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How to Adjust Your Social Media Tone in Times of Crisis

Shelby Bake

Social Media Specialist

We don’t have to tell you that things are a little topsy-turvy in the world right now. For business owners and marketing professionals, COVID-19 has touched nearly every part of our work lives. That includes our social media marketing presences, of course.

Social media is one of the methods by which we most frequently connect one-to-one with our customers, partners, and employees. And, as we adjust to our new business environment, our approach to social media must change, too.

But, how should your brand handle social media right now? Should your brand voice, style, and tone change? What kinds of things should you be sharing? Get the answers to these questions and more below.

What is Brand Voice, Tone, and Style?

The experts at the University of Maryland (UMUC) define these pieces as follows:

  • Voice is who your readers hear talking; the unique worldview of the author
  • Tone is the way in which you write; the attitude with which you write; may convey feelings of formality, helpfulness, authenticity, etc.
  • Style is the mechanical or technical aspects of writing that are specific to the subject, type of content piece, and more

How Should My Brand Voice, Tone, and Style Change in Times of Crisis?

While your tone should almost certainly change (more on that below), your voice should remain consistent to your brand.

For instance, let’s say your usual voice is that of a down-to-earth, local business that’s committed to its customers. Additionally, your typical tone runs the gamut from clever and funny to serious. Your tone should always adapt to the current environment, but your core voice should stay consistent. Style, of course, should align with whatever piece you’re writing. If it’s a LinkedIn post, your style should suit that channel.

Element’s General Rules of Social Media Engagement During COVID-19

Our agency’s social media team follows this set of rules during sensitive times. Whether you’re sharing an update on your business practices during COVID-19, or even sharing information about a sick employee, do the following:

  • Respond as quickly as possible to offer comfort and maintain trust
  • Acknowledge the issue as it pertains to your business
  • Express empathy for the issue
  • Provide a solution for the issue (i.e., if your company is suspending factory operations, provide reassurance that your sales team is still reachable via email)
  • Reinforce your values as a company

How to Adapt Your Tone While Staying True to Your Brand Voice

Let’s go through an example.

dos and donts of social voice during crisis

Real-World Examples: Brands Adapting Their Tone to the Times

These very different brands are approaching our new environment with strong tones that align with their brand voices.

Have more questions?

You can email our PR director, Tara, directly at tara@goelement.com. We’re here to help you! Before you leave, check out our most recent, super-timely #PRbriefs: