These are uncertain times, there's no denying. The supermarket is baren, the schools are closed, the pubs are closed, the restaurants are closed, shows are cancelled and smaller shops are closing their doors one by one, some perhaps for the last time.
If you've found yourself in this troubling place you may be wondering what you can do to make the return to normality as positive as possible. So here are some tips to help.
1. Tick-over content
Almost every social media platform has moved away from chronological models and has moved to more complex algorithms and a lot of them reward consistency. You need to keep posting to maintain your position in people's news feeds but when you aren't at work it can be a bit more difficult. This is a great time to do throwbacks, question and answers, polls, and all kinds of things that are out of your norm (but not too far out of your norm, you don't want to lose your audience). Take a look back at old photos and repost things where suitable. And if you're lucky enough to have audience members send images to you or engage in other ways, use it.
2. Don't waste high-value content
If you're organised enough to have content planned out weeks in advance, now is the time to look at it again. Don't waste anything that could be helpful when things get back to normal. For instance, if you're a restaurant that's had a great review, now probably isn't the best time to brag about it because you aren't able to take bookings right now but it could be valuable when things get back to normal.
3. Plan for your return
These are uncertain times, it's hard to say when everything will be back to normal but don't run the risk of being unprepared when they do. Who knows, it could all be over sooner than you think and believe me, social media is going to be very crowded with re-opening content. You need to think pragmatically, don't be last with the least eye-catching content. Work out what your return message is now. Right now. Create the content and get it saved as a draft ready to go as soon as the situation becomes clearer.
4. Get to know what tools you have available to you.
Honestly, how familiar are you with Facebook Business Manager? Instagram Insights? Hootsuite? Mail chimp? Analytics? Bit.ly? There are loads of tools available to you and they can really help you but the more in-depth tools can take a bit of getting used to (Facebook Business Manager can be a nightmare to the uninitiated). A few hours of diligent learning from a wealth of resources online and you could dominate your reach when it matters most.
5. Gather Data
Never has there been a more opportune moment to ask your audience questions. Most of them are probably at home, either losing the will to live trying to keep their children entertained or running out of things to binge-watch. All of us could do with a little distraction right now and everyone is more mindful than ever of the importance of supporting the independent businesses to make sure they're still around when the human race finally re-emerges.
Put surveys together, test out new content ideas, ask questions! It's a good opportunity to put high-engaging content out without wasting anything too valuable if you aren't able to actually provide your service right now and you can find out just what your existing audience or people in your local area are most in need of so that you're ahead of the game when the world reboots.
And that's it!
This could be the silver lining to a lot of businesses now, a real uninterrupted chance to bring their social media game up to the mark. If you're not sure where to start in all this, I'd recommend getting to know your tools as priority number one.
Audience building could be easier than ever too. People are stuck at home, they're bored, they want stuff they can enjoy. Use the tools you have to give the people what they want! Social media is like a kitchen, the microwave is great but you can cook up a storm when you're familiar with everything else around you. This is a very bizarre time for us all but seize the opportunities that appear and it might make the transition back to reality a little bit easier.
I hope you're all doing well and are safe, remember this will all be over much sooner if we pull together and do what is asked of us by health specialists.
Good luck, everyone!