By Naim Maadad, Chief Executive & Founder – Gates Hospitality
With over 38 years in the hospitality world across Australia, Asia, & the Middle East in various senior management roles, Naim Maadad has launched & operated some of the world’s best Hotels, Resorts, Spas & Lifestyle Food & Beverage Concepts.
There is no doubt that during the challenging times of the Novel Coronavirus, social media has gained significant traction for individuals, communities and businesses to stay connected with others and be engaged even during the new norm of being socially distanced.
It is vital to stay in touch and well connected with your clients at their moment of duress and people always remember who was standing strong in their support and engaging them when they felt isolated the most. Brands that went out of their way to engage actively on social media platform are the ones that would be remembered well after the pandemic is over. The sincerity in giving back to the community would certainly be a winning factor for these brands.
Is there any focused guideline to be kept in mind whilst engaging in social media during such a time?
Well there certainly has to be a clear plan and one needs to be very clear of what message to convey and what areas to be avoided.
Given the reality of the existence of negative sentiments involving the pandemic situation, any topic which fuels negativity needs to be avoided. Also verify the genuineness of the message before deciding to share posts.
The quantum of misinformation and untruth spread over the social media platform, promoted a joint industry statement on COVID-19 was released from Microsoft, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube : We are working closely together on COVID-19 response efforts. We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in co-ordination with government healthcare agencies around the world. We invite other companies to join us as we work to keep our communities healthy and safe.
Let us now delve into what should be the focus areas for your brand engagement on social media during such challenging times.
5 Cs of engaging actively in Social Media
• Communicating – though there is every reason to disconnect on the social media platforms, brand presence and staying in touch, with positive and reassuring messaging is an absolute must. As this would not be promoting your product, the clear focus would be on giving it back to the community with videos on various topics by varied professionals. Such engagements would keep your supporters enthused as well as connected to the brand ethos.
• Creativity – Innovative and creative ideas should be the content of your social media posts. Whilst it may appear as if the doors seem shut but certainly it is not all gloom and doom – restaurants can offer vouchers to clients to buy now which may be redeemed at a later date when normalcy returns.
• Care – There is an absolute dearth of care, empathy and outreach in the times when everything normal for mankind seems to have turned upside down. Basic qualities of human beings should never be done away with. Care and attention need to be part of your brand ethos always and also to be the crux of your social media messaging. Be very generous and clearly send across the assuring message that you do genuinely care for them.
• CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility is the norm of businesses and their face of humanity vide their funding of humanitarian and charitable projects – basically looking after other human beings. How does your brand support people when things are not going great around you? It is the time for giving back and giving back with a generous heart and a clear mind.
• Consolidation – Every effort in these troubled times need to be consolidated to serve the common good. Ensure that your brand synergies are unitedly and consolidated well so as to bring in the betterment of your initiatives and reaches the target segment well.