Marketing Continuity COVID-19: Social Media Guidance

The COVID-19 crisis raises a number of important questions around the role of brands during this time.

The COVID-19 crisis raises a number of important questions around the role of brands during this time. Social media in particular, with its two-way communication potential, has been the subject of numerous client and agency conversations. What do appropriate patient communications look like in this new situation? The following recommendations are based on our experience helping numerous brands navigate these uncharted waters.

Two-Way Communication


If your brand currently allows two-way communication on Facebook or Instagram, we recommend keeping those channels open and supporting them with at least some advertising spend. People have a lot of questions in this environment, and maintaining a paid presence enables you to meet your customers where they are and provide helpful information on their preferred channels.

There are therapeutic categories where we’ve actually seen an increase in urgency from patients seeking information. These include patients with compromised immune systems and underlying respiratory conditions. If your product supports these kinds of patients, we do not recommend reducing ad spend in social media because you want to continue to give people the opportunity to connect with your brand.

In addition, the fact that many people are restricted to their homes means that various in-person sources of information (eg, the pharmacy, the urgent care clinic) are less available to them. Social media can be a way to provide an open channel for customer service and information regarding your brand in this environment.

On the other hand, if your product treats a less serious underlying condition, and
you’re using social media primarily for acquisition, it may make sense to temporarily reduce ad spend on social channels. The strain on the macro healthcare system means noncritical conversations are being deprioritized in the clinical setting throughout the country, and top-of-the-funnel campaigns for less serious diseases may not be the best use of resources.


Including COVID-19 Content Within Response Repository


If you’re engaged in two-way communication, that means you already have some kind of Response Repository up and running.

At this point, you should consider adding some specific responses that can provide information or support when patients reach out with COVID-19 related questions.

Response topics should include:

  • Concern acknowledgement
  • Symptom inquiries
  • Access issues
  • Helpful links to CDC and other sites
  • Supply chain updates


Note: If your brand audience has a specific immune system or respiratory concern. We advise that you work with your Medical Affairs and client Regulatory teams to craft content that applies to any COVID-19 related engagement.

For more recommendations on how to message to patients, see our Continuously Supporting Patients POV.

Creative Concepting And Briefing

As you move into new creative executions for social media, consider:

  • How different upcoming holidays and events are depicted, (e.g, Memorial Day relaxing in one’s own yard instead of on a crowded beach)

  • How normal access to HCPs may be limited (perhaps share information about Telehealth options)

  • How existing patient support programs can be used during this time

  • How the Creative should model and not contradict guidelines (e.g, social distancing, face touching, etc)

  • How “work” now means working from home for many people

Amid all the uncertainty, one thing seems clear; time spent on social media is not going to decrease, and is likely to increase in the near term.

Please contact your account leads or if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the above.