When global, national, and local anxiety are at all-time highs, it doesn’t matter how big or small your community is. You have a responsibility to show up. This period will bring the best or the worst out of all of us, and conversations will take place across millions of social media communities. Yours can be one or the other: A source of comfort and connection, or a source of source of conflict and isolation.
I’m camp connection. I believe it’s the business leader’s obligation to facilitate a sense of collective wellness — as much as possible — during this time. If you’re overwhelmed with where to start, let me lend a hand.
Audit your scheduled programming.
What needs to be adjusted in light of current events? Take the time to address it. Vet for a poorly timed meme that could increase anxiety with the new context we’re living in — anything that can come off as insensitive or opportunistic. To be clear, there’s a lot of room for business as usual. If you have a regular content program on Instagram, you provide value in the form of entertainment, so don’t stop that. But your customers and audience are totally freaking out right now. If you don’t acknowledge it, they might judge you for it (if not now, over time).
Be transparent. Don’t be opportunistic.
When I read this from Beautycounter, I just felt badly that their warehouse crew was still working. And my personal reaction was that this post is an overdone and slightly grotesque self-pat-on-the-back. Patagonia’s shutting everything down and asking their community to be patient on delayed orders until their next update. Unless a policy you’re implementing directly impacts your customers, feel free to spare them the “how we’re handling COVID- 19” announcement.
Monitor your communities closely.
Especially if you use your platform to address the current state of affairs, don’t allow differences of understanding and perspective to devolve into ignorant environments that damage a sense of community and collective responsibility. Lean into kindness and conversation in your community management strategy ASAP.
What can you do?
Here are a few ideas: Free shipping, virtual gatherings for your audience, or organizing a timely community effort.
Determine how “value” looks different for the foreseeable future.
At the content level, the least you can do is invest time thinking about your audience and how you can improve their lives during this period of time. Publish anti-fear, anti-boredom content that encourages creative thinking and optimism, in a way that shows that your brand is here to go through this together with its community.
Hit me with questions, don’t ignore it, and send love into the digital atmosphere. Better yet, use your creativity to cultivate something meaningful out of this mess.
In your corner,