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We Are Social | Do The Right Thing: The role of social in COVID-19

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As we navigate this new situation in real time, people are reaching out through social media for guidance, ideas, distraction and comfort.

We have been monitoring the impact of COVID-19, and the role social media can play across the world, across our Global network. From our offices in China and Italy, markets who are further ahead in the pandemic, we are given a glimpse at how consumers needs are changing and what to expect next.

Social has a significant role to play in helping brands to stay relevant and present in the life of their consumers. Now is a time to act, but also to plan ahead.

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We Are Social | Do The Right Thing: The role of social in COVID-19

  1. 1. DO THE RIGHT THINGTHE ROLE OF SOCIAL IN COVID -19
  2. 2. MORE PEOPLE ARE ON LOCKDOWN NOW THAN WERE ALIVE DURING WW2. As we navigate this new situation in real time, people are reaching out through social media for guidance, ideas, distraction and comfort. We have been monitoring the impact of COVID-19, and the role social media can play across the world, across our Global network. From our offices in China and Italy, markets who are further ahead in the pandemic, we are given a glimpse at how consumers’ needs are changing and what to expect next. Social has a significant role to play in helping brands to stay relevant and present in the life of their consumers. Now is a time to act, but also to plan ahead. 2 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  3. 3. What can you talk about? How will you make visuals? What about influencers? Tactical ways to make community- relevant content without appearing opportunistic. From the individual to the biggest brand we all have a role to play. Your social channels are your way to do your part. Communities will go on a journey through five clear stages. Find the role for your brand in each. 3 HIT reset Navigate the crisis Getting content right What next? A quickstart-mode checklist of what to do when you don’t know what to do. The situation is changing fast. Here are resources to help you stay on top of the situation in your industry sector. The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL Your community needs you
  4. 4. YOUR COMMUNITY NEEDS YOU 4 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  5. 5. “An obvious but often overlooked fact is that a disaster creates a new ‘community of sufferers’” DISASTERS AND MENTAL HEALTH: THERAPEUTIC PRINCIPLES DRAWN FROM DISASTER STUDIES, Charles E Fritz 1996 ------- 5 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  6. 6. Your community needs you All of a sudden our lifestyles have become digital. Some of us are spending every waking moment with each other - some seeing no-one. These scenarios are throwing up very specific needs. Communities are developing around those needs. Some existing, some new and some temporary. What’s clear is that although we are in isolation, now more than ever, what matters is community. This is a time for brands to do that thing all content strategies say we should do - this is a time to be human. 6 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL My Family My Community My Country My World
  7. 7. You need your community We don’t know how long the crisis will last, but we do know that brands that find a way to stay engaged with people during this period will come back stronger. • Continuing to engage with your community during a recession can help soften and shorten the downturn. • Focusing on your core customers and communities can make a critical difference both now and in the long term. 7 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL Time Growth Marketing can reduce the depth of the downturn Marketing can shorten the duration of the downturn “When spending drops, the companies focused on protecting and growing their most loyal, profitable customer segments often stabilise their businesses. They may even attract new customers, as competitors falter.” Bain “The Power of Consumer Loyalty in a Downturn” Source: https://www.socialbakers.com/blog/recession-marketing
  8. 8. What they’re telling us Key community observations and take-outs from the pandemic so far. 8 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL New (and temporary) communities are forming in social in response to specific real-life needs. Research communities to find the right opportunity Attitudes to advertising are polarised but globally only 28% of consumers are opposed to brands advertising at this time*. Adjust your paid media strategy to focus on emerging community needs Media spend is dropping but demand for content is up. Engagement with organic content is increasing. People are hungry for immediacy and authenticity. Revisit your always-on content strategy Communities are embracing new and emerging platforms like TikTok, live streams, AR, VR and group chats, such as Zoom, out of a need to feel connected. Experiment with emerging technologies and platforms Influencers are at the frontline of creating content that is timely and sensitive to community needs. They are producing content when brands can’t. Collaborate with influencers to produce content and help scale your brand activities *Source: GWI Coronavirus Research March 2020 Release 3 Multi-market research
  9. 9. listen act monitor The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  10. 10. iF YOU HAVE BUILT AN ONLINE COMMUNITY Social listening can help you get a real time read on what’s going on with your category, your customer and your brand. It can flag emerging issues and trends and identify opportunities to amplify. 10 listen • Tune in to what they are saying • Identify a need IF YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR OWN COMMUNITY • Look to wider conversations to find a community you can contribute to • Look to influencers in communities you can support The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  11. 11. 11 act The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL Luxury is now FMCG Retail is now TRADE Delivery is now fundraising Subscription is now free Sportsgrounds are now hospitals Segmenting your brand by category doesn’t necessarily make sense. You may need to think laterally about the community you can serve and how you can help them.
