How can brands use social media platforms effectively during an event of a crisis?
Why use social media platforms?
Social Media or Digital Media today is the best possible way for promoting businesses owing to it being easily accessible apart from its wider global reach. Everyone today owns a Smartphone and knows how to use common social media platforms like WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook etc.
However, in the event of a crisis, the role of social media becomes utmost important because it will be the one media that will not experience a slowdown or shutdown. As a curfew gets imposed, people may be confined to their homes and may not be able to go out to get print media or have it delivered at their doorsteps. With social distancing and confinement, people’s activity online will only increase
With easy internet access, businesses can use social media platforms (who have a huge user base) effectively to increase their brand visibility organically. However, with each platform catering to the specific interest of users, businesses will need to be creative in developing content which would be specific and target the particular social media platform’s users apart from being empathetic.
WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Quora are a few of the innumerable social media platforms available online where one can promote a brand.
Some ideas on how brands could use social media platforms effectively during the event of a crisis:
Brands should advertise wisely in a crisis situation and in a good way so that that their presence on social media doesn’t exploit the situation and they don’t seem opportunistic. Every action that you take could turn out good or harm your brand.
When in crisis, people become uncertain about what is happening and anxious about what to expect. A brand’s messages on its social media platforms should be more understanding of its customers’ needs and fears and the tone should sound empathetic. Not to forget, the brand must stay true to its values.
They should not hesitate in showing an act of kindness as it will help the brand to build trust and goodwill with its customers and with genuine intentions, the business can grow when people feel they really care for them.
Educate your audience
By creating awareness and educating the public about the crisis as well as preventive measures a brand can retain and strengthen trust with its audience. Sharing simple bits of information will be appreciated by the audience who will later be eager to buy their products.
Tune your customer services
In the time of a crisis, brands will require some changes in their modes of operation and interaction with their customers. They should use their existing social media accounts or create new ones to help spread information about this change.
Companies should also help service team adjust to dealing with customers online and as well help the customers have a good experience with the new methods of communication with a prompt response and round the clock, availability to cater to customer’s queries and complaints on its various social media platforms.
Keeping it real
People want something that they can connect with, get help from or relate to in a crisis. Simple content that can connect with their emotions is what they want and not some polished one. Also, people in an economic crisis may not be interested in buying your high priced beautiful items. So it’s best just to connect with them wisely in this time so that later when the situation becomes better, they would buy your brand remembering the connection.
When isolated and alone in times of a crisis, people often want to connect and have fun i.e they need some interaction. This is the time when brands will have to get more creative with different social platform features and functions so that they can get more interactive.
A brand should try creating a campaign for its products. It could build a simple game or create lucky draws/lotteries selling its product on Facebook or even let its customers win challenges on Twitter/Instagram or host live video sessions using YouTube or Facebook.
Identify the most suitable/effective social media platforms
A business should identify which social media platform best suits what it is selling so that it can engage its audience most effectively. If you want to display just a catalogue showcasing your products like a saree brand, the photo-sharing app Instagram would be more apt for you. If you want to showcase how your mobile handset functions, beginning with its unboxing, a YouTube video would be more suitable. Choosing the right platform can save you some money on advertising on these sites.
In the event of a crisis, brands should not stop advertising or be complacent and stick to their old methods. That will surely alienate their audience who may be at home and glued to social media platforms which is where the brands should target their advertising and marketing campaigns. Businesses should be confident, creative and be brave in venturing into digital marketing with their usage of the various social media platforms available online.