to take stock of trends, it’s even more important during a crisis. You may have noticed a number of different social trends unfolding during the COVID quarantine. From conference call bingo to the #FirstPhotoChallenge and Tiger King memes, there’s no shortage of content ideas.
While participating in everything that comes across your radar can be overkill, you can’t go wrong with jumping in on your favorites.
Even better, take a trend and put your own twist on it! Don’t like the prompts on the 30 Day Song challenge? Make your own! Not crazy about doing 10 push-ups? Create another See 10 Do 10 challenge.
Participating in viral trends will not only keep your content relevant, but it also will give your followers more to engage with!
Try To Be Positive
During a crisis, it’s important to try and put out positive and uplifting content. As your followers scroll through their feed, they’re being bombarded with negativity and scary predictions. Making sure that your pages offer an escape is one way you can foster engagement on your page.
Sharing inspirational quotes, links to good news, or lists of ways to bring yourself out of a funk are all good examples of appropriate content during uncertain times.
And while you want to keep your content uplifting, don’t forget to keep it real. Letting your followers know it’s okay to not be okay during a crisis is another important aspect for staying relatable.
Bring Your Community Together
One of the best ways I’ve seen a brand adapt their content to the current crisis has been my local yoga studio’s move to digital content. Not only did they start to hold virtual classes over Zoom, but they’ve also hosted many meditations for their community through Facebook live.
Another way they are staying connected to members is by asking if there are any poses they want to see broken down and then filming videos of those breakdowns for their Facebook and Instagram feeds. They’ve also shared photos of at-home practice spaces taken by members, reminding everyone that while apart, they are all practicing together.
How can you bring your community together during a crisis? Perhaps it is by hosting a Facebook live once a week or sharing content you have been tagged in by your followers. While you may be separated during a crisis, that doesn’t mean you can’t foster a way for your community to connect.
While you’ll need to examine your content plans during a crisis, you don’t have to stop posting altogether. Taking a moment to regroup and plan is always a good idea and focusing on positive ways you can bring your community together is a sure-fire way to garner engagement.
Interested in more crisis management content? Check out last week’s blog on Managing Customer Care Crisis Communications Through Social Media.
How have you adapted how your brand shares content during this crisis?
Leah K. Williams
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