What COVID-19 Means for Our Social Media Strategies

By Kate Callan

March 26, 2020

March 26, 2020 – COVID-19 has thrown the world into a tailspin and as communicators, we’re navigating a new world none of us have ever experienced. With the situation evolving on a daily basis, it’s critical to rethink our social strategies to meet the needs of this new landscape. Here are three key areas we’re counseling our teams and clients to ensure we’re hitting the mark and providing value through our communications.

Existing Planned Content

As a first step, teams should review all planned content through the end of April. Since no one is quite sure when things will go back to ‘normal’, this process should be done on a weekly basis and extend to the development of new content through at least June. Teams should key an eye out for anything that goes against physical distancing and regional-specific guidelines. Examples include:

  • Check overall tone as playful language may be misconstrued
  • Triple check all planned events/meetings, clinical trials, recruiting efforts as many are on hold or cancelled
  • Review for posts that mention school, workplace and travel or showcase large gatherings of people, close physical contact like hugs, handshakes, and adjust as needed
  • Scan for posts with the CTA to ‘visit your doctor’ as many non-urgent appointments are being cancelled
  • Watch out for paid campaigns. Re-review content and consider pausing campaigns as needed.

Proactive Posts about COVID-19

Coronavirus conversations are trending daily across all social platforms and the platforms are doing their best to point people to authoritative sources when users search for this type of content to help stop the spread of misinformation. For example, check out the Twitter COVID-19 Event page and Facebook’s latest statement on how they’re elevating accurate info, stopping misinformation and supporting global health efforts. Companies should not be adding to the “noise” around COVID-19, but rather should only seek to add true value to the conversation.

From a corporate standpoint, updates related to vaccines, test kits, masks or new digital resources available for patients and customers should certainly be shared but check the tone to ensure it is not overly promotional or insensitive.

When it comes to patient-facing social accounts, it’s important to be communicating with extra empathy and sensitivity right now, as a sense of community is even more important when people are feeling isolated and anxious. Think through your overall mission of the account and hold true to it. Also consider that the best source of information may be a third-party resource over your own content at this time.

Reactive Monitoring and Preparations

If you haven’t already, now is the time to develop a social listening program to understand how key stakeholders are discussing COVID-19. The volume of conversation is huge – more than 100M mentions per day and so it’s important to keep searches very specific to the area you’re interested in.

It is also a good idea to have responses prepared for any questions you may receive on COVID-19 to preempt community management scenarios.

Overall, this will be a time where constant evolution and agility is critical to ensure you’re striking the right tone and that your content is relevant and useful to your end audience.