How to master social media in the time of COVID-19

Your story is your superpower, but how much of the current realities of COVID-19 need to play into your narrative?

Denver Lewis, Community and Conference Content Manager

April 29, 2020

4 Min Read

At this moment in time, how brands interact with their consumers digitally is critical. Learn how others are doing it right and what you can do starting today that will have a big impact on your business.

In the latest installment of TIG talks, Elliot Begoun, founder of TIG, sat down with guests Giovanni Gallucci, a recovering web programmer-turned-internet-journeyman who develops and delivers award-winning search engine and social media strategy for a broad range of CPG and food and beverage clients, and Erin Phillips, founder of Pinckney Palm, who has worked in social media for 10 years serving big brands like Capital One, Le Creuset and BMW.  

Here are the top takeaways on mastering social media strategy in the time of COVID-19.  

While brands shouldn’t be overly overt about the current situation, they should make sure they are acknowledging what consumers are facing.

Gallucci said, "The biggest thing to lean away from is calling out the state of the world, while being sensitive to the situation we’re all in. Be super careful not to sell right now."

As an example: Have a subtle nod to the current reality, but don’t necessarily say “coronavirus” and “quarantine”; use words like “while you’re at home…”  to help consumers understand that you know what they are facing. Try not to use photos in your marketing with lots of people together during social distancing.

No matter what, make sure that whatever your reaction is, it’s consistent with the way your consumer expects you to react. To come off any other ways than how your brand shows up would seem disingenuous. All in all, serve in the ways that you can and stay positive.

Brands who have really stood out during COVID-19 on social media have been focused on servant leadership.

Brands who are practicing the act of giving really stand out in this time. A few good examples of brands that are hitting it out of the park are Spindrift and Uber, which have been pivoting their mentality and marketing to a giving mode—utilizing giveaways and focusing on people on the front lines.

Uber launched an ad campaign focused on not taking Uber unless you need to—keeping drivers and communities safe, acknowledging where we are and keeping the brand, rather than the bottom line, top of mind.

When brands aren’t in a position to use promotions and giveaways, their story is their superpower. Utilize social media to educate, inspire and entertain consumers.  

Utilize the power of LinkedIn and social storytelling by featuring employees working (and thriving) from home, lean into recipes and create content—show people who you are—with or without a call to action. Serving does not have to necessarily mean giveaways of product. Develop informative educational content that helps lift the brand in the algorithms when you can’t be focused on sales.

Phillips explained "social media should educate, inspire or entertain. Right now, lean heavily into education. Ask yourself what your specific consumer needs. This is a completely free way to engage, tell your story and open doors."

Specifically, Instagram stories are where it’s at. People aren’t focusing on the feed anymore. Level it up by embracing stories.

Influencer marketing promotes organic growth and has a higher ROI over ad spend.

One form of advertisement where the ROI is high is influencer marketing over paid ads. There is a human element, which leads to organic growth. When choosing between ads and leadership-driven content, lean into your own expertise. Focus on relationships above all.  

When it comes to developing an influencer marketing strategy, Begoun said, "Don’t get too caught up in the numbers—look for the people who embody your mission and focus on quality."

For discovering new microinfluencers, search organically and use hashtags to find new sources. Focus on authenticity when sending out product and sharing your ‘why.’ A few helpful tools: Apexdrop and Fohr.

(New Hope Network also has tools available to help access top influencers in the space. Check out the top 100 influencers in health and wellness. Brands can also take advantage of the New Hope Blogger Box to get their product in front of our Influencer Co-op.)

Focusing on how to make your social platforms tell a consistent story is paramount.

Foundationally, brands should look at their bio across all platforms. Make sure there is consistency and that consumers can read briefly and understand the company ethos. Remember that algorithms can detect stock images, so use authentic photos and copy as much as possible. People want to know who you are.

As far as posting cadence, Phillips said, "It is far better to post three times a week over ‘posting and ghosting.'"

Social media is just one part of a bigger, cohesive content strategy.

Have a level set about expectations of each social platform. These are brand growth vehicles, for the long haul, and part of an overall strategy. Brands need to have ads to push immediate sales, SEO, organic social, PR, etc. Let social media be a place for story, rather than transaction.

Watch the full TIG Talk below.


About the Author(s)

Denver Lewis

Community and Conference Content Manager, New Hope Network

As Community and Conference Content Manager, Denver is passionate about educating and supporting the growth of early stage natural products brands, strengthening understanding of the investment landscape and providing a platform for storytelling, with a focus on mission-driven business.

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