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Social Media Crisis Communications

5 Things to Incorporate Into Your Crisis Communication Social Media Plan

By Leah Mariscal, DMCP on June, 9 2020

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Leah Mariscal, DMCP

Skilled Project Manager. Experienced Destination Event Producer. Problem Solver. Traveler. Foodie. Sangria Connoisseur and Animal Lover.

Since March 2020, with much of the world's population stuck at home, social media usage has surged reaffirming its place as a powerful channel for communicating important information with the side benefit of keeping consumer engaged, if done correctly.

However, 2020 has also meant brands must walk a delicate balance given a global pandemic and exploding social rights movement, amongst other issues. Typically, many companies spend precious time and resources posting to social media several times a day. They saturate their feed with employee profiles, award announcements, and even unrelated memes or GIFs. Previously if there's no real rhyme or reason to their strategy, social media presence fizzles out.

Now, a wrong or old tweet or post can sink or shake up an entire company with ripples reaching far and wide as demonstrated by Jessica Mulroney's fall from grace, CrossFit Gyms' owner abrupt departure, and nearly every "non essential brand" who struggled to find way to market effectively during covid and #BlackLivesMatters.

We've put together 5 ways brands, from B2C to B2B, can safely social media without the worry of setting off the crisis communications plan.

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1. Communicate store service options in a specific and timely fashion and continue to tell people online is available

E-commerce sales skyrocketed after states issued stay-at-home orders, and it's important you capitalize on this trend. Communicating online store services could prevent a 2020 world turned upside down sales slump, especially if you have lost income due to brick-and-mortar store closures. Research shows e-commerce sales jumped 25 percent in March, while grocery sales doubled.

Reopening your in person can be fraught with more than safety protocol concerns. The appearance of safe in your social media along will go a long way in assuring shoppers its okay to return. Stage a #bts story or go live with employees who are masked up, showcase the new store setup or contactless checkout, interview a customer on the street about what they're excited about. Continue to personalize your brand and be cognizant about the perception you're sending on your social channel snaps and captions.

2. Explain your cleaning, hand-washing, and social distancing policies

When you promote online store services, you also need to communicate cleaning, hand-washing, and social distancing policies. This communication might include encouraging all staff to wash their hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds; only taking orders online or by telephone; and staggering collection times.

States are opening back up however the threat remains until a vaccine is found. Clearly communicating your health and safety procedures will alleviate some of this fear. Again, personalize your brand by making it fun with anecdotes like "our CEO still sings the ABCs when she washes her hands" or embrace the adage that kids and animals can bring a story to life in a big way by creating a video series of all of the staff's children sharing how to wash up and stand in line.

3. Notify followers about shipping delays

To limit the spread of the virus and due to increase in demand for delivery and direct mail, the United States Postal Service (USPS) and other delivery services companies are operating at reduced capacity, meaning your customers might not receive products within normal timeframes.

With a proper crisis communication social media plan, you can communicate shipping delays and manage customer expectations.

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4. Post promotions and coupon codes to increase sales

Thinking tactically...as the economy stumbles, many Americans are tightening their purse strings. This could impact your business significantly, especially if things don't return to normal for a while. Posting promotions and coupon codes on social media could encourage consumers to start spending again but be careful that you don't come off tone deaf.

Odds are ever in your favor though. Sixty-eight percent of customers say coupon codes build brand awareness, and 68 percent say coupon codes generate loyalty. Invest even a small amount of digital advertising dollars can help your brand see increased ROI and audience exposure to the promotion you choose to run.

5. Showcase local relief efforts

This is a difficult time for everyone, and you should support your community where you can. This support might include showcasing local good causes or raising funds for local relief efforts on your social media pages. We'll get through 2020. And customers will remember that you helped the community during this crisis.

Bringing it all together

Good communication is critical in a crisis like this, especially on social media, but you need to communicate the right information. Here at Nifty Method, we can create a crisis communication strategic plan, help you respond if you're already in fight or flight mode, and train your team to talk to the media. Our goal is to help set you up for success so that you can execute when you need, as you need it. 

Click here for a complimentary assessment of your current social media or crisis communications strategy with me.

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