  12. 12. Monitor the conversation around your brand to take the temperature of your community and let you know how your actions are being interpreted. You may be able to build on your response. You may need to stop, clarify or change your content approach. 12 monitor UK Brewdog have had two comms hurdles. Firstly they had to clarify their product was free, not a marketing stunt, and secondly responding to questions that it was not fit for purpose. McDonald’s ‘socially-distanced’ arches failed to resonate and instead invited prominent criticism about sick-pay policy. The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  13. 13. We all have a role to play. What’s yours? 13 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  14. 14. Hit reset 14 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  15. 15. things to do right now 15 Tune in to what your community is talking about Look to your brand truths Set up a newsroom Be humble connect Set up alerts for your brand, get your community managers to feed back on conversations they’re seeing on your channels. Can your values help you find a way to reposition your communications in a relevant way to serve a community’s needs at this time? Start the day with a ten-minute review of what’s happened and how it impacts your brand. Is there something you can act on? Do you need to change or pull messaging? Now is neither the time to push sales nor to explicitly highlight the relevance of products and services to situations caused by the virus. Think of ways to connect people together, based on their common interests. Consider working with influencers as a trusted connection to a community. The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  16. 16. 16 Bolster community management on social media Adapt fast Review your tone of voice Be helpful Make a content plan Don’t be afraid to take a step back Take the strain off with extra community management time and related support content. Be clear, calm and consistent in messaging, but you don’t necessarily have to be serious or sombre. Be empathetic to your community’s need. If they usually look to you for distraction, keep things light. If a product or service is helpful make it easy to access and easy to use. Be calm and consistent in how you communicate with your community. Don’t gamify generosity with e.g: ‘We’ll donate $1 for every share of this post’ type ideas. Organic content is back. Take your lead from community conversations, do scenario planning, review your choice of platform, medium and publishing frequency. There is a lot going on. If you don’t have something to add, do your part by doing nothing Things are changing at a rapid pace, and will continue to change quickly. One night’s sensible message can sound like a mistake the next. Keep listening to the news and your community, assess if you should act and monitor reactions. The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  17. 17. Navigate the crisis 17 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  18. 18. new normal TAKE ACTION NOW BUT PLAN FOR THE LONGTERM There are five stages to a pandemic. Your audience will move through each of these stages and as they do their needs will change. Through listening, thoughtful content and careful monitoring you can find the authentic role for your brand to play at each stage. 18 reevaluateadjustmentanxietydenial crisis Post-crisis The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL Source: Canvas8 - Pandemic Culture
  19. 19. “...social life in the aftermath of disaster fulfils many of the essential human needs that are missing in the everyday life of modern societies” DISASTERS AND MENTAL HEALTH: THERAPEUTIC PRINCIPLES DRAWN FROM DISASTER STUDIES, Charles E Fritz 1996 ------- 19 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  20. 20. new normal COMMUNITIES HAVE CLEAR NEEDS AT EACH STAGE The five stages of the pandemic allow you to scenario plan, listen to communities, understand their conversations and create content to add value at each stage. What that content should be is influenced by the type of community you are relevant to and their specific need. 20 reevaluateadjustmentanxietydenial crisis Post-crisis Societal response community need Brand response Investigating & broadcasting information Authority Direction Responsibility Intervention Mobilizing resource & energy Clarity Security Generosity Solidarity Policing behaviour & mitigating fallout Support Entertainment Innovation Adaptation Identifying and applying long-term measures Reflection Recovery Hope Regeneration Assimilation of new and old behaviours The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL Source: Canvas8 - Pandemic Culture
