March 20, 2020

The 5 Es of Keeping Social Media Social

If you’re feeling like your newsfeed is filled with COVID-19 updates, that’s because it is. And, so is everyone else’s. And while much of the content being published right now is genuinely helpful and informational, it’s also getting to be A LOT. For this reason, we completely understand that many community managers are facing a dilemma:

“How do I show up on social in a meaningful way without adding to all the other COVID-19 noise?”

To help you solve this dilemma and manage social in these uncertain times, we’ve come up with an approach. And it starts with an E.

Also, let me clarify that this post is specifically for individuals managing brand accounts, such as business owners or community managers, not necessarily those running personal ones. Though the information is still valid for anyone running a personal account—you have way more freedom than a brand account.

Now, back to our Es…

the 5 es of social media during covid-19:

  1. Empathize
  2. Encourage
  3. Engage
  4. Educate
  5. Entertain

*An important note before we break these down: You can COMBINE different Es and create a super impactful post!

1. empathize

Your community is going through something wild right now. We all are. And, frankly, it’s not OK and definitely not social to just carry on posting about your products and services without acknowledging what your community is going through. If you’re a community manager right now, you should strive to understand specifically how COVID-19 is impacting your audience and how you can empathize with them.

Here are some good examples of how to effectively empathize:

Empathizing social media posts

Quick tip: At McLernon & Co., we’re using the “Emotional Guidance Scale,” created by Abraham Hicks and popularized by Gabby Bernstein, to point us in the right direction for how to show up and empathize with our audience right now. If you’re not familiar with the scale, it’s phenomenal and especially relevant now.

2. encourage

We all have so much opportunity to use our brands’ voices to be positive and encouraging right now. What’s this look like in practice? Share positive quotes and affirmations. Post customer success stories. DM people who are kicking ass and showing up for their communities right now. Give love to other brands who are also being encouraging. Positive energy is contagious, and the more we put out into the world, the more it’s going to spread across the communities that need it.

Here are a couple good examples of how to be encouraging right now:

Encouraging on social media

3. engage

Hopefully, this is an E you’re practicing all the time, but right now it’s more important than ever. The good news is if you’re showing up to empathize and encourage, odds are you’re going to get some inbound engagement in the form of likes, comments, DMs, etc. When this happens, reply! Ask your community members how they’re feeling, where they need help, how they’re staying busy and productive. It’s critical to build and strengthen these connections and use them to deliver your other Es. Because, as we said, that positive energy is contagious!

Here are some of our favorite examples of good engagement right now:

Engaging on social media

4. educate

These last two Es will be more and more important as we continue to social distance. Frankly, people are going to get bored. They’ll be looking for things to do and ways to stay productive and have fun. Help them! Find ways of being educational and entertaining that align with your brand. If you’re a yoga instructor, maybe it’s demonstrating poses or holding virtual classes. If you’re an artist, maybe it’s sharing inspiring pieces and asking people to post their feelings and interpretations. This is your time to get creative and have fun with your branded content and, above all, think about what your community wants and needs.

Here are some great examples of how to educate:

Educating on social media
Educating on social media

5. entertain

And here are some brands that are doing an awesome job entertaining their communities:

Entertaining on social media
Entertaining on social media
Entertaining on social media
Entertaining on social media

The biggest thing we can stress right now is that the way you show up says way more about your brand than any curated post ever could. If you’re feeling stuck or unsure about what to post on social right now, use the Es as your guide. And—this is also important to remember right now—if you’re feeling too overwhelmed, uncertain or stressed to show up right now, give yourself a break and focus on other ways you can support your community, or just take some time offline.

If you like our 5 Es and feel like this could help someone else, could you please take the time to share this into your online communities? We know a lot of people are wondering WTF to do right now and hopefully, this can help.

Finally, a lot of people have been asking how to support us right now – thank you. We are here and are continuing to offer our core services (social media consulting, training and content creation) during this time. If you know of someone who is looking for social guidance, please point them to us!

Love to you all!
Amanda McLernon
McLernon & Co + Keep Social Media Social