The past two months have certainly been a wild ride. At BPR, we’ve handled our fair share of crises over the past decade, but never have we seen the news cycle and the general climate of the world change as quickly – or drastically – as it has during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that we’re through the initial communication phase and restaurants, hotels and destinations have found their new “normal” operation-wise, our team is researching and analyzing how strategies for each client should continue to shift in order to maximize engagement, remain sensitive to current events and while also staying relevant to their target audiences.
With more time on their hands, consumers are spending more time on social media platforms than ever (in fact, Facebook and Instagram usage are up 40%). It’s also no surprise, then, that the optimal times for brands to post content has shifted over the past several weeks. As a team, we look at weekly engagement reports, when followers are most active and more to gauge the most effective days and times to share content on behalf of clients. If you’re looking for a quick rundown on when the general public is currently online, Sprout Social recently released optimal posting times for each platform during COVID-19.
Next, we look at what type of content is currently performing well. Where many brands have succeeded with stunning, aspirational images in the past, they’re now seeing the need to be raw, in-the-moment and human to win the attention of their followers. We’re seeing stripped-down, simple photos and videos with empathetic captions and general brand updates out-perform professional, staged content on an increasing basis. With this in mind, it’s imperative that we, as marketers, walk the fine line between acknowledging the new normal and appearing tone-deaf by soliciting business during unprecedented times. So, what do we consider before sharing content?
- Is it on-brand? Crisis or not, this should always be your key consideration. Your brand voice and personality will remain intact long after COVID-19 passes, so it’s imperative that you remain true to what your brand represents.
- Is it useful? From sharing recipes to live-streaming how-to’s, virtual wine tastings and more, brands have been extremely creative with ways to keep followers engaged, as well as securing new ones. Brainstorm what makes your brand unique (we recommend referencing online reviews and comments to see what you’re most remembered by) and compile a series of posts or live-streams dedicated to useful content. For more inspiration, click here.
- Is it empathetic? Don’t shy away from the fact that times are tough, but don’t get hung up on this alone. Instead of shouting from the rooftops that your hotel is open for business via a “travel now” message, focus on an inspirational approach and image, simply stating “we’ll be here when the time comes.”
- Is it neutral? Politics, emotions and personal opinions are three areas to watch when drafting content (and when responding to online reviews, for that matter). Don’t let your personal passion get in the way of your business’ message. If you feel your heart beat increase or your face begins to feel hot, consider this your friendly reminder to step away and revisit the post – or response – later.
As businesses and communities continue begin to re-open, consumers are more concerned than ever with cleanliness and safety procedures. While the information may seem repetitive to us as business owners and marketers (did anyone else receive 200 emails from various brands when this all started?), it will bring peace of mind as the general public continues to emerge from their homes. We encourage you to use your platforms to share developments in your policies relating to this, with images or videos featuring your team in protective gear and a glance at what your new normal looks like.
Like you, we’re continuing to evaluate the current events and pivot our strategy to accommodate the latest developments. As we know more, we’ll be sure to share our latest insight and approach, and we encourage you to follow along here, on Facebook or our Instagram. If you’re looking for support as you plan to re-open, we’d love to chat! Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.