As the pandemic continues to unfold, more and more brands understand that having a voice and communicating through their social media platforms is especially important right now. But how exactly does a brand encourage consistent engagement with its followers during a global pandemic? There are a few ground rules and best practices that every brand should adhere to during this crisis. These can even be incorporated to support and promote continued high levels of engagement when business eventually goes back to normal.
For brands that haven’t spoken out already, it’s time to break the silence regarding COVID-19. Followers, including existing and potential customers, don’t want to connect with brands that seem unaware of current issues. If a brand has reached out to customers only via email or newsletter, it’s important now to be sure to bring it up on all the brand’s social media accounts, too. This simple act has the power to create a safe place for conversations to be held in comments or direct messaging.
Social media is a reliable and easy method for users to contact brands about various questions, ideas, comments or even suggestions to be heard. Of course, these posts can’t be random. Posting meaningless captions and photos will quickly drive followers to click the unfollow button! Brands that have a spokesperson who can speak on the COVID-19 issues can keep the content valuable and educational.
Instead of continually flooding followers’ feed with posts, brands should try utilizing the story features on Instagram and Facebook, which give followers more control of what they view. Followers have limited patience, so it’s important the content is to-the-point and easy to read. These stories also allow a brand’s social media team to be more creative. Posting interactive polls or questions serves a dual purpose of engaging with followers and gaining insight at the same time. Brands could also create quick videos that are both informational and on-brand.
After posting meaningful content, brands should start reaching out to worthwhile influencers to drive more users to the brand’s page. The ideal influencer has reliable engagement metrics, good communication skills, a high following, and is the right fit for the brand’s industry. For example, a lifestyle influencer would not be a good match for an insurance company.
Next, brands should work with their influencers to have them post about business updates, sales, giveaways or contests while motivating them to visit that brand’s account and follow! “Taking over” live stream videos can be a great way to introduce a new influencer to a brand’s following and can make for genuine content in real-time. Brands that have a tight budget right now and can’t afford influencers can try reaching out to their loyal followers, and encourage them to repost and share the content to keep it circulating.
This ongoing crisis is affecting brand awareness, so brands need to do what they can to increase engagement on their social media channels. From direct contact with followers to posting valuable content, to finally making the leap and using influencers, there are countless ways to drive engagement rates during and after this crisis. Good luck!
Alexis Krisay is a co-founder and partner at Serendipit Consulting.