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Tip, Announcement

22 April 2020

Taking action during the COVID-19 outbreak

BY: Instagram Business Team

San Francisco, CA, US

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people, communities and businesses around the world are facing a difficult time adjusting to a new way of life. For the world's businesses, the health, safety and wellbeing of their employees and customers is a critical priority. We also recognise that in this complex climate, companies are facing major challenges as their business-as-usual operations are disrupted. Here are three ways you can take action.

1. Expand your business and services digitally

As physical distancing becomes a reality for people and communities around the world, businesses need to communicate with customers in creative ways using digital platforms. Instagram can help businesses stay relevant and keep giving people the things they love in this uncertain time. That means bringing communities together in the moment, offering further ways to shop online instead of in-store, and providing a place to educate and entertain customers with interactive video experiences.

Bring your community together in the moment with Instagram Live.

At a time when it's best to create space apart, we can connect together online. Bring events online or host a Q&A with Instagram Live, and you can even ask a friend to join. We're seeing creators, public figures and businesses go live to educate and entertain people. Instagram and Facebook Live views doubled within a week in Italy2. To get as many viewers for your Instagram Live as possible, tease it in your feed or stories before you go live, and post your live video to Stories when you've finished so it shows for 24 hours. You can also save your live video and upload it to IGTV.

Here's some inspiration:
  • Nail polish brand Olive & June (@oliveandjune) is hosting live mani bootcamps, sharing manicure tips and asking followers what they want (free delivery, nail challenges etc.).

  • Illustrator Wendy MacNaughton (@wendymac) is showing kids of all ages how to draw.

  • Custom wedding dress company Anomalie (@anomalie) is going live to talk about how to deal with a cancelled wedding.

Offer ways to shop online versus in-store.

With people spending less time outside their homes, allow them to shop online and find the information they need via Instagram. Make sure that your website URL is listed in your business bio on Instagram. If you have closed your store or have limited hours, this is also a good place to share this info. If you offer gift cards, let your followers know so they can support your business now and enjoy later.

If you sell products, use shopping tags so that people can shop your products directly from feed and stories. By doing this, your products will also populate in your profile shop, where people can browse products that matter to them while on your brand's profile Page. Here are steps for setting up Instagram Shopping.

Here's some inspiration:
  • Cake shop Butter& (@butter_and) is offering a small "PSA" cake for local delivery in San Francisco with CDC advice stencilled on top such as "wash your hands".

  • Writer Helen Rosner (@helenr) is sharing merchandise from small businesses that people can purchase to show their support.

  • Chipotle (@chipotle) is now offering free delivery and promoting this service in feed and stories, along with going live for lunchtime concerts with musicians such as Luke Bryan.

  • Take a look at Instagram's @shop page for creative ideas on making your profile shoppable.

Use IGTV to share long-form content to educate and entertain.

If you want to share longer-form content, try IGTV. It allows you to engage deeper with your audience by sharing longer, serialised content that people can tune in to at any time. Create content around topics related to your business.

Here's some inspiration:
  • Barry's (@barrys), the high-energy exercise class, is creating daily classes on IGTV for their community to follow along at home.

2. Get your message out and connect with your community

Instagram can help you reach your audience – whether you are currently open, closed, changing your business model, sharing items in stock, offering discounts or helping your community. Brands are also using Instagram to reinforce their commitment to their community and show care and positivity during an uncertain time.

Share your important messages in your feed.

Feed can be used to share communications and highlights that your community will be able to see over time. It's a place for important messages that will live on your business profile. You can also share #calmingcontent in your feed to help people stay positive and inspired. Consider running ads to expand the reach of your important messages if you want to target specific audience segments.

Here's some inspiration:
  • Michelin-starred Canlis Restaurant (@canlisrestaurant) is changing their service to offer takeaway and delivery of family meals.

  • Recipe box company Gousto (@goustocooking) is committing to their community and promising those who are vulnerable that they will still be able to deliver fresh food, donate to food banks and give discounts.

  • Shoe brand Rothy's (@rothys) is sharing feed posts about the steps that they're taking to close shops and keep the community safe.

  • In Los Angeles, Nike (@nikelosangeles) is pivoting their digital content to showcase how Angelenos are staying active in their homes, encouraging their community to share stories with the hashtag #playinside.

Use Stories to share your story.

Use Stories to humanise your brand and drive entertaining engagement with your community. Stories is an ideal surface to share timely messages during this rapidly evolving situation. As stories are viewable for only 24 hours, you can use them to keep your followers up to date on the latest news from your business, such as changing hours or inventory in stock.

Use interactive stickers such as the polling sticker and questions sticker to engage with your audience by finding out what they want to hear from you and what they need from your business. Use the new Instagram "Stay at home" shared Stories sticker to encourage your followers to keep the community safe by staying at home. Engage your followers on Stories with daily content and challenges using the "Stay at home" sticker — for example, posting recipes, workout routines or daily quotes.

The authentic nature of Stories makes it a great place to go behind the scenes of your business to show your customers what's really happening and how you're feeling during this uncertain time.

Here's some inspiration:
  • Clean olive oil company Brightland (@wearebrightland) is sharing home recipes from their community.

  • The LA County Museum of Art (@lacma) is using the questions sticker to find out what people want to see, then sharing relevant pieces of art.

  • Biscuit company Oreo (@oreo) is using Stories creative to remind everyone to "stay playful" and connected using video chats.

3. Communicate with your customers

If your Direct inbox is flooded with messages, you can stay on top of communication by effectively managing your messages and also setting up FAQs to answer common questions for your customers.

Use Direct to keep a dialogue open with your customers.

Manage your Instagram Direct messages straight from your account inbox or use our business tools within your Facebook Page inbox (note that you must first connect your Facebook Page and Instagram account).

You can also use Quick Replies to save time when responding to frequently asked questions.

Use other Instagram surfaces to answer FAQs that you're seeing in Direct.

You may not have time to answer every message in your Direct inbox, so share the answers to the most frequently asked questions in your feed or stories. Consider creating a highlight with answers to FAQs.

Here's some inspiration:
  • Florist Flower Bodega (@flowerbodega) acknowledged all the messages that they were receiving in their Direct inbox via a post in Feed, and shared their answers to frequently asked questions about how to support people during physical distancing.

BY: Instagram Business Team

San Francisco, CA, US