Social Media Marketing amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

We find ourselves at a time of crisis and uncertainty. Never before have we seen a global lockdown of this magnitude. Even in countries with relatively few cases of COVID-19, there are strong measures in place due to worries of the virus spreading uncontrollably. Not since 9/11 have we gone through a time of so much fear and doubt towards the future. Even with talks of measures being lifted soon, it will likely be an extensive process, with several industries being shut down still for the near future. So how can businesses survive this turbulent moment in time? 

Yes. We are living in a time of social distancing like never seen before. But we are also living in the most interconnected time our species has ever been through. The power of the internet, and more specifically social channels, have connected us in ways we never thought possible. While we are physically separated, our technologies have brought us closer than ever before. It is our job as marketers to use these powerful tools to help our businesses adjust, evolve, and create influential stories!

Maria F. Zegarra, Marketing Manager at Florida National University 

“Social media has been on the rise for many years now, but the way it has brought out the best in many businesses during these difficult times is truly astonishing. For my company, we have tailored our content to be creative and engaging for all those we know are currently home staying safe. Things such as “At home workouts” from our athletics team and “Things to do while at home” have been the most engaging content we’ve had all year! Instead of focusing on the hardships, I think it is a great opportunity to get creative and gain all those followers back.”

Marcos Sotelo, Online Marketing Manager at Nettwerk Music Group

“While people in general might not be commuting as they did before and their attention is now more focused on news, digital interaction other forms of media streaming, fortunately Nettwerk’s cult and more personal artists have not lost the public’s attention as the more mainstream music industry has. The biggest change during these COVID-19 times has been the obvious shift from live concerts to live streaming from digital social platforms in order to keep their audiences engaged. This transformation has also brought our artists close to their audience in a time where social distancing makes it impossible to have a public gathering .”

Gabriel J. Peralta, Digital Marketing Manager, 3D Dentists

“Currently, there are more people online than ever before. This is because they are trying to stay connected with what is happening, with their families, friends, and fellow coworkers. Despite the size of the company, consumers have always been there for us. It’s time for us to be there for them by providing factual information and entertaining content to alleviate fear and anxiety. Doing homemade videos to engage with your consumers about your products and services will help you grow your business. Perhaps, not at this moment, but soon once we start getting back to normal.

Listen and respond to your audience’s concerns. Staying connected shows that you care about them. You don’t need an account for every social media platform, but it’s important to share valuable content to your audience exactly where they are: online.” 

Lin Humphrey, Ph.D. Professor of Marketing at Florida International University. 2011 Global Mobile Marketing Academic of the Year.

“Brands can definitely use social media during the COVID-19 outbreak, but it’s critical that the posts are a) relevant; b) empathetic; c) serve a greater good. Restaurants that have pivoted to selling groceries to pay their suppliers and help consumers with food shortages or deliver meals to medical first-line heroes are doing a fantastic job. Pushing a deal or launching a product will probably not resonate with consumers during this time.”

Paul Barron, CEO/Founder of Foodable Network LLC, award-winning author, entrepreneur. 

“The restaurant industry is in the biggest shift it has ever faced in its 50+ years of existence. The operators we know today will no longer be what we know as the elite of the restaurant business in the future. Instead, it will be a new breed of operator that will shepherd in a new era in foodservice.

The next era of food will depend on the message and ability for operators to take social and content (storytelling) to a level they have never experienced. Consumer confidence will weaken for years and the only salvation of our industry will be not only changing how we operate to serve but how we tell the story. This era will yield the greatest business story ever told!”

Conclusion –

Social media platforms can get us closer to our customers than ever during these difficult times. Now is the time for companies use to take action and create connections in ways they hadn’t before, both through empathy and creativity. It is also a time to figure out ways to deliver messages that are both informative and comprehensive of everyone’s challenging situation. Being present online, answering questions, or sending out a heartfelt message can go a long way. Showing kindness and creating positive connections will surely benefit our companies in the future. Lets use our social platforms to help us deliver these messages.

Yes, social distancing measures are hurting our businesses, however, marketing our companies through social platforms can offer certain solutions. It is crucial that we as marketers find ingenious and smart ways to create a connection with our customers, using social media as a channel to convey our stories. Whether it is an online concert or a live chat, we need to get creative and show clients we care and are present during this stressful situation! They will thank us in the long run. Whatever the future holds for us is uncertain, and that might be a scary thought, but let’s not fear the challenges we face, but rather use them as an opportunity to grow and take our storytelling to another level!