They’re strange times we’re living in, and with last week’s government directive to close beauty salons and spas, our industry is navigating a road we’ve never travelled before.

One thing we can agree on though: if we’re planning on re-opening our doors once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, we need to ensure our brand stays front and centre of our customers’ minds. There easiest – and most cost-effective – way to do that is to leverage our social media platforms.

But it’s important to be respectful of the fact that we’re operating in a different time now. And with that, comes new rules.

Check your scheduled posts
Examine every post you have scheduled to post, or plan to post in the future, and consider how it will be received in the current climate.
Were you aligning your posts with an event? There’s a good chance the event has been cancelled or postponed, so ensure you update your audience about those changes. Likewise, cast a critical eye over any jokes or memes you were planning to post – are they likely to be seen as insensitive or tone deaf now? “If you have any doubts about the content, hit the pause button and run it by someone who is across current events and wise. If they wince – don’t post it,” says Kate Wilson o Cinc Social Media. “You can always share that funny joke later when the pandemic has passed.”

Don’t disappear
Customers are loyal to their beauty therapists and salons. They care about what happens to you, and if you stay silent during the lockdown, they may assume you’ve closed your doors for good. Plus, given that we all have more time on our hands at the moment, there’s a high likelihood that your customers are going to be spending more time scrolling through their social media. You need to make sure you’re there.
“It’s possible your business will see an onslaught of questions; people will want to know if they can still buy your products, and how you’re reacting to the crisis. Get ahead of the surge by openly sharing relevant information,” says Kate. But equally, feel free to add a light-hearted edge to your grid – so long as it’s in good taste. “Don’t be afraid to have a little fun and to lighten things up a bit on your social media channels. But you still need to be on brand and be careful and respectful with your content. The internet is quick to take down people who act like a jerk. It’s better for things to be a little quieter than for a “joke” post to link your brand to the crisis and damage your reputation.

Don’t try to profit from the pandemic
There is a fine line between using social media to keep your business afloat, and using it to unfairly profit from other people’s tragedy. By all means, highlight that your in-salon products are now available to be purchased online. But, under no circumstances, should you suggest that any of your products can cure or prevent COVID-19. “You don’t want to endanger the trust you have been building with your audience and customers. You don’t want to destroy your reputation all for the sake of a few extra sales,” says Kate.

Show empathy
Your business may be able to survive the pandemic, but hundreds of others won’t. Be mindful that your competitors are now your comrades in getting through this time. “This isn’t limited to a crisis or a pandemic – you should always be demonstrating empathy on social media. However, it is particularly important to be mindful of other people’s experiences, emotions and fears during this time,” says Kate.

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