Until about 14 years ago, it was hard to imagine how anyone can make an impact with written sentiments that are less than 280 characters. Pre-social media, that would have been equivalent to changing the world with quick scribbles on a post it. But along came Twitter, and in the last decade, it has shown the world that sometimes, short and sweet is the way to go.

Brands caught on pretty quickly, discovering the power of minuscule versions of long and winding press releases, Millenials with a short attention span, and a 10mbps broadband speed. Since then, Twitter has been the tool that powered many marketing and advertising campaigns and all forms of brand communication.

As 2020 ushered in one crisis after another, Twitter has become the steady source of useful information, flashes of inspiration, and a goldmine of witty tweets and memes that helped everyone cope with all the crazy real-world misadventures.

Now, with #COVID19PH and #Luzonlockdown taking center stage, you as a brand, can use Twitter to effectively send your message across to both customers and employees一the very people you need to be talking to at a time when they need to hear your voice the most. And while it’s important that you understand that this is not a marketing opportunity, it is the best time to meaningfully engage and connect with your customers, employees, and the broader ecosystem. You just have to find the right approach. Here are some key pieces of advice to help you navigate through this crisis through effective messaging.

What’s Appropriate for My Brand Right Now?

01: Know your brand

Understand the role your product or service plays in people’s lives. With the current enhanced quarantine situation, that may have changed a lot. Consider these changes and look for opportunities to help and be useful, and inspire others to do the right thing.

02: Keep up to date with what’s happening

The whole #coronavirus scenario is developing fast across the globe, and there’s always new information and data coming out multiple times a day. You need to closely keep up and keep watch as the crisis unfolds, and be sure to consider the context before replying or broadcasting. It’s also important to note that sometimes it’s better not to say anything at all.

03: Be thoughtful about tone of voice

How do you get this right? The best way is by listening to what your Filipino audience and your customers are saying, and reflecting that in your copy and tone appropriately. For instance, right now might not be the best time to tweet snarky or sarcastic remarks. Be sensitive to your audience’s sentiments and emotions, and work your message around that.

05: Anticipate changes in your customer’s behavior

The enhanced quarantine and social distancing protocols will trigger a number of behavior changes that might impact your customers’ needs, as well as how they interact with your business. Be creative and think in advance about how you can serve them by making adjustments to your offers.

What Might People Need Right Now?

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the way people live across the globe, and as a brand, you need to understand what things they are seeking out during this time, when all they have is the internet (and perhaps a lot of idle time). Here are some of the things that may be relevant and important to your audience right now, and the content that brands have been building around them.

01: Accurate and Reliable Information

Now, more than ever, people are looking for credible information as they try to make sense of what’s happening and ease their worries by making sure they are prepared and equipped for whatever’s coming. We’ve seen that verified people on Twitter are about 2.4X more likely to participate in COVID-19 conversations than non-verified people, and 75% of COVID-19 related Tweets are actually Retweets. In other words, the primary method of sharing information during a time of crisis is through Retweeting.

If you have useful and reliable information that might help people navigate the uncertainty, or keep them calm, you should share it. Posting educational content such as a how-to’s, infographics, and guides to coping with the viral outbreak might be a good idea. A good example of this is an illustrated guide on how to hand rub and hand wash shared by Watsons Philippines via their Twitter account.

Presenting factual content in easy-to-digest formats and simple language is also a winner. Not only does it educate your audience, it also helps build your brand’s authority.

Take a look at SunLife’s animated video debunking the many myths about the COVID-19 virus. Practical advice about a related topic that many may not have considered also makes for interesting content. For instance, Vivo Philippines shared an article about how to keep your gadgets clean and virus free.

Customer Service and Support

Thanks to the digital age, it’s become easier to communicate with your customers. Twitter is a great medium that you can use to reach out to your customers and address issues real-time and provide immediate support.

Posts about store closures or store hours are useful for your customers and helps build trust. In response to the enhanced community quarantine, Starbucks posted a notice that it will stop operations across their Luzon branches, while SM Supermalls announced an adjustment to their store hours to keep everyone safe.

Since a lot of people are forced to #stayhome and are probably running out of things to do, your customers might appreciate creative ideas that will help them get through this weeks-long house arrest. got this one covered.

Making life easier for customers is also another way that you as a brand can show your concern. Providing ready answers to frequently asked questions about your products or services can build brand loyalty. For example, Lazada tweeted a series of FAQs in colorful social media cards.

Partnering with government agencies, on the other hand, is one way to show brand authority, as seen in this tweet by Smart about important contact information and emergency COVID-19 hotlines.

Distraction & Levity

Amidst all the terrifying news and the devastating impact the coronavirus has on people’s lives, everyone could definitely use a little cheering up and a much-needed break. If it makes sense for your brand, provide some light entertainment to distract people from their worries even for a bit. Just be sure not to seem insensitive or tone-deaf with your copy.

Just look at these very timely social distancing and work from home tweets from Jollibee and Bench:

Community and Positivity

Sharing positive and heartwarming news about solidarity and people’s kindness towards each other amidst chaos is effective in lifting spirits and capturing people’s attention, when delivered in an appropriate and timely manner.

Tweet socially relevant messages that build a sense of oneness with the community. Giving voice to a popular opinion builds brand engagement and brings your community on Twitter together in a positive way. A good example of this is posting messages of thanks to COVID-19 frontliners for their selfless service, like these tweets by Grab, PLDT, and Zonrox.

It is during times like this, more than ever, when your customers need to hear what you have to say–to assure them that they’re not alone and that you know exactly what they’re going through. To ease their worries by getting your message across effectively. Right now, your audience is seeking answers on social media; and Twitter is proving to be the perfect space to communicate with them. Don’t leave them hanging.

Discover more ways to use Twitter to your brand’s advantage by getting in touch with our client partners through twitterph@mediadonuts.

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