Why Do I Stress the Importance of Clear Communications on Social Media During COVID-19?

Yes, I know, the title of this blogpost is a little long winded.

Sometimes, they just have to be.

Let me tell you why I’m using this title and what to do about it.

Let’s talk!

A business in another state that I use regularly has been struggling with their social media during the emergency.

(They may not use that word but I do.)

And, yes, I have offered to help and have been politely ignored.

But, please read on!

They’re preparing to reopen and their general manager after being being AWOL since the beginning of this crisis recently posted a very formal sounding memo on their Facebook page about all the restrictions that any customers will have to endure should they decide to visit.

(Actually left me wondering if he really wanted any customers showing up.)

Unfortunately, he left out a few key points.

Like the restrictions the governor of his state has put in place for out-of-state visitors and omitted the drastic change to one of the more popular features of his business.

Well, the inevitable dust up started not long after.

The latter point came out quickly and to the business’s credit, they did respond promptly and frankly.

Too bad they hadn’t done this sooner on their own before their customers started to wonder what else they’re not telling them.

Then various customers started to squabble on the Facebook page about whether or not the general manager had been forthcoming about the first point.

(I’ll concede that it does take a certain talent to ignite a flame war among your customers.)

The business did intervene periodically to clarify points that had been raised.

Here’s another problem.

“The business” replied not the general manager.

Who knows who’s behind the page.

It could be a well intentioned janitor for all we know.

Here’re the problems with this business as I see them:

  1. First off, there was no strategy for social media during the emergency. Initially, there was nothing then they started posting local pictures of the scenery. They should have been posting and engaging online regularly.
  2. Next, the business, a family owned and operated one, has no personal face. It’s hiding behind its name and corporate identity. That may work for General Motors and Google but it won’t for this business.
  3. Another missed opportunity, anecdotally, this business is the largest employer in its community, they had a chance to become an influencer and help lead their community back to recovery. They wasted this chance. And, trust me, unlike many smaller businesses around them, they could’ve afforded to do this.
  4. This would have been a great time to add a blog to their website.
  5. Circling back to my first point, there should have been a content strategy too and not just pretty pictures of the local scenery. They should have considered what their customers, employees, and the local community needed.
  6. Emails to customers would have been helpful. I’m willing to wager that they don’t even have a mailing list.
  7. Finally, what little communicating they did do should have been complete and clear. Right now, they’re coming off as defensive.

This is a text book case of how not to use social media during an emergency.

During times like this, your community is looking for someone, or something, that they can put their faith in.

The old saying that you only get one chance to make a first impression is true now more than ever as the whole world crowds online.

Poor, first impressions can be undone but it’s going to take work on the part of this business.

I wish them well!

(I’ve deliberately omitted their name and masked their identity. They have enough problems without me piling on.)

And, yes, I have approached them again and I’ll keep you posted!

That’s it for now!

Please check-out my 8 step approach for developing a social media program to get some more ideas on how to use social media.

Also, never forget to reach out to either ask questions or to ask for help from someone like myself!

In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!

I look forward to any and all comments that you may have. I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.

And, remember!

I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me. Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.

I can also be reached at conpsweeney@someddi.com.

My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.

Stay well!

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