The entire world is in varying states of lockdown as they try to combat the coronavirus, or COVID19, pandemic. Here at Bubbl, like much of the UK, we’re entering week 4 of working from home, which means more time in bed, more time with our pets, and honestly, more time dedicated to mindlessly scrolling through social media.
It’s got to be said that social media has changed a lot since pre-coronavirus times. Some businesses have become more like grassroots charitable organisations, some businesses have proved just how out-of-touch they are with their audiences, and pretty much every social media platform has stepped up their fight against fake news since the proliferation of unfactual and sometimes outright dangerous advice that proliferated on the subject.
Never one to miss a trend, at Bubbl we’re highlighting the best (and worst) of social media during the lockdown, and maybe give you a few ideas while we’re at it.
Brands gone good
As we discussed in our last post “4 Digital Marketing Practices to Get You Through the Coronavirus Lockdown”, it’s important that brands don’t just try to ignore the pandemic and continue marketing as usual, lest you come across as tone-deaf. Instead, we recommend showing solidarity with your audience, and trying to help them as best you can.
Let’s see how some of our favourite brands have used the pandemic to do some good in the world (and then promoted it across social media, of course!).
Our absolute favourite brand take on the coronavirus pandemic comes from Crocs – whose (frankly, ugly) shoes have long been the top choice of nurses around the world thanks to their comfortable and easy-to-clean designs.
Knowing this, Crocs have taken to donating pairs of their classic clogs to healthcare workers as part of their “sharing a pair for healthcare” campaign. (Including those working on the frontline for the NHS. You can join in here.)
Knowing that everyone’s at home right now, Nike has taken it upon themselves to help their audience by teaming up with sports celebrities and providing at-home workouts via playlists and livestream on Youtube. We’ve certainly appreciated their efforts as we’ve been getting chubbier by the day.
They’ve even included playlists for children to help young’uns burn off some energy while they’re denied playtime with friends and outdoor activities.
That’s right, even the adult entertainment industry is stepping up to the plate. Rebranding themselves as “StayhomeHub”, PornHub has encouraged people around the world to continue following social distancing guidelines by giving away free premium memberships to their, ahem, “services”.
Another business that’s decided to go for a “rebrand” is London events magazine Time Out – or rather, Time In. Usually the place to go for things to do out-and-about in London, Time Out is staying relevant and helping their audience by suggesting the best at-home activities in the capital. (Also proving that you don’t need to give away anything for free in order to help people out!)
Brands gone bad
While most brands are out there being saints, providing good and valuable content to their audiences during the crisis, other brands have faced a backlash on social media for poor taste, brazen attempts to profiteer from the pandemic, or poor business practices.
Usually ahead of the curve on social media, Greggs came up against some opposition when in a tweet (that they have since deleted) they announced they would be staying open throughout the lockdown. The tweet was inundated with members of Greggs’ workforce and angry followers who were upset that Greggs would try to continue as normal despite the increasing risk to their employees.
They have now made a U-turn on this policy and closed all stores.
Airbnb came under fire on social media for advertising properties as “isolation retreats” after being forced to stop all holiday lets in the UK. Airbnb’s audience saw this as an attempt to keep operating as normal – and still rake in profits – during an international crisis.
The home-rental service is now only allowing key workers to stay in Airbnb properties while the restrictions are in place.
Probably the most well known business gaffe in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic has come from Sports Direct. Sports Direct attempted to continue operating post-lockdown on the basis that their brick-and-mortar stores were “essential” for selling… fitness equipment.
After a very loud backlash on social media, Sports Direct closed all their stores and issued an open apology to try and regain favour with their customers.
As all the big social media giants attempt to shut down the fake news that’s spreading like wildfire on their platforms, we’d like to urge all our readers to only share verified and trusted information about the pandemic. You can use the following resources to share correct up-to-date information far and wide, and do your bit against fake news:
- NHS Advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- GOV.uk Coronavirus Advice
- Trusted news sources such as the BBC
- World Health Organisation COVID-19 info
What you can do
Now is the best time to reach out to your audience and provide them with helpful information and advice – or even just a laugh in the form of a funny meme or joke to keep them going through dark times. Incidentally, now is also the time that your audience is paying the most attention to brands like you who are communicating via social media.
- Acknowledge the virus
- Be human
- Approach with humour
- Provide helpful resources and information
- Try to profit from the virus
- Ignore the pandemic altogether
- Make jokes in poor taste
- Stop communicating or “go dark”
If you’re unsure how to use social media during the lockdown, you can count on your friendly neighbourhood digital marketing agency Bubbl to provide a social media strategy unique to your brand. Get in touch for a chat!