Using Social Media to Help During the Pandemic
These days, all conversations lead back to the COVID-19 outbreak. It impacts so many aspects of our lives. While it's tempting to contemplate a social media strategy that offers a distraction from pandemic worries, ignoring our current reality can come off as inauthentic and out of touch.
Instead, consider using your social media presence to circulate helpful news and positive, hopeful posts. People are hurting in so many ways. Use your social media presence to speak to their pain. Be a cheerleader and a resource for support to your community. Doing so provides a useful service and it gets you noticed. Consider these initiatives as you build your social media strategy during this difficult time.
Offer emotional support
This is a hard time; it's scary, stressful and lonely. The social lives we knew and loved seem out of reach. The soccer and baseball fields, community centers, swimming pools, parks and beaches are abandoned. We all know someone who has been afflicted with COVID-19, and every scratchy throat or sneeze seems cause for worry.
Still, Americans are reaching out in all kinds of beautiful ways. Hearts and teddy bears are appearing in windows as games for children walking the neighborhood with their parents. Display your bears and hearts. Take pictures, post messages about this fun initiative for local children. Tag others in your community - kids, teens, seniors can all get in on this activity. Start it locally in your area if it hasn't taken off yet. Ask others to take pictures of their bears and hearts and tag your business.
Feature stories about everyday acts of love that people you know are enacting: the retired couple who is making masks in their basement to help keep their neighbors safe, the family who is cooking for the senior who lives across the street, the professional caregiver who is going above and beyond for her clients.
This is a time when great love stories triumph over the difficulty of quarantine. Share those emotionally supportive narratives. They help us all.
Champion local business
Small businesses are struggling, but they are tough and fighting hard. Their clients and customers are fighting alongside them. Small businesses give our community its unique personality - its true cultural and regional flavor. If you're a small business owner, be there for your fellow local small businesses -be one another's champions.
Take to your platforms to give virtual high fives to your favorite local taqueria. Post pictures of yourself (with permission, of course) and the team at the local hamburger shop, who are still making it happen, despite having to reconfigure their operation. These are success stories. These are the stories of American ingenuity. These are your fellow small business owners succeeding against crazy odds. Work together. Scratch each others' backs. Cross-post about each other's successes. Tag each other.
As small business owners, we little guys have something that the big guys don't; we have each other. Plus, we have our loyal following of clients and customers. Dig into that. We are our community.
This is the time to serve - using whatever we have in our hands. We need each other. Find an institution that matches your professional mission and serve. If your organization works with seniors, see if there's a way to start a letter-writing campaign between seniors and students. Remind your followers to reach out to the seniors in their families and on their block. Give blood and post about that experience, explaining why it isn't scary and how the team made you feel safe donating blood during the pandemic. Volunteer at the food bank, and post facts about the current need.
The COVID-19 pandemic is frightening, but there's work we can do to ease the burden. When we do the work and share our experiences, it's empowering, inspirational and it makes great social media content.
We all have good days and bad days as we make our way through this time. Our social media platforms are not where we should go to vent, worry or engage in political discourse. Those are kitchen table functions that have their place with a select audience of close confidants that we trust. When we're using social media to promote our businesses, we want to stick to using those platforms to further our brand identity. Making political statements can be polarizing instead of unifying, which can topple a good strategy.
On those bad days, turn to those who support you. Fill up on good vibes so that you can be strong again for your friends and followers. We need each other now, so let's keep on being there in every way we can be.