It goes without saying here that the human impact, the real-world, immediate health concerns of the outbreak, are the biggest concern, but for those businesses looking to maintain their activity, in alignment with this shifting focus, there are some key considerations that you need to keep in mind.
These are some key principles that you may want to consider in the coming weeks, in relation to the Coronavirus and your digital and social media communications.
1.Keep up to date with what’s happening
By staying on top of the latest info on the outbreak, brands can ensure their messaging aligns with important updates.
You should ensure those managing your channels are aware of any new procedures you put in place and are clear about who they need to speak to for additional information or clarity about the current situation.
2.Be thoughtful about the tone of voice
Right now might not be the best time to be snarky or sarcastic, while empathy, understanding and even certain types of humor may go a long way.”
3.Anticipate changes in your customer’s behavior
With more and more people shifting to working from home, among other behavioral shifts, elements of all businesses will be impacted. Be aware of these impacts and to offer relevant policy changes and shifts in line with evolving needs, where possible.
You should be monitoring online for any mention of your company, office locations, terms of reference and brand along with keywords and phrases that might be used alongside ‘coronavirus’ and its associated terms by effectively implementing social listening or monitoring capability
Where there are mentions and conversations, they will broadly start to fall into one of the following groups:
- No harm – a mention of you that is factually correct, non-damaging or benign.
- Factually incorrect – a mention that is not meant to do damage but carries incorrect information.
- Critical but true – In a fluid situation, there are bound to be mistakes made as we face the fallout of more cases and the impact that has on a business.
- Deliberate spread of misinformation – an example of this could be a deliberate and obvious exaggeration or lie, an attempt to damage your reputation, cause fear or panic, or anything that threatens your ability to operate.
5.Be Ready with your response
A clear set of rules of engagement will be key in ensuring you respond effectively and efficiently.
- For conversations or mentions that fall into the ‘No harm‘ category, they should be checked and passed on in with the appropriate level of analysis.
- For those in the ‘Factually incorrect‘ category – decide what the threshold is for responding and ensuring that all responses are consistent, approved and not likely to lead to further confusion or more questions.
- For mentions that fall into the ‘Critical but true‘ category, consider if responding on the platform is likely to resolve the issue or makes things worse.
- For anything falling into the ‘deliberate spread of misinformation’ category, firstly analyze the impact of the post. Has it been seen by a sizable audience, is it being repeated elsewhere for example? Secondly, if it is damaging enough, use the platform’s tools to report it and in the most serious of cases, where it could have a serious impact on others, consider sharing the information with relevant authorities.