  21. 21. 21 Determine your role The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL listen act monitor
  22. 22. STAGE 1: DENIAL 22 The role of social in covid-19 new normalreevaluateadjustmentanxietydenial To counter denial, communities need authoritative direction. Messaging needs to be clear, singular and consistent, eg #stayhomesavelives. There is a role for brands to intervene and take a responsible lead. USA @dudewithsign WE ARE SOCIAL
  23. 23. STAGE 1: DENIAL WHO’S DOING IT WELL 23 The role of social in covid-19 GLOBAL Instagram released a StayAtHome sticker in multiple languages, allowing communities to reinforce the message peer-to-peer. US Chiquita remove Miss Chiquita from their logo - ‘she’s social distancing at home’. GLOBAL Mobile phone operators including Vodafone and Orange S.A. use their brand space on customers’ smartphones to insert a ‘StayHome’ message. WE ARE SOCIAL
  24. 24. STAGE 1: DENIAL ROLE FOR CONTENT 24 The role of social in covid-19 Adapt creative to reflect life at home (don’t show social gatherings) and build in the key message. Appeal to the appropriate emotion of your community - eg: team spirit and pride. Use creativity to amplify civic campaigns in the right way on the right channels for a community Use calendar moments as opportunities to anchor and reinforce the message. WE ARE SOCIAL
  25. 25. STAGE 2: ANXIETY 25 The role of social in covid-19 new normalreevaluateadjustmentanxietydenial Communities will try to feel less helpless by mobilising efforts. Generosity and solidarity emerge as community traits as people look for security and clarity in the chaos. There is a role for brands to show solidarity with communities by being generous with their assets to maintain a degree of normality. UK Nurse Dawn Bilbrough’s tearful Facebook appeal to stop food hoarding goes viral highlighting the extraordinary pressures facing essential workers. WE ARE SOCIAL
  26. 26. “Disaster provides a form of societal shock, which disrupts habitual, institutionalized patterns of behavior and renders people amenable to social and personal change.” DISASTERS AND MENTAL HEALTH: THERAPEUTIC PRINCIPLES DRAWN FROM DISASTER STUDIES, Charles E Fritz 1996 ------- 26 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  27. 27. 27 The role of social in covid-19 STAGE 2: ANXIETY WHO’S DOING IT WELL UK Uber pledges free rides and food for NHS workers. Deliveroo pledges free food and adds a fundraising functionality to their app for communities to donate meals. italy Burger King shuts down all restaurants and gives away food to charities and NGOs. china Rather than lay off staff after enforced store closures, cosmetics company Lin Qingxuan retrained them as online influencers.
  28. 28. 28 The role of social in covid-19 STAGE 2: ANXIETY ROLE FOR CONTENT Support audiences who are new to technologies with ‘how-to’ content. Facilitate human connection Embrace new platforms if your communities are forming there. WE ARE SOCIAL
  29. 29. STAGE 3: ADJUSTMENT 29 The role of social in covid-19 new normalreevaluateadjustmentanxietydenial A period of rapid transition. In quarantine, people turn to existing communities and form specialised new communities, looking for inspiration and support. Entertainment becomes vital, to offset bleak news and new stresses. This stage offers the most opportunities for brand participation. Brands can play a role through content and by innovating and adapting their products and services to support the specific needs of communities. UK @hurrahforgin WE ARE SOCIAL
  30. 30. 30 The role of social in covid-19 STAGE 3: ADJUSTMENT WHO’S DOING IT WELL FRANCE Fashion brand, Sézane partner with Marie Robert of @philosophieissexy to give people free philosophy lessons via Instagram Live. UK LinkedIn gives influencer activist @mother_pukka a platform to offer advice to employees and employers impacted by the crisis, with an emphasis on working mothers. CHINA Online retailer, Tmall moved their annual offline shopping festival to an online experience. Luxury brands like Calvin Klein used live video, AR mirrors and VR stores to engage shoppers.
  31. 31. 31 The role of social in covid-19 STAGE 3: ADJUSTMENT WHO’S DOING IT WELL #2 US The Getty Museum in LA throws out a UGC contest to communities asking them to recreate famous works of art from its collection with household objects. spain When the live La Liga football match between FC Sevilla and Real Betis was cancelled it was played on FIFA 20, by a player from each team. The event was watched by 60,000 people on Twitch. AUSTRALIA Bud Light reinvents its #DiveBarTour with musician @jakeowenofficial as an online event, streaming gigs on Instagram Live.
