June 11, 2020
Tensions run high as the world deals with the effects of COVID-19. Not letting this tough time control or ruin their spirits, these organizations took to social media to entertain, engage and connect with their audiences.
Let’s take a look at these three organizations and see what we can learn:
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Affectionately nicknamed The Cowboy, The National Cowboy & Western Heritage museum in Oklahoma City shut its doors when social distancing began. Although The Cowboy is closed to visitors, Tim, their head of security, continued to come into work to guard the exhibits. To the amazement of their now heavily entertained audience, Tim took over the museum’s Twitter account. With no prior social media knowledge, Tim’s daily posts are the wholesome and comedic relief needed during the pandemic.
As Tim learned his way around the platform with the help of his grandson, Lucas, and coworker, “Seth in Marketing,” cowboy lovers worldwide began to follow Tim’s progress while sharing many interesting facts about displayed artifacts and exploring behind-the-scenes. The puns, dad-jokes, hashtag mishaps and daily coffee updates created what is now a cult-like following of The Cowboy.
The takeaway: You should never be afraid to show your true personality. Tim could have been boring and just shared random facts, but instead his voice is evident in every single post.
The Shedd Aquarium
On March 16th, the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago started a media frenzy when they released video of a bonded pair of rockhopper penguins taking a break from their enclosure and exploring the aquarium’s rotunda. Clips show the pair watching fish swim and getting a new view of their home.
Walking in Shedd’s footsteps, the Georgia Aquarium let Atlanta Humane Society puppies play in their Ocean Voyager exhibit, the Oregon Zoo allowed a porcupine to explore, the Maryland Zoo posted a video of a duck watching the penguin exhibit, and many more establishments used their down time to curate creative and entertaining social media content.
The takeaway: Sometimes, you’ve got to think literally outside the box. Or in this case, the habitat. What sort of weird realities is the pandemic creating for your organization? Is someone literally the only person in the building? Could they come up with some clever video around that experience? Is there a way to create a smart social video using the “Brady Bunch”-like videos you see on Zoom? Don’t look at the new world as a problem to solve; view it as a new way to engage.
Known for its creative, sassy and always humorous Twitter account, Wendy’s has stayed true to its marketing strategy and online personality during the COVID-19 pandemic. Where other companies have switched to more serious and educational dialogues, Wendy’s social media continues to publish with their regular content style.
As a new way to engage their audience during social distancing, Wendy’s tweeted about the creation of its own island on cult-favorite video game Animal Crossing, along with information on how to watch them stream their content. With millions of streams for Wendy’s island, this typically unconventional marketing strategy has been extremely beneficial to not only the company, but to its audience looking to escape reality.
The takeaway: Go where the people are! What sort of escapes are your audience taking now? The digital spaces present potential opportunities for your organization to do something a little unexpected. And sometimes, surprises are a good thing.
These fearless displays of creativity in a time where much seems bleak has launched these three organizations into the limelight. As social distancing continues to affect the morale of thousands, the humor and creativity displayed by these organizations really does put the “social” in “social media.” After looking at these responses, learning to make the best out of the situations presented seems to be what the world really wants, and needs, right now.
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Ashley Neal joined the Sidecar team as Community Coordinator in March of 2020, right as the COVID-19 pandemic began to shut down life as we knew it. Having to adapt, overcome and predict the changes needed to survive in the new normal, Ashley now has the skills needed to juggle any obstacle thrown her way. A soon-to-be graduate from Southeastern Louisiana University in the field of Strategic Communications, Ashley spends her days balancing her work and education with her love of dogs. Taking her three dogs — Scooby, Pipsqueak and Moose — to restaurants, hiking trails, vacations and even participating in dog shows and sports is the highlight of her weekends.