With the spread of COVID-19, our shared world is becoming increasingly digital everyday. The stark reality of business being temporarily slowed down—or in some cases, completely shut down—is extremely daunting, particularly if you are a traditional brick and mortar shop with very little digital presence. Whether you are new or a pro on social, we’d like to share with you a few useful tips on social media etiquette for businesses during a crisis.
What To Do and Not To Do
Do keep your followers and community informed. Cutting hours? Offering limited products? Temporarily closing up shop? Post it on social and on your website. It’s most likely the first place that consumers will check prior to visiting a store front. Don’t act like its business as usual nor post things that will incite panic. Neither are helpful.
Do spend extra time on phrasing. Reassure but don’t downplay or oversell. Think of someone that you care about deeply. Write copy as if you were speaking to that individual. We are sensitive to linguistic nuances in an increasingly digital age. Bottom line: if you care, we know. If you don’t care, we know.
Do spend a couple of minutes to decide if your post is appropriate and well-timed. Double check that all scheduled posts are still appropriate to post. (see Epicurious’ scone recipe post after the Boston Marathon bombing). Don’t post a meme or a joke. It’s too soon. We’re still in it. Leave content like that on personal accounts, not business ones.
Do everything to keep trust. Be as genuine, honest, and transparent as realistically possible. Online communities are highly perceptive and resourceful. Additionally, social media consumers have developed a sensitive radar to PR spin. When the crisis is over, the internet will remember how your business chose to react; and we’re sorry to say, but the internet never really goes away. Don’t take advantage of panic to drum up new business. Now is not the time to make ethically grey decisions. This can quickly backfire and will create lasting damage. The opportunity cost for your business to generate leads during a pandemic is too high.
Do use hashtags sparingly and suitably. Want to use a trending hashtag? Check the feed first and get a sense of what the digital conversation around the hashtag is like. Then, decide if your content is appropriate for that hashtag. DO NOT use a trending crisis hashtag to plug promotions for your business. ESPECIALLY ON TWITTER. You might as well apologize and delete your account now. Forgive and forget is not a thing on Twitter. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The global effort to flatten the curve includes enhancing and safeguarding the way we conduct daily communications.
We want to live in a world where information is not intrusive, but helpful in directing individuals to things that truly lie within their sphere of interest. Pandemic or no pandemic.
Have a specific question or concern? Need tailored advice? Send us an email and we will share our thoughts with you. #FreeAdvice #NoStringsAttached