As the digital marketing strategist at Brand825 …

I spend a lot of time online crafting social media strategies and digital ad campaigns for our clients. At least, I thought I spent a lot of time online.

Then the coronavirus happened. Between work and trying to maintain personal connections with other humans, I’m online all day. All. Day.

And I’m not alone. According to The Next Web, apps like TikTok (47 percent) and Snapchat (18.5 percent) have seen major growth in interest and usage during the last couple of months. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are seeing surges of around 15 percent in search interest.

With this kind of increased usage, brands have a unique opportunity to use their platforms and clout to spread positivity and serve others, rather than continuing to run normal campaigns that sell products.

Potbelly is a good example of this. The Chicago-based sandwich chain executed a total strategy shift due to the coronavirus outbreak. According to an article in Adweek, Potbelly CMO Brandon Rhoten said the company pivoted their whole marketing strategy in about 10 days.

“We changed our media plans, we changed our creative, we changed our social approach,” Rhoten said.

Potbelly went from launching creative to achieve new brand positioning to publishing posts showing the helpful and good-natured side of the business. Potbelly’s head chef even posted a video showing viewers how to make its most popular sandwich at home.

BillGO, a payment services provider offering B2B and B2C solutions, recently launched a robust website highlighting businesses and financial institutions offering payment relief during the pandemic.

The company also offers a free bill pay app that helps consumers manage their money and pay bills easily and quickly. And if that weren’t enough, BillGO’s HR director is hard at work sewing masks for the Denver Mask Task Force to help first responders battling the virus.

Mobile payment service Venmo is also finding creative ways to help its customers, rather than trying to directly sell them on products and services. Recently, Venmo has shined a light on customers donating money to those working on the front lines to fight coronavirus.

Not stopping there, Venmo is rewarding those charitable customers with donations to help them do even more, and encouraging the online community to continue spreading good using #venmoitforward.

Stories like these cut through the noise and give people something they really need right now: hope.

​If you want to create and share brand content that resonates on a different level, similarly to Potbelly, BillGO and Venmo, focus on spreading goodwill and helping others in their time of need. The content will write itself.

Stefanie Whitten, Brand825’s digital marketing strategist, helps clients develop winning digital marketing strategies, including social media and online marketing campaigns. She has a master’s in marketing with a specialization in digital and social media from the University of Alabama. When she’s not worshipping Nick Saban, Stefanie loves traveling, spending time outdoors and is a voracious reader.

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