As we do our best to adjust to the “new normal” brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must closely examine and reconsider any existing internal and external communications programs to stay ahead of the business impacts of the virus. This includes referencing (and re-evaluating as needed) crisis communications plans, reworking event plans and making adjustments to social media content.

The Convince & Convert team recently hosted a webinar to continue the discussion on immediate changes organizations need to make – specifically to social media strategy – during these unprecedented times. (The full webinar is available on demand here!)

Here are our top takeaways:

1. Only post with a purpose

During a crisis, it’s more important than ever before to think before you post. A once thoughtful editorial calendar prepped weeks or months in advance is likely no longer relevant.

This really resonates with our team, as we’ve been helping many clients figure out what is and isn’t appropriate to share on their social channels right now. We’ve helped our client automotiveMastermind quickly pivot its social content to only highlight the company’s COVID-19 resource for dealerships content.

Jay Baer of Convince & Convert added during the webinar that while brands must be more mindful of the content they share, it is okay to stay authentic. If humor is a natural part of your brand, it’s acceptable to keep things light, but be considerate of your audience and the global context of your content.

2. Elongate your sales funnel

When consumers are faced with uncertainty, they aren’t in the same position to purchase things that may have been on their radar a few weeks ago. However, this doesn’t mean there is no longer a want or desire to purchase those items.

Jay posed a few helpful questions for consideration, “How can you be the Pinterest of your category? How can you provide your prospects and customers information and inspiration that will pay off later?”

Take a look at Detroit-based Bloomscape, a company that delivers plants directly to your door. Recently on social, they have focused on sharing helpful plant-care tips and isolation inspiration. Check out these lush backgrounds for your next Zoom call, too!

3. Reevaluate your visuals

According to Pattern89, there has been a 30% drop in social media ad images that feature human contact since March 12. Take the time to review any scheduled posts, and consider all future content, to ensure there are no conflicts with our current social distancing norms.

The Convince & Convert team shared this example of how Schwinn Bikes has shifted its Instagram imagery in the last few weeks.

View this post on Instagram

Repost @denforourcubs: ⁠ ⁠ Being married while living in 300sqft with 2 kids is no joke. We rarely get out by ourselves, and by rarely, I mean almost never. That’s not a knock on tiny living, just our situation in life. If I could advise anything, it’s don’t do that…⁠ I don’t do New Year resolutions, but one thing we will change is being better about spending alone time together. It’s something we’ve both failed within our marriage. I love mountain biking, but Katie’s not on my level with it, so we both got road bikes from @schwinnbikes so now we can ride together, talk, and just be together. We use to go on bike rides all over Long Beach when we first started dating, and it’s something we need to get back to. The downside is she’s no longer impressed by my wheelies (if she ever was). #SchwinnAmbassador

A post shared by Schwinn Bikes (@schwinnbikes) on

4. Test, test and test again

Our lives have been disrupted. Your audience is likely operating a bit differently on a day-to-day basis, as well. Use this time to test everything – publishing times, days of the week and mediums used. Are videos still performing well for your brand? What about podcasts? If you’re seeing a specific type of content performing better now than in the past, are you adjusting your strategy to incorporate more of that content?

This will differ for every business, but it’s important to understand your audiences’ new normal so you can best connect and cater to their needs.

 5. Focus on helping, not hard selling

“What you and your organization do in the next five weeks will set the table for the next five years,” Jay emphasized to conclude the webinar. We can’t agree more. Ultimately, the health and well-being of the individuals who make up and support an organization are top priority.

Starbucks is just one example of a brand that has shifted from sales-focused content in favor of spreading positivity and showing support for the surrounding community players.

Still navigating what is and isn’t appropriate for your communications strategy during COVID-19? We designed this COVID-19 Communications Playbook to help business leaders with all aspects of internal and external comms.

Please reach out if you have any questions related to communicating with your employees and clients/customers now and once we emerge from this crisis.

Nikki Little is vice president of strategy at Franco. You can reach her at little@franco.com.