Social Media and COVID-19: Keeping Followers Engaged and Informed from a Distance
By Dave McDonald, Assistant Director of Social Media
It all happened so quickly. One moment we’re sitting in our offices planning another exciting semester of social content. Then before we knew it, events were being canceled, students were being sent home, and Zoom became a part of our everyday lives. COVID-19 has caused so many of us to make sharp pivots in our daily routines. However, for the social media managers of the world, our workflow hasn’t changed much, but the content certainly has. Within a week’s time our social channels, once home to fun, pithy, and informative content became outlets for crisis management. Over time, as quarantining became the norm, the story changed again, to creating content that appealed to the new normal we’ve had to accept in order to stay safe and healthy.
Here’s how we’ve been keeping our followers engaged and informed while social distancing:
Social-first COVID-19 Announcements and Response:
Earlier in March, as the virus continued to spread and organizations began to shift how they conduct business, our followers’ eyes were glued to our social feeds waiting for BU to make their next move. With this in mind, we decided that all major announcements would be announced across all our social feeds. This included sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Instagram Stories, and Linkedin when appropriate. All posts included the most important information from each announcement with links to an article to read more. Bullet points were used whenever possible to make each point clear and concise. See examples from one of our major announcements below:
Example Facebook Post:
Example Instagram Post:
In recognition of the way this semester has unfolded in the shadow of the COVID-19, Boston…
Example Instagram Story:
As the situation progressed, a COVID-19 Information website was formed to host FAQsto the rapid flow of questions and new information coming in. As inquiries continued to roll in on social, our team responded as fast as possible, always ending each response with a link back to the information website or BU Today news article to learn more.
Student life changed. Our videos followed suit:
With students transitioning from dorm life to home life, and classes moving online, our tactic for videos had to fit the current state affairs. To no surprise, like everything else, our talented video editors used Zoom to create new, snackable stories for our social feeds. Videos include interviews with professors about the transition to remote teaching, friends discussing life at home, vloggers chatting about staying busy while quarantining, and words of encouragement from BU’s faculty and staff. Watch some of our examples below and check out all of our most recent videos on our YouTube channel.
Video: Remote Teaching and Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Chemistry 102
Video: Students Recap First Week of Remote Learning and Living in Zoom Virtual Roundtable
Video: Even Apart, We’re Still Terrier Nation
It’s the little things that count:
As the lockdown continues, our followers are looking for any distraction to ward off boredom. Keeping this in mind, we made some small changes to our Instagram stories to help keep our followers stimulated during these weird times. On Mondays, we typically would feature our in-person events, but because of COVID-19, we changed this slightly to include online events.
Inspired by the push-up challenge, on Thursdays, we introduced our new “T@G You’re It!” series, a new weekly challenge, encouraging our followers to answer a question, then tag their friends to do the same.
To top it all off, we even created some BU themed Zoom backgrounds for those that wanted to bring a little Terrier Spirit into their meetings.
How have you adjusted your social strategy amidst the COVID-19 crisis? Sound off in the comments.