As millions are faced with being restricted to their homes and in self-isolation along with school and nurseries closing indefinitely – this means a busier household with lots of feet underfoot for parents, and the country trying as best it can to work from home. This also means more people turning to their laptops and phones to stay in touch with friends, gain information on what’s going on and to distract themselves from all the goings-on with a bit of non-news based content.
Now’s a pivotal time for brands to consider the output they’re delivering on their social media and the impact that it could have in the future – both in a positive and negative way.
Below is a guide for food and drink brands that are unsure of what to post and what to do in this ever-changing situation!
Should we post about COVID-19?
Everybody’s going through this same thing, we all know what’s happening and sadly it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. So, by not acknowledging it as a brand at least in some small way it will begin to single you out as not being informed about what’s going on and not being mindful and considerate of the changes that we’re facing as a country, and globally. This doesn’t need to be anything too formal, more of a quick update to recognise that things are going to be a bit different for a while and you’re still there as a brand for your customers.
Do we need to change all of our planned content?
If, like us, you or your agency plan a month or more ahead in your content then the likelihood is that yes, your content will need to change. Not necessarily all of it but some of it will certainly need revising. A post that was perfectly fine two days ago may suddenly be completely inappropriate, that’s why content should be checked daily and revised, or even pulled completely. Sometimes it might be better to just not say anything that day. Your content can always be saved for later down the road.
Should we just stop posting altogether?
The simple answer is no, by stopping altogether your customers lose the connection with you as a brand. Now’s a great time to be active on social and provide some respite from the media. With potentially more people than ever now using their phone as a way of contacting family and friends who they may not be seeing in person for a while, along with an increase in shopping online as fewer venture outside – it’s the perfect time for food and drink brands to bring their personality to the forefront and open up the conversation with their customers.
Make your content useful
If your product is aimed at parents consider the situation they’re now finding themselves in – at home (possibly also needing to work from home) and with children underfoot. If you acknowledge that people are going to be at home from the get-go then it frees you up to provide useful and thoughtful content for them during a period when they’ll be unsure of what to do with an unexpected houseful of children in need of learning and entertaining.
What useful tips and links could you share at this time, could you do something fun? Could you share updates from other sources that your followers may find useful?
Bring out older content
You may not have access to the infrastructure usually available to create content. So, what are your options? Repurpose older content, use mobile apps, create more ad-hoc Instagram and Facebook Story content. It might be that some of your older content now has a new purpose, for one of our clients JellySqueeze we’ve been creating craft and activity ideas for years – we can now bring some of these out again to share with parents. What do you have that could work in a similar way?
Create light-hearted, engaging content
It’s a challenging time for everyone but that doesn’t mean our humour has changed, people love to smile and laugh and now more than ever they need a little respite from the media! If it works for your brand, there’s no need to stop content that contains humour, though be mindful of anything that could be deemed even a little bit offensive as people are certainly more sensitive at the moment! There’s a great opportunity for brands to provide some respite with some light entertainment: polls, quizzes, games, competitions and open questions are all great content at this time.
Share easy-to-create recipes
Search terms relating to recipes and ‘how-to’ guides are up, showing that as more people stay at home and eating out is limited people are turning online to get ideas and inspiration. Brands that can share useful tips and recipes can play a huge role in giving people useful information at this uncertain time.
Is there a recipe that can be made with your product that people might find useful now or would love to have a go at now there will be more time to spend inside and less time visiting restaurants. With the work we do with chopped garlic and chilli brand Very Lazy, we have a whole library of simple meal ideas that can be made quickly, inexpensively and using store cupboard staples (with or without pasta – depending on your luck at the supermarket!)
Also it’s worth considering recipes and tips that are resourceful and encourage people to make things from a limited number of ingredients or substituting ingredients for others where they can’t get hold of their usual products.
Share kindness where you can
One thing that this whole pandemic has shown is the camaraderie and kindness of people in certain scenarios for example people supporting those more vulnerable in their communities. So, if it’s appropriate for your brand, you can consider how you can also contribute in a positive way. Whether that’s donations, allowing your staff to take some time to support people in that community, or something else.
If you don’t have an agency working for you then it’s a great time to support the creative industries by sourcing freelancers that work remotely, illustrators, animators, designers, photographers, they can all create content in isolation and will really be needing support at this time. Help them out and give them a bit of freedom. All they’ll need is a good brief, your brand guidelines and some product.
But what about my products?
Don’t worry about pushing a sales message or linking it too strongly back to your product every time, just make your content engaging and easy to take part in. You’ll be remembered more as a brand for making people feel good, than forcing content on them that’s just not really right at the moment. Keep your ads running if you’re an e-commerce brand, or keep showing awareness ads that tell people where they can find you. Depending on the type of product you have it might be that sales are up and you’re fighting to meet demand – you can always use your social content to give an insight into how COVID-19 is impacting you as a business and what you’re doing to get through it.
Using it as a chance to sell more product could be deemed inappropriate if done in the wrong way, for example using terms like ‘stock up’ so it’s worth considering what digital adverts you have running currently and if they could benefit from a slight wording change or being stopped completely. It’s worth saying though that people are still shopping online, and will come to rely on this even more so as the weeks go by.
Keep going, we’ll get through it!
Even if you find that you have to drop a few pieces of content, the community management should stay consistent – making sure you’re actively responding to questions and comments is important and it’s likely you may see more engagement during these weeks and months so timely responses allow your customers to have a bit of contact with you and keep seeing your brand.
Above all this is a hand to show your brand in a positive light. Keep upbeat and embrace the British spirit of getting on with things as best we can!
Need help? Just ask!
As a company we’re opening up our team to offer free advice on any social media concern you might have at this time, so if there’s something you want to check or run past someone just give us a shout and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours > firstname.lastname@example.org