Tech Marketers: Here's What NOT to Post on Social Media During a Crisis

Self-isolation and social media go together like peanut butter and jelly…and you’ve probably got a lot of both stockpiled in your house nowadays. 

If you’re like most Americans, you’re spending several hours a day getting lost in an endless stream of news updates and witty coronavirus memes. You’ve likely also seen some cringe-worthy posts from different brands who haven’t quite mastered how to communicate on social media during a crisis. (For example, please don’t refer to it as the “Chinese virus.” Ugh.)

As a smart tech marketer, you’re probably wondering “how exactly do I continue to communicate on social media during this pandemic without coming off as tacky?” Well, we’ve got answers…

 

Don’t be overly positive.

The current situation suuucks. Yes, we will get through it eventually. But the reality is sales are down, budgets are cut and people are getting laid off. Don’t be that annoying person who posts multiple times a day about turning lemons into lemonade. No need to be Debbie Downer, of course, but Susie Sunshine is equally as bad.


Bad example:
We’re all in this together…the future WILL be bright…and our software can help you get there!!! #positivethinking #inthistogether #lifeisgood #sunnydaysahead


Instead, acknowledge the reality of the situation in an empathetic manner, trying to be helpful whenever possible. 


Better example:
These are uncertain times…we get it. To support our customers during the difficult days ahead, we’re unlocking many of our premium modules for new and current users over the next three months.

 

Don’t abandon your brand voice.

Just because this is a serious period in history doesn’t mean your tech brand needs to be super formal in its communications. You’ve probably received dozens of cookie-cutter messages from all sorts of brands talking about how often they wash their hands and how much they’re coming together as an organization…do you really care? Didn’t think so.


Bad example:
At Alpha Tech, we’re committed to the health and safety of our team members and customers. Read more in our official letter about steps we’re taking in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Instead, continue to communicate in the same voice and tone that you did earlier in the year. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room, but do it in a way that’s authentic to your tech brand. And yes, a bit of humor is okay.


Better example:
Working remotely? Check. Washing hands regularly? Check. Eating a whole bag of chips before lunch? Uh, check. Sounds like we’re all set to continue our top-notch technical support even when our building is closed.

 

Don’t ignore the crisis. 

It’s not business as usual anymore, so odds are all of your pre-scheduled social posts are no longer applicable. At best, they can make your tech company seem irrelevant. At worst, you could come off as totally insensitive and tone-deaf. 

Take the time NOW to adjust your content calendar…and be sure to always ask “does my audience care about this topic right now” before sending out any new messages. (Hint: no one has the attention span to read that long-form content you wrote last month.)


Bad example:
Our newest e-book outlines the 9,257 ways that our super expensive technology solution can improve your processes. ← Okay, obviously that wouldn’t be a real social post, but you get the idea…


Instead, focus on short-form content that’s helpful, relevant and easy-to-digest.


Better example:
Need a three-minute distraction from coronavirus updates? Our newest blog post gives you five easy cybersecurity tips to keep yourself safe when working from home

 

But also don’t exploit the crisis.

On the flip side, don’t use the current situation to induce panic and sell your product. 


Bad example:
Prevent your business from going bankrupt during coronavirus by signing up for our custom cloud solutions before it’s too late.


Instead, remember the motto “always be helping.” By establishing yourself as a thought leader during this pandemic, your tech company will emerge on the other side stronger than your competitors.


Better example:
Custom cloud is clearly a hot topic nowadays. But we’ve been developing secure solutions for over a decade. To learn more about what to look for in a cloud service provider, check out this blog.

 

Don’t go dark.

If your social audience is used to hearing from your tech company on a regular basis, now is not the time to scale back. People will perceive no communication as an indicator that your organization is in trouble, not just taking a breather from social media.


Bad example:
…crickets…


Instead, now is actually the best time to get higher engagement on social media since people are spending way more time on the platforms they were already addicted to pre-pandemic. 

Putting some paid spend behind your posts is also a good idea: research from influencer agency Obviously showed a “22 percent increase in Instagram campaign impressions from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020 and a 27 percent jump in engagement on TikTok from February to March.”

 

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At the end of the day, it really just comes down to common sense. If you’d be bored or offended by your post if it was coming from another brand, then don’t send it. If you’d be entertained or informed, go ahead and post. Don’t be afraid to continue to communicate on social media during hard times…it really is the best time to establish thought leadership and gain a competitive advantage.

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