Using Social Media Effectively During the COVID-19 Crisis

Posted By Mike Meyer, Friday, April 10, 2020

social media

By Alyson Boeckh, AmSpa Senior Marketing and Social Media Coordinator, and Michela Bailey, AmSpa Social Media and Marketing Assistant

We know from AmSpa's recent financial status survey that at least 93% of medical spas are currently closed, and 52% of medical spa owners aren't sure if they'll be able to reopen their doors when the crisis abates. Although we can't predict what the future holds, we do know that everyone is currently sitting at home and turning to social media to keep them entertained. Social media never turns off, and your practice's social media account needs to have strategies in place to engage with your patients. So, in this post, we're going to talk about how you can stay relevant on your social channels now that your social media plan has had to do a complete 180 and react to the current pandemic.

Being Relevant

The medical spa accounts that are doing it right share important updates about their business, such as what measures they're taking to prevent the spread of the virus and timely information about how their business is changing. Some also are sharing memes or quotes that their patients can relate to and engage with. Nobody should be making light of the situation, but some medical spa humor can help the community stay positive and laugh together during a time when we're all feeling a little alone and isolated.

We'e seen a lot of support for initiatives that are helping the nurses and doctors who are working on the front lines. If you'e been following AmSpa, you might have seen that we started a donation drive with the hashtag #AmSpaPPEDrive to encourage our members to donate their supplies to local hospitals in need. There is a shortage of PPEs for hospitals that are in desperate need of them, so if you have anything that you are able to donate, we would really appreciate you joining in to help.

Some of our influencers have taken the lead by starting their own initiatives, including Jackie Spagnuolo, RN, BSN (@beautynursenyc), who started a campaign where people "adopt a health care professional" to whom they can donate care packages.

In the midst of this, you also should be paying close attention to government guidelines from agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and use those as references in your communications. You also want to make sure you're incorporating language about the pandemic into your dialogue, because the last thing you want is to sound tone deaf to the situation.

Here are a few things we'e seen on Instagram that make the people doing them look irrelevant:

  1. Not addressing the pandemic.
  2. Pushing products and services with salesy captioning that doesn't relate to the pandemic situation.
  3. Promoting services that were recommended to be postponed by the surgeon general, the White House and the CDC.

To the outside world, if you are doing any of these things, it looks like you haven't put the effort into changing your social media content plan, or worse, that you don't care to be safe and compliant and are just trying to capitalize on the situation.

Crisis Management

Some things you can do to help your practice now can be applied toward any future crisis situation.

  • Don't ignore the situation—address it. This will help your patients build brand trust with you, because you are acting as a leader when you address the situation head on.
  • Be open and vulnerable about how you're feeling. It's totally appropriate for a business account to share a personal message. It will help to humanize your brand.
  • Encourage your patients to stay home and follow their government's instructions. Taking a stance will help your business stand out as a leader, and people want that content to re-share to their friends and family. People will remember that you set a good example during this time, and it will influence their decision to do business with you.
  • Show your audience how you're keeping busy and staying positive during this time. We all need positive vibes and to feel like we're all in this together.

If you're really passionate about helping others and involved in your local community, share some of the support you're giving to other companies you love. If you follow the hashtag #communityovercorona you'll see all the love our retail and restaurant communities are giving to one another. By searching the hashtags in your local area, you can get so many ideas on how to get involved and lend a helping hand.

Content Creation

Here are some dos and don'ts on what to share on social media during this time.


  • Create IG Live videos. Going on IG Live to talk with your followers in real time about your business is a great way to build a stronger connection between your brand and your patients. If you think about it, most people are quarantined at home with not a lot to do, so people are spending more time watching videos and live streams.
  • Consider gift card giveaways. I'e seen a lot of gift card giveaways to help support local communities. If you follow LexRx (@lexrx), you know they created a giveaway in which they purchase $50 gift cards to 17 Boston businesses and gave their followers three challenges to complete in order to enter the giveaway. This post earned 700 likes, 900 comments and many IG story mentions, and they reached their goal of reaching 10,000 followers, which now gets them the swipe up feature. This is a great example of what you can achieve when you'e spent time studying your audience, understanding what incentivizes them and taking a giveaway concept and applying it to your own business strategy.
  • Create a quarantine template. A quarantine template is basically like creating an Instagram story graphic that incentivizes your followers to screenshot it, mark it up with their selections, share their version on their own IG story and maybe tag some friends so your branded content cycles through multiple friend groups. Although the concept has been around for a long time, we'e recently seen social media influencers get very creative with relevant quarantine surveys and checklists.
  • Promote skin care packages. If you have skin care packages for sale online, we definitely encourage you to promote that they help with your patients' self-care routines during quarantine. Some people have even created at-home skincare packages that they ship for free or offer for curbside pickup.
  • Mention your charitable endeavors. If you'e been donating your PPEs to local hospitals, you can share photos of that and use the hashtag #AMSPAPPEDrive and we'll feature you on our social channels.
  • Create a meme or quote in Canva. It's a free graphic design tool that we always recommend in our webinars.
  • Create a TikTok. We have become obsessed with watching these and creating them on our accounts. Honestly, it will take you a couple days to figure it out, but once you do it becomes so addicting.
  • Try IGTV. If you're uncomfortable with going live on Instagram, then IGTV is for you. You can pre-record yourself talking about skin care, create a quarantine chronicle, or conduct a Q&A session.


