Do I need to say something?
Yeah, probably so.
Gone are the days when brands can say nothing.
If you are a brand or organizational leader, you can’t pretend that something bad didn’t just happen and that it’s not affecting the way the people that follow you are thinking, acting and behaving. Since you don’t control time, then you don’t know when things will change. “We’ll wait for things to get back to normal,” said all the people that thought COVID-19 was just a phase. “We’ll just pause for things to calm down,” said all the folks who thought the Black Lives Matter movement would come and go. Things might not change. Your only opportunity is now. Social media has changed the game. Whether it's a person, a city, a business or a non-profit, brands that want to connect with their people have to create content that connects. If you have an audience that is active and engaged, they deserve to be considered. And if they are scrolling social media right now, they are probably seeing much of the same thing. Can you say or do something that will break up the monotony? Can you be the voice that they’re looking for, right now in this moment? As a brand leader, you have a responsiblity to create content that will contribute to shaping the way your audience thinks about you. And depending on the kind of brand you’re operating, they might just be waiting on you to say something. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you shape your content in the midst of a crisis. PS - You'll want to grab a pen and paper. 1. How does what has happened affect my audience? Believe it or not, people have feelings. I know - shocking.
Right now, in this moment, the people that have chosen to follow you probably have similar feelings. Think about them right now. Put the people you serve in your mind. Now, think about what just happened. What is your audience experiencing right now? Where are their minds? How does what happened make them feel or disrupt their worlds? Write that down. What can you say or create that will serve them? 2. Does what I say or do matter to them? Not all brands are created equal, true. There are some brands that don't have to say much of anything when tragedy strikes. But there's rarely a time when people are not looking for hope. What would your followers think if you said nothing? They might be looking to you to offer hope, voice and perspective. In this moment, does your voice matter? If connection matters, your voice probably does, too. 4. What does my audience need? Do I have any solutions to help them or to make their lives any better? You don't have to stop offering whatever you offer. But your offer should take into account what is happening in this moment. If you know your audience, then you should have an understanding of what they need. Does your audience need a pause from the noise? A friendly voice? A mental health break from the voice of a counselor? Do they need to get out for a breath of fresh air? A workout class to release the stress? Maybe they could use some hope in the form of positive encouragement or a class, or maybe even 60-minutes away from social media to watch a new show. Whatever the case might be, your audience needs something. Contextualize your offer for this moment. You might have exactly what they need for right now. I like this post from Matt Chandler - he’s the pastor of The Village Church in Dallas. He took to his Instagram page and did a quick 3-minute video from his kitchen counter to talk directly to his followers about what’s going on. He offered them voice, and context.
5. Is my planned content tone deaf or socially contextual? Timeliness is everything. If you’ve got automated content that might be insensitive to the time, or if you believe your brand should have said something by now, but you proceed with planned content before acknowledging the giant elephant in the room, hault production until you can say something that addresses your audience in a way that is contextual to the moment.
Your brand can be a part of the conversation while maintaining its identity. I like this post from Kevin Curry, @fitmencook on Instagram. With well over a million followers, Kevin took to the Gram and created an IG Live where he cooked and talked about stress eating, and how his followers can make better choices when they’re feeling overwhelmed.
Your people need to hear your voice. It might take some time to think about what to say and how to say it, but always remember that what you say does matter. Take some time to find the words that will impact your audience for good.
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