Social Media Crisis Management During COVID-19
It’s fair to say that none of us were prepared for the global crisis that hit last year. With a national lockdown, businesses across the country had to close their doors and find other ways to communicate with customers – largely through social media.
Social media platforms have become even more powerful tools during the pandemic. We’ve connected with loved ones, escaped from reality, and kept up to date with the ongoing COVID-19 news. According to GlobalWebIndex, 39% of UK consumers are reading more news stories on social media as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
As a social media agency, we were really kept on our toes! Our month-long campaigns were set aside in favour of more reactive strategies. We had to closely monitor government guidelines, adjust our content angles, and produce high-quality creative content with a quick turnaround.
To fully understand how our team rose to this unique challenge, take a look at the following client case studies.
Edinburgh Airport - keeping spirits (and engagements) high
From an initial 3-month community management contract back in 2015 to a multifaceted partnership today, Scotland’s busiest airport is one of our most exciting and long-lasting clients.
Understandably, the aviation industry really struggled throughout the pandemic. As flights were abruptly halted, so was our community management service. We had to think up a new approach, turning to inspirational, gamified, light-hearted content to ensure that passengers still had Edinburgh Airport front of mind when thinking about future trips.
From #ThrowbackThursdays and pre-pandemic UGC, to quick polls on the right way to wear your face mask (unfortunately necessary) and midweek trivia on airport codes – we gave passengers a sense of escapism, and a reason to keep coming back, which they did!
Lifehouse Spa & Hotel - when the doors closed, our content opened up
Since 2014, we’ve worked closely with the Lifehouse Spa & Hotel team to create an aspirational social presence that contributes to their overall bookings and sales.
Unsurprisingly, this strategy had to quickly change when their doors closed! We could no longer drive bookings from social media, collaborate with key influencers, or gather UGC. We needed to continue to produce high-quality, inspirational content to reassure guests that Lifehouse Spa would still be there waiting for them once the clouds had passed.
Some updated ideas included self-care tips from our wellness experts, recreating Lifehouse cocktails at home, DIY beauty treatments, and the promotion of Lifehouse gift vouchers.
During the first 3 months of the pandemic, we managed to increase our average engagement rate from 1.5% to over 3%! Not bad when you compare this to the standard hotel industry average of 0.4%.
Bumble - still making connections, even in a pandemic!
We’re not the only ones who had to switch up our social media strategies during the pandemic, and there was one brand in particular that really rose to the challenge.
During the first UK lockdown the online dating app, Bumble, launched its ‘Get Close, From Afar’ campaign. The emotive concept highlighted the fact that it’s possible to form powerful connections, even from a distance. The video itself shone a positive light on dating in the ‘new normal’, but also gave people hope for the return of normality.
Aside from the main campaign, Bumble adapted its Instagram content to keep users engaged and connected with the brand online. The company also launched its ‘Virtual Dating Dial In’, where celebrities and influencers took part in a live Instagram show every Thursday, sharing their top tips and tricks for navigating the dating world.
How can businesses use social media to handle a crisis?
Here are the main points to consider if you find yourself having to deal with some unexpected circumstances:
- Be both proactive and reactive. Don’t panic, just take a step back and really think about the right approach.
- Review your content calendar and paid social. Pause or update any scheduled content or ads if they’ll be affected by the crisis.
- Consider social media listening. This is such a powerful tool and can really help you to safeguard the brand should things get out of hand.
- Do not turn off comments. This may be tempting if your brand is receiving negative feedback but silencing your audience can actually make things worse. Monitor engagement closely and decide whether a response is necessary to help diffuse the situation.
- Be aware of trolling. It’s usually obvious who is looking for answers and who just wants to spam your page with negativity. You may need to look at hiding comments/blocking users if they continue to troll.
If your business needs help with crisis management, you’re in luck – we are a team of experts! Our team can help create situational guidelines and be involved in the execution and delivery should you ever need to use us. Speak with one of our experts today: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by our Senior Social Media Manager - Kelly Bean