Social Media Messaging Tips For Navigating a Crisis
The Coronavirus or COVID-19 has swept the country, bringing most non-essential businesses to a halt. In times like these, it is challenging for a political candidate to conduct outreach, fundraising, or host any meetings with constituents.
For political candidates, especially if you’re opposing an incumbent, your crisis communication is important. And getting your message out quickly and accurately is crucial.
In a crisis situation, such as a pandemic, information is flowing very fast. Sorting out the facts from rumors can be equally challenging.
Faster than it will take you to read this sentence, the social media landscape is changing. Every 45 milliseconds, someone is posting about the #coronavirus.
We are in a moment of social distancing and yearning for interaction and communication. In times like these, people are looking for guidance, information, and comfort.
But what should you say? More importantly, what shouldn’t you say?
Reach Voters has written this article to provide some insight to help you guide your messaging direction during this challenging time.
Here are some tips to walk you through what your campaign needs to do during these unprecedented times.
Tip #1: This is not an opportunity to “campaign”
Social media has always been a powerful tool for connecting with the community, but now more than ever, people are turning to social media for a sense of community and stability.
People want to know things are going to be okay. They want reliable information they can trust.
They want to connect and interact. This is the time to show how you are part of the community and what you can contribute to society.
Providing valuable information and solutions in a time of need is the most important thing you and your team can do right now for political campaign outreach.
Tip #2: Keep Up to Date
Relevance is key. Stay up to date with what is going on in the world and understand how it impacts your community.
Something relevant yesterday might be seen as insensitive today.
Keep an especially close eye on your scheduled posts, and edit or delete them as needed as new information comes in.
Generally speaking, it might also be a good idea to pull back on posting too much. So people can focus on what matters.
If you post too frequently, there’s a chance you may appear out of touch.
Listen to your audience. Paying attention to their responses can reveal opportunities and insights on what matters most to them.
Also, this might be a great time to try out your Instagram Stories or create a video series if you have some extra time. Talking directly to your followers is a great way to connect and establish trust.
Tip #3: It’s About the Voter. How Can You Help?
Campaigns are about the voter, not the candidate. In a crisis, people look for leadership, guidance, and help. They want reassurance.
Remember that you may have followers with loved ones suffering from the virus, so make sure you are using the right tone in your messaging. Avoid sarcasm, and don’t argue with anyone who comments on your posts.
Ideas for helpful messaging :
- Make sure you focus on the voter’s needs
- Let your followers know what you are doing to help
- Provide useful information on health care and updates on local services
- If you post updates about the virus, make sure they are from an official source such as the CDC.
- Always respond to your followers.
Have Questions About Social Media Messaging and Political Campaign Outreach in a Crisis?
- “Coronavirus Disease 2019 – CDC.” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. Accessed 30 Apr. 2020.