How to post on social media during COVID-19

22nd April 2020 | | Blog, Social Media

Unsure of what content to post online during the Coronavirus outbreak? You’re not alone. Many businesses are feeling lost when it comes to saying and doing the right thing on their social media during this time.

Tensions are high right now. People are stressed and worried about the welfare of themselves and their loved ones. In that instance, what can you post help your patients and followers? We have your answers below.

The negative side of online content during a crisis

Unfortunately, there are some people and sources online that aren’t the most helpful in times like these. We’ve all seen the posts those who are either insensitive to the issue, make light of it or jump straight onto the political bandwagon. All of which can cause great upset to those directly affected by the virus. At such a sensitive time, it is best to leave your personal opinions out of your posts. Especially when speaking as the face of your business.

There is also the mass spread of misinformation online. A study conducted by Ofcom indicates around 50% of adults in the UK have seen fake news about the COVID-19 outbreak. So, what can you do as a dental professional to make sure your social media is useful and informative?

What should you be posting on social media during COVID-19?

Your dental clinic plays a unique role in people’s lives. The way that this has changed in recent weeks has a great impact on those who rely on it. Considering the restrictions imposed on treating dental patients, how can your practice adapt to helping during the crisis?

Update your followers with factual information from credible sources like the CDC or WHO. Don’t add to the spread of misinformation.

Covid-19 is not airborne

The services you can provide have changed. Routine appointments have stopped, a small number of clinics can see emergency patients, while the majority are triaging and advising by phone. Do your patients know what you’re doing? Update altered opening hours and any new services you are offering online on your Google My Business page and social profiles. Create posts about these changes and pin them to the top of your pages.

Our dental clinic now has WhatsAppOur dental clinic now provides e-consultations

Sent an email updating your patients about how things have changed? Post it on your social pages! Using free and simple design tools like Canva allows you to save formal email communications as an image for use on social media.

Our dental practice is now temporarily closed

While patients cannot come to you for treatment, their issues aren’t put on ice. Many are suffering immensely with dental pain. Only those classed as an emergency can be helped in some clinics or at established Urgent Dental Care hubs. Help patients understand what is deemed an emergency with useful updates on your page.

When to go to A&E for dental related issues during Covid-19Reasons to book an urgent dental appointment during the CoronavirusLess urgent dental issues during Covid-19

For those whose dental pain doesn’t require emergency treatment, how can you help them? By posting your pain management tips, you can increase comfort for your followers and ease pressure on the phone line at your clinic! You can also download and share our free guide to coping with pain at home.

Coping with dental pain at home during the Coronavirus

What’s going on at your practice while patients can’t visit? Are you working hard to advise patients, organise the clinic during the downtime or working to improve your service for when things get back to normal? Take pictures and share these with your followers, show them how you are adapting and being proactive in a difficult situation.

In times like this, news outlets can be overwhelming and upsetting. Some light distraction and entertainment can do wonders for people’s mood. If you’re doing fun and creative things with your family at home, why not share them with your audience? Ask for recommendations on other things to keep you occupied and encourage your followers to post images of their isolation hobbies.

Keep an eye on your local area. Is there anything positive or helpful going on in your community that can assist others? Are local businesses providing services for the vulnerable or key workers? If someone is doing something wonderful, share it with your audience. Better still if it’s you providing the community service!

Free parking for NHS staff/volunteersMedication delivery for dental patients

Try something new! Why not give the Stories feature on Facebook and Instagram a go? Or delve into ‘live’ posts with a Q&A or interview with an audience member. Creating videos around your dental care from home tips can be a great idea too.

It may also be wise to check over any previously scheduled social media content. You can adjust it as necessary, but chances are what you had planned to share before the pandemic won’t be useful to people right now.

To help you post factual and informative content online, we have created numerous free resources for you to use. Check them out here.

What tone of voice should you use in your social media posts?

The Coronavirus is affecting us all in one way or another. Ideally, we want to remain upbeat while being empathetic and understanding of all situations. Finding the right balance of these can be tough. The best way to go about this? Listen to what your patients and online community are saying. You can then follow a similar vein in your copy and tone.

Click here for more advice on how to write to patients in a crisis.

How should you respond to online comments?

During the pandemic, you may notice an increase in negative comments on your social media posts. If you are keeping a positive tone and taking an informative stance in your content, you will likely not need to be concerned. People can be fraught in times like these, often meaning they are more likely to react to things they see online.

It is crucial to respond to each comment with complete respect and compassion. The commenter could be in a highly stressful situation that you aren’t aware of. Remain calm and diffuse the situation. Remember, how you react to negative comments can reflect positively on your business if done so in the right way.

Is there any point posting online content during the Coronavirus?

A survey of over 13,000 consumers across 13 countries showed almost 45% are devoting more time to social media during the pandemic. Initially, Coronavirus adversely impacted social media engagement rates. At the beginning of March, they had dropped across 14 major industries, in the following weeks posting frequency also reduced.

Rival IQ assessed the social performance 2,000+ companies between January and April 2020 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The graph below shows relatively flat engagement levels for the first three months of 2020. Coming out of March, the rates rose to a 2020 high across all three channels, despite the drop in posts per week.

Social media post engagement rates during Covid-19 (source: Rival IQ)

People are spending more time at home and naturally more of that time online. With businesses and marketers treading carefully to ensure their content does their brand justice, the quality of posts is increasing. Followers engage more with content that is of use or interest to them. The more they engage with it, the more likely the social platform is to put it in front of the eyes of other users, leading to higher engagement.

It is more evident now than ever that it pays to focus on the quality and relevance of everything you post on social media. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are clearly rewarding thoughtful content that has been designed to help the reader. If you can listen and understand the concerns of your patients, and do what you can to address them online, it will go a long way.

For more helpful information on how to organise your clinic and communicate with your dental patients during the Coronavirus pandemic, view our blog page.

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