• Michael Ventriello

COVID-19 Can Be Social Media’s Finest Hour – It’s Up to Us


With the entire world in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic and the constant news updates becoming more dire by the minute, there is a common thread that stiches many of us together across state and international borders - social media.


Social media is a highly functional communications channel. It is neither good nor bad. Like Eric Clapton sang, ‘It’s in the Way That You Use It.” It’s up to us and what we choose to post that determines whether the impact of social media is positive or negative.


I prefer to focus on the positive messages that can make social media appear to be a Godsend in these very challenging and downright scary times.  So how can this be achieved? Here are __tips that come to mind.


1.   Curb Your Politics: This is not a time for politicizing, trolling or blaming. Nobody had a crystal-ball, and nobody will have the perfect solution. No. Body. The time for politics is election day, voice your opinion at the voting booth. In the meantime, let’s move on and help each other get through these challenging times.


2.   Get Your Facts Straight: Unfortunately, thanks to social media, misinformation is being spread around like a (e-hem) virus. Don’t be a carrier. Only share and forward information from reliable, evidence-based sources – although it’s getting hard to tell these days.


3.   Social Distancing: It’s Physical, Not Personal:  Whoever came up with this term did not think it through. Now more than ever, we need to maintain close virtual social contact with our families, close friends and valued colleagues.


4.   Throw Metrics Out the Window: Don’t worry about how many likes or other forms of engagement your posts receive. Share more posts, photos and videos to compensate for the lack of personal contact. FaceTime and IGTV can be beautiful things while sheltering in place. Do this, and you will be surprised how many of your followers will respond. Especially those who are normally lurkers.


5.   Share Your COVID-19 Coping Tips: What’s working for you? How are you keeping your sanity? Share your tips and those of others freely and frequently. Your followers want to know. I know I do!


6.   Use Direct Messaging…A Lot! Not every discussion has to be in the public domain. Use this tool to engage in private conversations on how the COVID-19 is impacting your lives, your loves and your livelihood. Break free of the typical “thoughts and prayers” robo-posts that are disingenuous and don’t take much effort. If you care about someone, you’ll make the effort to reach out personally, right?  


7.   It’s True! You Can Talk on Your Smart Phone! Call me old school, but now is the time to “reach out and touch someone”. A friendly voice can work wonders to help a friend or colleague cope with the new normal that sucks on so many levels.


8.   Don’t be Tone Deaf: This is directed to sales professionals and business consultants – Don’t post hard-sell messages telling your prospects that “Now is the time to buy, ‘cause everyone else isn’t.” The recipient of your message may be afraid, in financial trouble, infected, in mourning or all of the above.


If you can’t offer a solution that will genuinely help your customers and prospects cope with their new normal, such as suspending monthly payments or earning free education credits online while they are on the bench, give them space. If you are an ass hat, they will remember this when the smoke clears.


9.   Share Your New-found Appreciation of the Simple Things: Time with your kids. Open spaces. Reading a good book. Re-discovering a hobby. Not having to commute. These are the types of posts that people are commenting the most on, including pictures of their own new-found appreciations of life’s simple pleasures. 


10. Humor? Please! I’ve seen some the funniest comments and memes during this pandemic. Even the business-only LinkedIn is lightening up a bit. Some of these posts make light of the fact that we are not getting our hair cut or the new business casual is flannel pajamas.


People certainly have more time to take stupid pet photos. Food porn from restaurants has been replaced with epic kitchen fails. Some posts have dark gallows humor that in some strange way, helps us cope – but this can be risky. Are you sure you can pull it off?

Do you have any additional comments or suggestions you’d like to share? Please do. In the meantime, do all you can to keep yourself and your loved ones out of harm’s way.  


Follow the light to outrun the darkness.

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