Social media. A double-edged sword that presents an extraordinary amount of both pros and cons. In the current global climate swirling with Coronavirus and pandemic hashtags, how are we to interpret and decide what’s correct and what’s misinformation? How do we keep positively using platforms for effective communication? Our team at Valor Hospitality Partners wants to be sure that you have all the tools you need to easily navigate the expansive and ever-evolving social media front to keep your brand relevant.
“What is a ‘Coronavirus Infodemic’?”
In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, public understanding is crucial in differentiating assurance from panic. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Reddit have found themselves in the center of it all, allowing users to access excessive amounts of information at one touch. So much so that Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), has coined the phrase “coronavirus infodemic,” referring to the widespread dissemination of information and public confusion as to who and what information sources to trust.
As a professional using social media platforms for your brand, you might be asking yourself, ‘Should I even continue using social media during this time?’ or ‘How do I positively maintain my brand presence in light of COVID-19?’ Below you’ll find some pros and cons of social media use during a crisis to consider.
- Trust: Social media provides organizations with a powerful tool for building trust among people who use social media by developing constructive dialogues in social media communities. Brands in particular are able to establish their social media presence as a go-to source for authoritative public information.
- Timeliness: Enables monitoring of timely reports from the public as well as general public opinion and feedback before, during and after a crisis.
- Informative: A wide variety of social media platforms are available to present information and spread the word, each having its own characteristics, e.g., short messages (Twitter), long messages and multimedia (Facebook), video (YouTube), photo sharing (Instagram), discussion boards (Reddit).
- Credibility: Improper use of the social media platform by an organization’s personnel could be damaging to credibility and ability to earn trust. Effective use of social media requires a commitment to policies and resources.
- Misinformation: The spread of misinformation, exaggerated rumors, and medical hoaxes can cause a surge in panic amongst the public. Information gathered by organizations needs to come from verified sources and/or double checked.
- Negativity: Social media may be used as a tool to spread negative/unwanted information about your organization. Crisis communication plans should help mitigate the damage that can be caused.
“What Can Social Media do for My Business During a Time of Crisis?”
Even in the most uncertain of times, social media is a powerful tool that makes sure that your business remains relevant. For the hospitality industry especially, contingency is key for brand presentation and client interaction.
Here are five things that maintaining social media presence during a crisis can do for your business:
Attract Clients: Sustaining brand voice can attract new clients by portraying your business as a leader in its field by associating authority and trust with your image.
Strengthen Bonds with Existing Clients – Ensure your business will be there to cultivate further relationships through messages of positivity and assurance.
Build your Brand – Consistent posting keeps your brand at top-of-mind and separate it from the rest.
Invest in SEO – By understanding current trends and topics, businesses can increase the quality and quantity of website traffic by broadening the visibility of their digital presence.
Research and Learn about your Target Audience – Gives your business the ability to learn about its target audience in all environments and create crisis management plans. How do their needs differ in times of crisis versus others? What do they want/need to hear?
“What are Some of the Best Practices for Developing a Social Media Strategy during a Pandemic?”
Six easy ways to strategically create and monitor your social media during a pandemic include:
- Monitoring your notifications more closely than you normally would so you can respond to questions concerning #COVID19 faster.
- Updating your clients and customers on all social media platforms about any new changes that will affect them today or in the future.
- Pinning important info to the top of your social feed.
- Checking on your fellow coworkers! Give them a call, text, email, or video chat and let them know you care.
- Don’t panic but stay informed on CDC recommendations online via social media at @CDCGOV or at CDC.gov.
- Give yourself and others grace during this hectic time!
“What are Some of the Best Practices for Developing Impactful Social Media Content during a Pandemic?”
Don’t know what to share to your target audience during COVID-19? At Valor Hospitality Partners we think it’s best to be simply helpful and compassionate. Here are six helpful things to share with your clients and customers:
- Update them on any overall changes to your business that will affect them.
- As you take this crisis day by day, be sure to keep your fans in the loop about changing hours, restaurant/bar closures, or interruptions in service.
- Post about how you and your team are dealing with the crisis so you can be a help and inspiration to others in the same industry.
- Share positive posts or inspirational quotes
- Highlight any local charitable efforts that the community can get behind.
- If you are waiving any of your service fees or offering additional services to help your customers, make sure you talk about that on your social media platforms too.
Bottom line, social media is an important tool for businesses to continue brand relevance and stay on top of the latest industry news during crisis situations. It is important however, that businesses make sure they are taking the right steps to ensure they are sending the right message.
What are some additional crisis social media tips that could benefit hospitality and/or other professionals? Tell us in the comments below!