Reconnecting with your audiences in a crisis

And keeping them engaged them long term

Social media’s best qualities are often the things many brands find most challenging when creating their posting strategies: its immediacy (lack of review time), its constant updating (time commitment), its flexibility (loss of control), and inclusivity (fans and critics are invited).

In times of crisis or business challenges, in particular, these challenges increase as your team may be scattered to remote workplaces or slammed with emergency responses, so you might not have the ability to create posts or responses together.

It is essential to ensure you’ve built flexibility into your brand platform. For example, requiring a 24-hour review period risks sacrificing all the potential gains a post can generate.

So, how do you do this?

There’s no magic solution to using all the social media platforms all of the time with all of the best content. However, there are ways to streamline your efforts into a manageable and realistic strategy that helps you towards your goals.

Research:

The first step to getting social media under control is to have a complete picture of the playing field.

  • Profiles: Create and maintain an inventory of all your consumer-facing profiles.
  • Audit your strategy: Does it really make sense to be on all the platforms? When the latest new platform bursts onto the market, should you jump in? Take the time to think through what you’re trying to do, which audience best serves that purpose, and what kind of time you can realistically dedicate.
Prepare:

These are foundational elements you need in place for a successful social media engagement plan.

  • Objectives: Identify your business objectives for each platform. It’s better to do a couple things really well than try to do everything poorly.
  • Social Media Policy: Have a clear and easy to understand social media policy in place.
  • Designated Team: Have a designated posting plan, identifying who is responsible for which platforms. These team members are then either responsible for creating the posts themselves or ensuring posts are getting created and posted.
  • Social Media Toolkit: Provide a social media toolkit for your posting team with a list of available resources for posting and tracking, brand imagery, stock photos, fonts, etc..
  • Follow Lists: Create pre-built lists of organizations, brands, and influencers that align with your brand and goals. This allows for quick engagement on topics for you to comment on, share, and re-post.
  • Cleanup: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok…you get the point. While there is no shortage in platform options, there is usually a significant shortage in your business’s time to monitor and maintain them. You don’t have to be everywhere, but you do have to be somewhere. If you’re overwhelmed, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are a good foundation on which to build.
Commit:

Your team has been pointed in the right direction and they have a structure in which to post effectively. With this foundation in place, you should be able to allow more flexibility into your posting. (Note: this won’t be 100 percent perfect, and that’s ok.)

  • Editorial Calendar: Have your team create a monthly editorial calendar with your major goals and areas of focus driving content ideas.
  • Test: New platforms and changes to existing platforms offer endless options. Designate some time each month to testing new technologies and ideas. The fit what works into your existing strategy.
  • Crisis Posting: In a crisis, it is easy to lose your cool and panic. Before panic posting, stop and revisit your core mission and values, aligning your updated messages and viewpoint to maintain brand consistency. (Also read Communicating effectively in times of uncertainty)

Connecting with audiences in whatever social media space they are is an amazing opportunity. In reality, however, choosing a few you can maintain consistently is the next best thing.

Once you’ve cleaned up your social media presence and established a streamlined updating plan, you’ll find yourself in a much better position for not only achieving your goals, but finding new ideas, capturing new opportunities, and proactively addressing potential issues. This can ultimately lead to better engagement with your customers and create a completive advantage over your competition.

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