Twitter is providing guidance to businesses on how to best tweet about coronavirus as the situation becomes more serious with each passing day.
The company prefaces its advice by stating “this is not a marketing opportunity to capitalize on.” To that end, businesses are advised not to opportunistically link themselves to a health scare.
Currently, there is a COVID-19 related tweet every 45 milliseconds and #coronavirus is the second most used hashtag of 2020. Before joining in the discussion, Twitter suggests asking whether or not it’s appropriate for your specific brand.
“This is not about looking at what others are doing and copying. It’s about understanding the unique role your brand plays in people’s lives, how that has changed, and how your brand can help or be useful during this crisis.”
Should Your Business Tweet About Coronavirus?
Twitter identifies the situations in which businesses should tweet about COVID-19.
If COVID-19 is affecting your company
If you have important information that affects your company, or your employees (e.g. around transmission of the virus), Twitter says you should consider sharing that publicly.
Here’s an example from Olive Garden:
Beginning today, all of our hourly employees will receive permanent, paid sick leave benefits.
— Olive Garden (@olivegarden) March 10, 2020
If COVID-19 may affect your customers
If COVID-19 is directly affecting your business and your customers, Twitter suggests utilizing the platform to interact with your customers one on one.
Twitter gives the example of travel companies communicating changes to their booking policies:
Due to the uncertainty around #Coronavirus #COVID19, we’ve introduced a flexible change policy on all new flight and holiday bookings to any of our hundreds of destinations, meaning you can book with confidence. More info: https://t.co/OvVGSRdIO4 pic.twitter.com/Nm6Wi8swP2
— British Airways (@British_Airways) March 3, 2020
If in doubt, ask yourself these questions
If you’re still questioning whether or not to tweet about coronavirus, ask yourself:
- Can my business share positive stories that might uplift people on Twitter?
- Does my business have positive initiatives that can be discussed?
- Can my business bring the community on Twitter together in a positive way?
Advice for Businesses Tweeting About Coronavirus
After reading the above section, and you feel it’s appropriate for your business to tweet about coronavirus, Twitter offers the following pieces of advice:
- Stay informed: Keep a close eye on the news and conversation – what might have felt like a good message yesterday might not be the right thing today.
- Use the right tone: Right now might not be the best time to be snarky or sarcastic – while empathy and understanding may go a long way.
- Anticipate customer changes: There’s expected to be an increased shift to e-commerce and a significant boom in live-streaming.