  32. 32. 32 The role of social in covid-19 STAGE 3: ADJUSTMENT ROLE FOR CONTENT Do live streaming with lighthearted, inspiring or skill-building content. Work with influencers from particular communities to understand and support their specific needs. Use VR and AR technology to facilitate virtual experiences such as stores, galleries or clubs. Make the intangible tangible.WE ARE SOCIAL
  33. 33. STAGE 4: REEVALUATE 33 The role of social in covid-19 new normalreevaluateadjustmentanxietydenial As restrictions ease, communities will start to experience a period of reflection and recovery. Return to ‘normal’ will be gradual not rapid. Though markets who are in earlier stages are talking about rushing out to celebrate when quarantine is over, in reality this has not been the case. This will have an impact on how quickly brands can return to business as usual. In countries where quarantine has ended, people say they still feel anxious about mixing in public places. There is a role for brands to help spread a message of hope and to support the regeneration of communities offline. WE ARE SOCIAL
  34. 34. 34 The role of social in covid-19 STAGE 4: REEVALUATE WHO’S DOING IT WELL china As cities ‘recover’ stores begin to open but customers are anxious to go far from home, The Baidu App helps users find stores nearby and gives up-to-the minute opening information, so they can minimise their time out of the house. china This collaboration between sportswear brand FILA and video creator Kong Wei uses UGC collected from 193 couples meeting to make an uplifting film about meeting loved ones in person. ITALY Iconic tyre manufacturer brand, Pirelli, release a message-of-hope film saying ‘when this is over we will hit the road again together.’
  35. 35. 35 The role of social in covid-19 STAGE 4: REEVALUATE role for content Be empathetic. People will be anxious about returning to social situations. Communicate how you will support customers and staff. Be helpful. Offer utility to help people readjust and encourage them to start using services again. Be optimistic. There is likely to be a second spike of fear as people return to the outside world. Communities will benefit from messages of hope. WE ARE SOCIAL
  36. 36. STAGE 5: NEW NORMAL 36 The role of social in covid-19 new normalreevaluateadjustmentanxietydenial Communities and brands will start to assimilate old and new behaviours CANADA WE ARE SOCIAL
  37. 37. 37 The role of social in covid-19 STAGE 5. NEW NORMAL Thought starters It’s easy to get caught up in reacting to the current situation of the crisis you find yourselves in. However it’s important for brands to start planning now for potential future outcomes based on historical learnings from previous global crises. What we know for sure is the consumer landscape will be very different in the future. Brands that start planning now will emerge stronger. What new and lasting innovations can you expect in your marketplace? How will new community groups formed during the crisis, and greater integration of society impact how you understand and connect with your audience? How can you prepare for the new values and norms emerging from this period as people reassess what matters in life? Which of the new behaviours that have emerged will persist post-crisis? WE ARE SOCIAL
  38. 38. Getting content right 38 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  39. 39. How do we avoid looking opportunistic? 39 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL Do we go dark? No. Brands that stay active and relevant will be the ones that emerge strongest when the crisis has passed. Community needs show us there is a large demand for support and content from brands if it’s done the right way. Do we mention Covid-19? You should allude to the situation. Not making reference to it all comes across as tone-deaf and has gone down poorly with communities. But don’t explicitly call out the pandemic as a great reason to try your brand. Say: “If you’re looking for a new boxset to get into, you might like Narcos.” Not: “Since you’re on lockdown, why not get into Narcos?” Can we still run paid media? Don’t be afraid of paid media but do be mindful of how you use it. Don’t use opportunistic targeting eg geotargeting around hospitals with hand sanitiser. Adjust messaging and CTAs on content to non-physical actions. Eg sign up online, or register for call-back. Test new channels that might be more cost effective.
  40. 40. 40 The role of social in covid-19 Where do I even start with content? Demand for content is increasing in these six key content territories. Tactically plotting these against the appropriate brand response can help you identify where your brand has a role and acts as a thought starter for content and creative ideas. Connection & Community Productivity & Continuity Knowledge & Learning Exercise & Wellbeing Entertainment Inspiration & Projects Responsibility Solidarity Generosity Innovation Adaption Hope Regeneration Key content territories denialanxietyadjustmentreevaluate WE ARE SOCIAL ITALY Burger King USA Chipotle Closing stores / donate to NGO CHINA Tmall Free product and celebrity engagement Make offline events online
  41. 41. WHY ARE INFLUENCERS IMPORTANT? 41 The role of social in covid-19 Influencers are at the forefront of engaging with communities at every stage of the crisis. They can provide brands with an insight into the changing needs of their audience, authenticity and a way to create content to meet increased demand. reevaluateadjustmentanxietydenial UAE Influencers work together and make #Abiding_nation the No.1 trending hashtag US Gaming collective FaZeClan launch weekly global gaming tournament - raise $46,000 for those affected by COVID-19. CANADA Club Quarantine brings offline club culture online offering a global safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. UK @thebodycoach streams live daily exercise classes on YouTube. Reaches 13m viewers and raises £80k for the NHS. UK To support parents struggling with homeschooling, creators offer daily classes via Instagram Live. @frank_cottrell_boyce teaches creative writing and @emma_scottchild teaches art. WE ARE SOCIAL
  42. 42. HOW SHOULD I WORK WITH INFLUENCERS? We spoke to influencers around the world to understand how the crisis has impacted them. This is what we’ve learnt about how brands should be working with them at this time. 42 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL People are looking to live content for intimacy with real people and personalities. Use influencers to experiment with new formats and drive scale. Since the crisis started to unfold, most influencers have been engaging regularly with their audiences via Q&As and direct messages. Use them to gain real-time insight into what audiences want. Most influencers have already adapted their content to the current situation. Pay attention to what they’re already doing and offer to sponsor it or support. Given new content needs, many have diversified beyond their usual content pillars. Look beyond your usual roster of influencers for relevant partnership opportunities. Given how quickly the situation is changing, many influencers are having to adapt agreed branded content. Be collaborative in briefings to ensure tone + outcome in such a sensitive landscape. Creators have more time, than usual, and many are finding that their creativity is thriving as a result. Use the time and creativity creators have to think bigger than single-post product placements.
