We are now entering a new phase called the ‘new normal’ according to the press and our government, and it is important to address how we could be adapting the way we communicate on social media.
Negative language on social media
I see many social media posts still talking very negatively about the ‘crisis’ and these posts can add to the anxiety people may be feeling.
Businesses are using words like ‘crisis’, ‘surviving’, pandemic’, ‘killer, ‘outbreak’, ‘disaster’, ‘survival’, ‘disruptions’, ‘contagious’, ‘impacted’ to list a few I saw today and these words conjure up negative feelings which can reflect on the brand.
Be more human
Now is not the time for scare-mongering but for inspiring our customers and building a positive connection with them on social media.
It is important to put yourself into the mind of your customer and be calm and sensitive, showing kindness but also giving direction. Mari Smith, the ‘Queen of Facebook’ said last week at Atomicon 2020 that people are looking for ‘emotionally intelligent leaders’ – calm, a voice of reason and a good listener.
A brand should, therefore, be showing up on social media, being ‘more human’ and showing empathy.
So, let’s go back to the language we could use in social media during the ‘new normal’, phase. It would be beneficial for brands to adopt a positive, inspirational, helpful tone during this time.
Posts can be conversational but it’s important to be careful with wit and humour as this can come across as dismissive of the situation we are all in.
Ideas of words and phrases that I feel reflect how we should communicate include as an example: ‘adapt’, ‘support’, ‘cope’, ‘stay connected’, ‘stand together’, ‘contribute’, ‘connect’, ‘play a role’, ‘navigate’, ‘respond’…
If you are offering an online service or your business is soon to open to the public having been closed, then you will want to reassure your customers using language like ‘virtual’, ‘contact-free’, ‘remote’, ‘downloadable’, ‘social distancing’.
Using these phrases shows you understand their concerns and as a brand, you are taking the situation seriously and respectfully.
Navigating the challenges
Whilst it is fine to still sell to our customers as people are still buying products, this is an area where we continue to need to be sensitive. Brands don’t want to be seen to be profiteering from the situation so care is needed with the language.
Brands also need to ease up on the urgency around offers – time-limited offers like ‘don’t miss out’ or ‘offer only for 24 hours’ add pressure on the consumer and their priorities may have changed during the lockdown and this may fall flat with them or cause anxiety.
If you find it a challenge to get the language and tone right on social media then why don’t you try to move your communication onto video posts or Lives? Your message is less likely to be misinterpreted if your customers can see your expression, hear your tone and feel your emotion.
I always say to my clients that a social media post should either ‘entertain, inspire or educate’ – I still stick by this, with the priority at the moment being, inspiring and educating your audience.