Business Communicating with your audience during COVID-19

Let’s face it, now is the time to be communicating with your audience more than ever. But on social media, it’s a matter of adapting and evolving the content you share to appeal to the tone of the times we are in. Staying connected is now more important than ever, with people and businesses relying on social media to stay in touch with friends, consume the news, and be entertained.

In fact, Facebook and Instagram have seen a 40% increase in usage due to Covid-19, with views for Instagram Live and Facebook Live doubling in one week… that’s crazy!! But just because people are spending more time on social media doesn’t mean its business-as-usual. You need to be sensitive to the situation the world is currently in, and then adjust your content from a sales standpoint and one of direct marketing, and turn your focus to content marketing, and providing huge amounts of value for your audience.

As Instagram expert Jenna Kutcher said, “this is not the season to be quiet, this is the season to communicate.”

You can’t afford to stop marketing or selling, and that includes posting content to your social media platforms.

Let’s discuss the appropriate ways to communicate on social media during COVID-19:

1. Listen & Acknowledge

It’s perfectly fine to address the virus on your pages, but don’t dwell on it. If you ignore COVID-19 or just pretend like everything is normal can come across as inauthentic at best, and tone-deaf and insensitive at worst. Let your followers know that you’re listening and acknowledge our new normal. If not, you could be faced with some backlash.

Celebrity & business owner Kristin Cavallari did a good job of explaining why she was promoting a sale for her jewellery brand Uncommon James, by simply stating on her Instagram Stories that she has 100 employees and will do everything she can to help them keep their jobs, which means promoting her sale on Instagram.

2. Keep Posting

It is far from the perfect time to be giving up, especially when it comes to marketing your business online. People have more time than ever now, and are spending a lot of time reading, watching and listening. You need to stay connected to your audience and connect with them on a level that doesn’t require you to be sales-y, but in a way that builds trust and engagement with them.

If you’re unable to market or sell your products or services right now, focus on sharing content that aligns with your brand values instead. Share posts that are value-driven, educational and entertaining, that will, in turn, provide a positive distraction from the constant stream of negative news in their feeds.

Many fashion brands, for example, have closed their shopfronts nationwide, but are shifting their social media content to promote loungewear, or products of comfort as well as sharing captions about ‘daydreaming’ and ‘#isooutfits’. This allows brand to continue posting consistently, stay relevant to what’s happening in the world, without the need for being directly sales-y.

3. Be empathetic

Covid-19 is affecting everyone around the world, in incredibly different ways. Remember to think outside of your own situation, have empathy for your followers, & offer compassion. With this mind, think twice before posting memes!

You don’t have to mention Covid-19 explicitly in all your content, but do take into consideration the tone of your captions and how it could be interpreted by people facing a different reality than you might be in.

Remember that some of your followers have lost their jobs, are caring for a loved one, trying to work at home with a toddler, might be sick themselves, etc.

4. Provide organic value

I know, I tend to go on and on about value, but in a time where funds are low for most of your followers, there’s never been a better time than now to share organic value with your audience.

Focus on engagement first, instead of driving traffic, by providing extra education and entertainment through videos, carousel posts, or captions – instead of constantly asking to swipe up or click the link in your bio.

Use these value posts to organically target and discuss situations your audience may be going through. A lot of people have had to set up offices from home, and for the first time in a long time, or even ever, they are experiencing the juggle of working from home.

Case Study

Fashion label, Revolve, is well known for their campaign #RevolveAroundtheWorld, and with COVID-19 they have introduced #RevolveAroundtheHouse, turning their Instagram account from an Insta-worthy fashion feed to the hottest destination for stay at home lifestyle content. They are sharing Instagram live workouts with top influencers, smoothie bowl recipes on IGTV from foodies, and Instagram Stories takeovers with big names in fashion and lifestyle.

Amongst all of this, remember one thing: this is uncharted territory for everyone. No one (including me) is an expert in what you should be posting on social media. So while we can’t offer you tried-and-tested strategies for marketing your business through this challenging time, you can use these tips to experiment with your content, with the hope of better understanding what your audience best connects with during these uncertain times, and help you to better think through your posts and make decisions as the crisis evolves.

This was written by ShireWomen Business Member Jess Cook from Socially Squared. You can contact her at