  43. 43. HOW ELSE CAN WE PRODUCE CREATIVE? 43 The role of social in covid 19 WE ARE SOCIAL UGC DESIGN, SOUND, AR, VR CREATORS WITH HOME STUDIOS visit the archive Engage the community in the project with you and develop the creative with their content. Animation, podcasts, audio clips, typography and motion graphics are accessible options. Building AR and VR makes experiences immersive. Products can be sent to photographers with home studios. Find new ways to repackage assets you already have in short video or content series.
  44. 44. WHAT ABOUT COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT? Empower your Community Managers and give them broader social listening tools. They are the front line between your brand and your community. They will help protect the brand by responding quickly to enquiries. They can also tell you what the community needs are in real time. Social channels can support businesses who have shut their doors or who find their other customer service channels overwhelmed. If you have amended your tone of voice it is essential that the whole CM team are trained in the new changes. If you are seeing a lot of the same enquiries coming up, consider making an FAQ content series. You can direct customers to this content, easing the strain on customer service staff. The situation in every country is changing quickly so ongoing monitoring is essential. Make sure you have an escalation plan in place and that your community managers are familiar with what to do in case of developments on your channels or in the news. 44 The role of social in covid-19 listen act monitor It’s more important than ever to keep customers and communities engaged during the period that direct contact is being restricted. UPWEIGHT COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT TIME KNOW YOUR TOv & YOUR FAQS HAVE AN ESCALATION PLAN IN PLACE WE ARE SOCIAL
  45. 45. The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL recap Communities are telling us they need brands right now Define your role at each stage of the pandemic Upweight community management to support consumers and customer service Use always on content to stay relevant and top of mind Be innovative with creative Work with influencers for authenticity in communities Set up brand trackers and listen to conversations in communities listen act monitor
  46. 46. What next? 46 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  47. 47. As the crisis unfolds we are helping brands keep pace with our new weekly “in Lockdown” content series examining how Covid-19 is impacting different industry sectors. So far we have published: In Lockdown: A World Without Sports, an IG Live series Creators in Crisis looking at what brands can learn from the changes Influencers are already seeing from their communities and “In Lockdown: The Show Must Go On” which is looking at the impact of the crisis on entertainment. Future topics currently in research include impact of COVID-19 on dating, the self employed & the gig economy, FMCG & food, alcohol and technology & communications. Subscribe to our blog to be kept up to date on the new research findings. 47 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL
  48. 48. For help with your brand response in social during this crisis please contact your local We Are Social office. 48 The role of social in covid-19 WE ARE SOCIAL We Are Social TORONTO letschat@wearesocial.com NEW YORK Letstalk@wearesocial.com MADRID Hablemos@wearesocial.net LONDON Talktous@wearesocial.net PARIS conversation@wearesocial.fr MILAN parlaconnoi@wearesocial.it MUNICH/BERLIN sprichmituns@wearesocial.de DUBAI hello@socialize.ae SINGAPORE sayhello@wearesocial.sg HONG KONG talktous@wearesocial.hk SHANGHAI talktous@wearesocial.cn BEIJING talktous@wearesocial.cn TOKYO hello@wearesocial.jp SYDNEY lets.chat@wearesocial.com.au
  49. 49. 49 The role of social in covid-19 Thank you

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