By: Lee Ann Jackson April 15, 2020

As someone who spends a lot of time and focus on Social Media, if there is one thing I’ve learned is that like so much of life, very little in Social Media remains the same. My mantra, “The only thing that remains constant in social media is change” rings more true than ever in this Covid-19 world.

In the Ad Age Publisher’s Fireside last week, What a Crisis Teaches Brands About Social Media: The New Lessons to be Learned, Ad Age President and Publisher, Josh Golden and Twitter’s Stacy Minero, global head of Twitter ArtHouse, shared how brands should be using this time to reimagine their approach to a critical medium: social media.

It’s a risky time to be posting content in Social Media.”, Minero reflected, “It’s risky because it’s so temporal and brands can come across sounding tone deaf potentially.

Yet, consumers want to hear from brands. In fact, Minero shared that 2/3 of consumers want to hear from brands. So, what should brands do? Consumers, over 90% actually, said brands should actually modify their tone of voice.

In this Covid-19 world, consumers want brands to rethink the way they are saying things. So, the question for brands is – how do I navigate this situation and tell my story in a way that is authentic and relevant but also recognizes the unique time that we are in? It’s not just a matter of thinking about what you are saying, and what experience you are providing, but how you actually bring that message to market.

Here are three guidelines for brands on how to actually take advantage of social media and, how to make certain it feels relevant for your brand to be sharing:

I. Keep it simple, straightforward and supportive.

Recognizing this unique time that we are in, bringing information that is useful and brings utility but also these moments of entertainment and escape – if you’re the right brand and the right category, you can do all three.

II. Shift from brand purpose to brand action.

Golden and Minero noted companies that had a great brand purpose before the pandemic and have been able to position and pivot their marketing. For example, Nike went from, “Just Do It!” to if you want to be a hero, “Just Stay Home.”

What should brands without a clearly defined purpose do though?

Brands need to make a commitment to a cause that people care about . . . do something that is tangible. For example, Verizon is giving back to small businesses via concerts they’re holding in which tweets translate to donations. Through the platform of the weekly concert series, they’re not only garnering positive engagement, they’re also giving back money to small business . . . a great way to share experience and engage conversation.

III. Share joy, levity and connection with people.

Another way Minero shared for brands to leverage social media and ensure it feels relevant for a brand to be sharing is to go beyond the collective conversation and share joy, levity and just really connect with people.
These are some of the trends industry adverting leaders are seeing as brands connect with consumers:

  • Live Zoom parties which are then being live streamed . . . practicing social distancing but finding ways to keep connected.
  • A focus on helping local merchants and recognizing front line workers who are responding to the crisis.
  • Shifting from big productions to things that are more virtual, with strong mindfulness to keeping audience interaction.
  • An interest in occasions. Brands are making shared celebrations through live experiences a priority. Who hasn’t seen at least one drive by birthday celebration social lately? And the reality is, we’re still going to have Mother’s Day and we’re going to want to celebrate moms around the world.  People are going to want to shared celebrations focused on occasions. 

What does Minero hope will “stick” as brands use social media post Covid?

She notes that brands always think about the value exchange and what they deliver to consumers that enhance their experience or provide utility or entertainment. The current crisis is causing people to rethink it and be more intentional about how they go to the market. This is a key element to any brand at any time . . . crisis or not.

Everyday we’re seeing consumers donate to Go Fund Me’s because these merchants are so hard hit right now. Communities are stepping up and supporting front line workers with everything from meals to masks. Minero hopes that when we’re past the crisis, this interconnected nature of society and “global unity” will continue.


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