If you’re staying at home (as you should) like majority of the people today, chances are you’re probably scrolling through each one of your social media channels, and probably more than ever before. There’s also a good chance that you’re still seeing posts from brands, accounts and influencers that you’re following, and that they’re still promoting their products and services.

As we face uncharted waters in this pandemic, many countries worldwide have already implemented some version of quarantine and preventive measures to try and avoid spreading the virus even more than it already has. Another impact of this crisis is that a lot of businesses globally are struggling and either temporarily shutting their businesses, or already considering if not already done so, layoffs for many of their employees. Which is why at this moment, sensitive brand messaging is very critical, and that is a message that all marketing experts can agree on.

According to reports, the COVID-19 pandemic has not reached its peak yet, and that the worst is yet to come. Yet some brands have been slow to catch up on the sensitivity required during these trying times and still proceed like business as usual.

What Brands Should Not Do

  • Don’t be Tone-Deaf: Brands need to be aware of what’s happening around them, especially since this is a global crisis. Brands should practice having empathy, and practice putting themselves in the shoes of the consumers. Be more human in your approach.

  • Don’t be Out of Context: If you’re going to promote your products or services, don’t act like there’s nothing happening around the world and act like it is business as usual. There will be more eyes on you and your community will expect the best from you.

  • Don’t Be a News Account: Avoid posting news updates about the virus itself or statistics on your business accounts, there are news media accounts and legitimate organizations for that. However, you can post local information from trusted sources about resources and how you can help the community that you are in.

  • Don’t take the Virus Lightly: It won’t be declared a global pandemic if it’s not absolutely serious, which is why you as a brand shouldn’t too. And that goes for expert recommendations to prevent it too. 

  • Don’t Shoot Yourself in the Foot: Follow protocols and guidelines set by your government or local officials, and never post anything that makes it sound like you are not doing so.

  • Don’t Politicize the Issue: Trust us, leave politics out of it. It will just get messy, and the conversation will never end (unless that’s on-brand for your business).

     

  • Don’t Hard Sell your Brand: Avoid posting about any sales, discounts or asking people to purchase something, at least until the issue boils over or unless your product is something that would actually be beneficial in the current conditions.

  • Don’t Go Against the Current: Staying at home is the best and right thing to do right now. So avoid any discussions about travel, eating out or attending events or anything that might sound like that’s what you may be doing right now.

    What Brands Should Do:

  • Stay Active on Social Media: Regardless of the conditions, it’s still important to keep your social media presence going, especially during this time when people are probably more active on social media. Keep those regular and planned posts across a variety of your social media platforms, but remember that through everything else, content is key!

  • Adjust your Content Plan: As evident by the past few weeks of this crisis, a lot can change in a short amount of time. Your brands’ posts from last week might be different in tone than your posts from this week. So it’s important to check any of your scheduled content at least once a week and be flexible in adjusting if necessary.

  • Be empathetic and hopeful: Your followers or someone from your online community might have lost someone or have someone that is suffering from the virus, so it’s vital that your tone is full of empathy, and at the same time, hopeful and encouraging that this crisis will pass soon enough.

  • Be relatable: When people can relate to something, there’s a good chance that it will elicit an emotional response from others, and the same can be applied on your social media content. Try a little introspection as a brand, and create something deeper and more meaningful with your content.

  • Share positive stories: There’s no better time to have people learn about you than right now while they are at home. Share stories about who you are as a brand, and even better, you can share inspirational and positive stories about your team members. People need positivity right now.

  • Keep Your Brand Identity: Even in times of crisis, it’s important to keep your brand’s identity intact and that shouldn’t change. A brand should know who they are. However, you can keep your identity without sacrificing brand integrity, as it’s also important to focus on content that will resonate right now, and not project an image of being too cheerful during this ongoing crisis.

  • Update Your Information: Naturally, majority of  businesses have been affected by this pandemic, and it goes without saying that if any of your business practices have changed like your store hours or how you’re working, you should also update your Google My Business and all of your social media profiles so that your community is aware of the changes. It is also recommended to create social media posts about the changes in order to ensure that people are aware.

  • Spread News Responsibly: One of our don’ts for brands is that they shouldn’t turn their account into a news account, but if you really have to, don’t spread fake news about the virus and make sure that they came only from trusted sources such as the CDC or the WHO (and this applies to your personal accounts as well).

  • Suggest Activities To Do: Since people are mostly at home, be a friend to your community and recommend tips and suggestions on what to do during quarantine, either by themselves, with their friends or their families. It can be a fun activity they can do online like games, or something productive they can do at home such as re-styling their living room décor.