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Social media brand communication during the pandemic

Hopefully, we will be transitioning to a “new normal” soon, with measures in place to ensure public safety as well as revitalize the economy. But, I’m sure we can all agree that our social and professional lives have been disrupted, and many businesses have been shaken— halting operations, laying off workers, and basically scrambling to create an emergency contingency plan to cut losses.

With travel bans and social distancing, people at home have increased their online activity. To address this, some brands have taken this opportunity to shift their marketing spend from events and in-store merchandise, to digital advertisement.

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Sadly, there is no digital bible to tell us what to do during this new pandemic, but we asked our resource person on digital marketing, Millie Morales, for some tips on how your organization/business can communicate on social media during these trying times:

1. Reassess brand messaging

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Be empathetic by understanding the current local and global context. Try using a company value to highlight in your brand messaging, the context of a global pandemic.

For example, the value of “commitment to customers,” can be delivered online by releasing a statement acknowledging several health and safety concerns, and providing your consumers safe, alternative ways on how to use your service. This communicates that you are there to help alleviate some of your consumers’ worries, such as what McDonald’s Philippines CEO Kenneth Yang did in a video message. You may visit their Facebook page to watch the video.

Another tip is to keep your customers updated through social media or email, on the measures you are taking to ensure the well-being of not only your customers, but also your employees. Be sensitive on how you deliver your message online, but at the same time, stay true to your brand’s core values.

2. Review creatives and campaigns

Due to the shift in company strategies, most brands have op­ted to decrease spending, or have shifted their offline spend (events, flyers, stalls) to online ads. It is therefore imperative to lay down your two-year plan to assess which campaigns to push through, or delay due to recent events.

For example, we are aware of the plight of most Filipinos who cannot earn due to quarantine restrictions. It might not be the best time to launch that expensive beauty product on Facebook or Instagram when most of your audience are struggling to make ends meet.

Check future creatives for any pictures of crowded places, people huddling, or anything that would seem to violate quarantine protocols. Again, thoroughly review your promotional messaging.

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3. Maintain a healthy online presence

People are already anxious, angry and restless, and brands should avoid adding unnecessary panic and stress online. Contribute valid and helpful information such as emergency hotlines, or friendly quarantine reminders. Use the brand’s digital platforms to support advocacies or help people donate to a certain cause.

For example, Globe Telecom has been inviting its loyal customers to donate their Globe Rewards points to help the PGH Medical Foundation Inc. These donated points shall be used to provide test kits, alcohol, surgical masks, face shields, personal protective equipment and surgical gowns. Spread positive and inspiring content, quarantine “tips,” and engage your online audience.

This pandemic will not last forever. With all the fear and frustration going around, people will realize which brands stood by their side and are worthy of their loyalty. If your brand handles these issues right, customer loyalty will save your business in the long run.

Morales will conduct a virtual workshop on “Creating an Impactful Online Brand Image: Ensure A Connection with your Target Audience” on July 7-8.

For more information about the workshop and schedule of online courses offered by Inquirer Academy, please email [email protected], or call 0945-2158935 and look for Jerald Miguel.

The author is the Executive Director of the Inquirer Academy.

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