Navigating Social Media During a Global Pandemic

For starters, this isn’t a one size fits all. As a business owner during the COVID-19 crisis, you have a lot to figure out. If you can’t devote resources (time, money, or emotions) to social media right now, it’s not going to be the end of the world. Only you know what you can realistically take on. If you’re currently barely getting by with your responsibilities, it’s okay to let some things go.

That being said, today I’m going over a couple different approaches to navigating social media during this time of crisis, and the pros and cons of each.

Approach #1: Survive Not Thrive

When this crisis began, I found myself here. It was A LOT to process. Not only was I carrying the weight and emotions of my own business, but I was also feeling it for my clients and other small businesses as well. The unknown and uncertainty was paralyzing. It caused a lot of us to take a step back from social all together. You may have had way too much going on with the hard business decisions you were having to make. Or maybe you just didn’t know what to say. The approach you settled on was to take a step back from social media all together.And maybe you still feel this way. If that’s the case, know that it’s okay. You’ll know when you’re ready to move forward. Until then, do what you can and take care of yourself.

The Pros:

  • You’ll free up time and energy to focus on bigger things, like how you’re going to pay your bills or employees.
  • You eliminate the risk of getting a negative reaction on social media. You may fear coming off as insensitive or maybe you fear saying the wrong things. If you’re not posting, you don’t have to worry about that.
  • Taking a break from social media and unplugging every now is good for you. This break can give you time to sort your thoughts and help you come back stronger than ever.

The Cons:

  • Your customers and followers could be waiting to hear from you. A lot of people have stepped up to support their favorite businesses. If you’re not on social media, people will not know how they can support you.
  • It’s going to be harder to get attention when you do decide to return to social media. The more a person interacts with your posts, the more likely they will see your content. If you go silent for a while, you may not have as large of a reach when you return with something to say.
  • You could be missing opportunities. My most liked post from the last two years was posted during this crisis. I have a client that is absolutely killing it with Facebook ads right now, seeing 10x returns on their ad spend. People are spending more time on social media these days. If your business isn’t there, you could be missing out.

Approach #2: Keep on Keeping On

Hats off to those of you that haven’t thought twice about continuing on with your social media efforts. You’ve probably worked hard to get to where you on social media and you’re not going to let some virus ruin that for you. More people are online now than ever, so this can be a great approach. Just make sure you you keep the following things in mind so that you don’t come off as insensitive or out of touch.

The Pros:

  • Consistency. You’re continuing to show up for your audience. You’re probably seeing higher engagement with more people being online.
  • You’re keeping an audience. Because people are interacting with you on a regular basis, your content is more likely to be seen by those people. So when you have something important to share, you won’t have to worry about it going unseen.
  • You could be generating sales. Yes, the economy is suffering, but some people are still buying. And those that aren’t in a position to buy right now, could still be interested. By showing up, you’re able to connect with those people and nurture them until they are ready to make a purchase with you.

The Cons:

  • You could be losing followers and potential customers. You have to know and understand your ideal customer and follower and what they are going through right now. If you’re ignorant to their needs, feelings, and emotions, you could come off as insensitive, unrelatable or simply annoying.
  • You could be at risk of burnout. If you’re trying to juggle too much and feeling the pressure to maintain your social media presence, you could be doing yourself more harm than good. This is a tough time. Don’t feel pressured to operate at 110%. You can scale back on social media and still be consistent. Pay attention to how you’re feeling physically and emotionally and go easy on yourself.

There’s no right answer.

The intent of me going over these two approaches is to simply help you think through your options. One approach is not better than the other. You know yourself and you know your business. My hope is that by going over the pros and cons of each, it may bring you more peace or clarity on the best option for you.

Six Tips for HOW to Show Up on Social When You’re Ready

  1. Know your audience. Everyone’s needs, fears, goals, and motivators have been impacted by this crisis. To perform your best, you need to identify how your ideal customer or follower has been impacted. This will help you continue to create content that serves them and keeps them engaged.
  1. If you want to show up, but selling your products/services doesn’t feel right, focus on content that aligns with your brand values and share posts that are resourceful, inspiring, and entertaining.
  1. If you go with Approach #1 and decide to take a break from social media, be sure to return a week or two before you have a big announcement you need everyone to see. Your first post after being silent for two months is not likely to be seen by many people. That’s not going to be helpful if you need to get the word out that you’re reopening. So, try to build your engagement back up a little before you post big news.
  1. Support other small businesses. Share other local businesses’ posts and announcements and engage with their content. Being a team player is always a good look. We can all use the extra support right now. It also increases your chance of being seen by potential customers that may be unaware of your business.
  1. Revisit your goals. I’m a big believer is taking my yearly goals and breaking them down by quarters. Let’s face it, part of Q1 and Q2 were SHOT for a lot of us. Make time to sit down and look at what you need to do going forward to somewhat stay on track. If you don’t write down your goals, you’re more likely to leave it up to chance. Chance doesn’t make you money unless you’re playing the lottery. Be strategic and get it done.
  1. If you decide to run Facebook/Instagram Ads, be sure you’re specific with TARGETING. I always preach highly targeted Facebook Ads, but right now, a lot of us are tight on cash. Don’t put your ad dollars at risk with ads that don’t provide you a return. Utilize your Facebook Pixel data, retargeting, and lookalike audiences. They’ll give you the biggest bang for your buck.

If you want to be active on social media but feel overwhelmed, unmotivated, or don’t know where to start, I’ve created 30 days worth of content ideas for this specific time. You can grab it for free here! This too shall pass, my friend. Let’s be prepared for when it does.

Erika Conleay Digital Marketing Consultant

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