CORONAVIRUS: How to react to coronavirus on social media

By Holly S on 2 April 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has been rapidly evolving on a global scale since December 31, 2019, when the first cases of pneumonia in Wuhan were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). Since then, at least 150 countries out of 195 have reported cases of the coronavirus.

And, as far as social media goes, the world is more unified than ever on this single topic. So it’s imperative that brands in the industry respond appropriately to this sensitive new communications landscape.

Here are a few of our top Dos and Don’ts of how to react to a post-coronavirus world on social media.

Don’t suggest global travel

This global lockdown of borders has created a huge sense of uncertainty in the airline and hospitality industries, and it’s important that brands are aware of this feeling of unease around travel. That means cancelling all activity around those ‘bucket list journeys’ for now, because the new normal will be a lot of hometown tourism, if anything. But that doesn’t mean brands should lose hope either. There will be light at the other end of this tunnel – this period is just about finding our way through it.


Do keep a social distance

As governments are (quite rightly) putting in containment measures like encouraging social distancing, brands should also audit all of their visual imagery to make sure that they are adhering to this standard. Although group shots of happy looking people has long been the mainstay of many-a corporate communication – those days are (temporarily) over. Flying solo in the safety of your own home is really the best way to go. Cute animal pics are still appreciated though (so feel free to email me any directly that you may have to hand).

Don’t suggest medical advice

Unless you’ve really got the medical or science degree to prove it, maybe just don’t offer any health advice beyond the standard ‘wash your hands for at least 20 seconds’. Even for life sciences brands, this can be a tricky one to wade into. Brands are always eager to appear helpful and relevant – but right now, social audiences have a low tolerance for bull poop and are willing to make that feeling known. So go ahead and keep that ‘kombucha smoothie immuno-booster recipe’ to yourself for now.

Do provide a quarantine distraction

In the early stages of the virus, 16 million people in Northern Italy had to be in quarantine. The number of people who have now been advised to self-isolate themselves worldwide has since risen so sharply that the data hasn’t even caught up yet. That means that there are a lot of bored people sitting at home all day, wondering how to fill their time. And frankly, it is OK to add a bit of levity to what is an intense and often grave situation. The talent on TikTok is having an absolute field day with all this – so why shouldn’t your brand feel free to take a little #coronacation from your regularly scheduled posts and have some fun?

Speaking of quarantine distractions – do you have some time today to talk about how Jessica from ‘Love is Blind’ really did the right thing by not living a life of drunken unhappiness just because it’s what social media audiences would have wanted? I think that should be a lesson to us all in these trying times…!

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