  • Go radio silent. When you go off the grid, people will be left to assumptions, and you don't want to create any type of mistrust about your brand.
  • Give inaccurate or outdated information. If you're second-guessing something, share it with a friend or a coworker you trust. From a business standpoint, you always want to look like you have your facts straight.
  • Continue your paid ads on Facebook and Instagram about services that you're no longer able to perform. Your money will be better spent elsewhere.
  • Use the FOMO approach. If you're still sharing before/after photos, it's not going to result in the same performance as it used to because it's simply not relevant anymore. Instead, think about what products are essential to self-care and how you can provide that education to your followers.
  • Use the word "cancel." Use the word "postpone" instead, because you want to reassure your patients that you will return to normal. There's actually a community using the hashtag #postponednotcanceled that serves as inspiration and hope that we will get through this and things will return to normal.

Going Live

So, you're probably wondering—why should I go live on Instagram? What makes it so different then a pre-recorded video?

Despite how daunting it might feel to broadcast yourself in real time, going live on Instagram is one of the best ways to connect with your followers in a direct, transparent and authentic way. Unlike pre-recorded Instagram Stories or IGTV videos, Instagram Live is a totally unedited stream for your followers to tune into and engage with, which can be a great way of showcasing the more human side of your business for your audience.

And that's not all—Instagram Live allows your audience to submit their comments and questions in real time, making it one of Instagram's most interactive video platforms.

This can be a hugely beneficial tool for building a stronger connection between your brand and potential customers, allowing you to gain valuable feedback and insight straight from the people that matter most.

Hosting an Instagram Live also can help boost your discoverability on Instagram. For example, every time you go live on Instagram, your followers will receive an in-app notification, and your stream will be bumped to the front of their Instagram Stories feed.

Before you go live, there are a couple steps you want to take to set yourself up for success. First, you want to hype up the time and date of the Instagram Live by creating a couple reminders in your stories and feed a few days leading up to it. You also want to tell your audience what they can expect in the live broadcast and invite them to share any questions they have in the comments. This can help your followers feel more engaged and, ultimately, more likely to tune in.

In your settings, you can take care of quite a few administrative things, such as who you'd like to view your stories, who can reply, where the video will save to, how it can be shared and even how to filter out offensive comments.

Next on the list, make sure you will be broadcasting in a well-lit area that will be quiet and have a good connection to Wi-Fi. Remember, presentation really matters here, so bring in some props to help brand your location so it looks professional, even if you're at home.

Last but not least, make sure you have a clear content plan. As with any video content, it's super important to have a clear vision of what you're going to cover in your Instagram Live broadcast. Having a clear plan will help prevent any awkward pauses and will also guarantee that you're hitting all the important points for your business agenda.

One of the best ways to plan your live stream is to think of it as having a beginning, middle and end—or, more specifically, an introduction, focal point and conclusion—and making a note of the most important messages to get across during the broadcast.

It's equally important to decide what format you'll follow in advance, so that your broadcast is as smooth and professional as possible. Instagram Live allows you to share images and videos, invite others to co-host in a split screen, or simply share your camera screen to your viewers.

Whichever format you decide on, it's always worth doing a quick run-through ahead of time so you're comfortable with the flow and know roughly what you're going to say during each segment.

It's also a good idea to consider what could go wrong in a "worst case scenario." For example, if your live broadcast relies on viewers' questions, have a backup plan in case you don't receive any. This could be a list of questions that you'e gathered earlier from Instagram Stories, or an alternate talking point.

Just remember, only a small percentage of businesses are going live, so there's a ton of opportunity to grab your followers' attention, build brand awareness and even make some sales.

If you direct message AmSpa's Instagram account (@amspa_americanmedspa), we can send you detailed instructions on how to do all these things.

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