I get questions.
I get a lot of questions about social media etiquette, mostly. What's ok, and what's not ok. Today, I got a question from a friend about her personal brand she's currently developing.
There was a sense of overwhelm and frustration at the social media posts she's developed for the month, and that they no longer seem applicable, appropriate, or relevant. She wanted to stop and rethink her strategy.
I've gotten similar questions this week from friends, family members, and contacts all over the US.
What's ok to post?
What SHOULD I post?
Should I pause my social media feeds?
I gave her an exercise that's often helpful in these situations: to identify her brand's values.
Brand values can be a compass, guiding your messaging and content strategies across social media channels. They can also be an anchor when things seem to be changing rapidly.
Brand values help you answer the question, "Ok, so now what?" in times like these.
Most of us in marketing and communications know we need to pivot right now. The most successful companies at switching up their posts or messaging are the ones most secure in their brand's values.
They live it and embody those values. It's truth for them.
The people and brands who seem to be getting a lot of flack for their social media posts or digital communications, however, are free-wheeling it.
There's no structure, no anchor, no compass. There's no strategy. No thought behind why they're even on social media.
Whether you're a person, small business, or large corporation, you must know who you are and what you stand for. You must be able to articulate your values and communicate them across channels.
It's times like these that remind us why having a strategy in place is so important. Social media has a spotlight on it right now; there's little room for error.
So in terms of answering these questions, here's where I stand:
What's ok to post? Simple: what are your values. Stick to those as closely as possible. Mine are enthusiasm (which is honestly tough to show during these times), generosity, encouragement, and humor. I like being someone who takes some of the heaviness out of social media by being helpful or funny. I'm sticking close to that right now.
What SHOULD I post? People are information-hungry at this point. Be direct, open, and honest – but douse all of that in empathy. You don't know how this time in our history directly impacts the individuals who make up your audience. A little bit of mindfulness goes a long way: so post with that in mind.
Should I pause my social media feeds? This is where my experience comes in handy. I have a pretty strong gut reaction to things like this. You've got to read the room. Don't set it and forget it. Actually log in to the channels where you're posting and see what people are sharing and saying. If your content doesn't align with the mood, then pause for now, or scale back.
Social media is in a weird place right now. The rulebook no longer applies in many cases.
But it's during these confusing times that people, companies, and brands are sticking with their values more than ever. If those values are absent, it's felt and seen by people who follow you. So do them a favor, and know what you stand for.