3 ways to remain (not so) socially distant via social media

Thu Mar 26 2020
Jenn Kim
COVID-19

Between COVID-19 and the economy, people are flocking to social media as both a distraction and a way to connect with one another. This has big implications for brands. In our last blog, we discussed the impact of current affairs on in-person events and festivals, with 3 ways to bring your events online. Now, we’re back with tips to engage with your community on social media in way that resonates.

Now more than ever, you can take a step back and really understand how to engage with your community on social media — in a way that’s authentic, relevant, and even helpful.

Let’s jump right in.

1. Ask your community what they want to see

Whether it’s from the CDC or World Health Organization (WHO), consumers have many outlets to get the facts and figures around COVID-19. This means your brand does not need to be that source of information all the time. In many cases, people are looking for light-hearted entertainment during this time of distress. Provide resources — such as the links above — for your audience to help them stay informed, but then switch gears to connect with them in a more engaging way. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience what sort of content they want to see over the next couple of weeks as the nation adapts to the situation at hand.

Reformation did this well. The brand addressed the situation humbly admitting, “We’re not exactly sure what is appropriate for a company like ours to be talking and posting about right now,” then continued to ask their audience what is resonating with them and if they still want to know about new collection launches. The Reformation community praised the brand for this appropriate response and many confessed they were looking forward to the brand’s fashion inspiration posts as an escape from the coronavirus heaviness.

2. Move beyond your typical content

Use this time to experiment with different types of social media content. Take the feedback that your community gives you and run with it.

You may already be using Instagram Stories — and that’s great! Make them more interactive with features like the poll sticker or the questions sticker to get quick responses from your audience. Also try adding a swipe-up link to a blog or webpage relevant to your Story content.

Or, have community members , such as employees, influencers, or ambassadors, take over your brand’s account and share content such as:

  • Some tips for working from home
  • Their favorite at-home workout routine
  • A new recipe they learned
  • Shows they’ve been loving

Since everyone is staying at home in self-isolation, this type of “behind-the-scenes” content will be more relatable now than ever before.

Take note from MTV. The network is one of many entertainment brands taking part in Viacom’s #AloneTogether campaign, which encourages people to stay at home in light of COVID-19, with the promise that MTV will be there as a source of entertainment. To keep people company, the network has promised artist and celebrity takeovers and continued social engagement with viewers, reassuring their community that social distancing doesn’t mean isolation.

At the same time, make sure you’re not losing the essence of your brand. Produce relevant content and build a sense of community around it.

One of the best ways to do so is through livestream platforms, such as Zoom, Facebook Live, and Instagram Live, which enable us to connect with one another in real time as if we’re physically together.

Here’s how Orangetheory leveraged video conference tools. Orangetheory’s loyal following is all about group fitness. But because its classes have the kind of environment that health officials want everyone to avoid, the fitness brand took to livestreaming to provide the same coach-inspired energy and a shared sense of community by hosting virtual classes, where people could work out at the same time using objects found around the house and network with each other all from the comfort of their own living rooms.

3. Provide meaningful tips.

During these sensitive times, the content your brand shares on social media should be helping your community — whether it’s by providing ways to stay informed or helping keep their mind off of all the craziness. The point is, you should be providing real value to your audience. So, use your expertise to provide meaningful tips related to your industry.

Here are some examples:

  • If you are a health brand, share tips for how your community can stay active while staying distant. What are some resources for them?
  • If you are a beauty brand, encourage your community to get creative with makeup looks or master a skincare regimen. What are some fun makeup challenges that they can attempt from the comfort of their bathrooms? Which products should they use?
  • If you are a tech brand, provide ways for your community to entertain themselves via your product. What kind of fun new features are on your app? How does it work?
  • If you are a fashion brand, showcase some outfit ideas for video conference calls while working from home. What are the best ways to look professional and stay comfortable?

You get the point.

Use this unprecedented challenge as a chance to engage with your audience in a deeper, more human way. Now more than ever, people crave connection and experiences. So, make sure to stay active on social media and incorporate these 3 tips to bring your community together.