How can social networks do good during the current COVID-19?

A dynamic young leader, Nagesh is backed with over a decade of experience in the domains of sales, advertising and marketing

The COVID 19 outbreak has been the most extraordinary crisis that the world has witnessed in this century so far. It has disrupted our trade, lifestyles, markets, and travel. Even thinking about such a scenario would have been bizarre just a few months ago. With people, confined to their house to practice social distancing, social networking has taken a digital route.

A lot has changed in the past month, including how well we use social networking sites. Therefore, the need to leverage its power in the right direction by focusing on its usage to spread more awareness and positivity during such unusual times. Today the social media is flooded with interactive content like challenges, workouts, and webinar-like content via live streams and many more. People are experiencing their social life on these platforms like never before and are coming up with unique ways to engage and entertain themselves.

There are many ways in which social networking sites can make a positive impact on society:

Keep their audiences engaged and stress-free
There is hardly anyone who has not received some sort of challenge on social media by their friends. Since the lockdown, this wave of passing on challenges, workout routines, and other interactive content has been spreading like wildfire. This is an excellent way in which these brands can engage their users and use their platforms to bring the world together to mitigate the morbidity caused by the lockdown.

Such activities have helped to bring out the creativity in people and have kept most of us busy and inspired. The brands should hold live sessions with KOLs and other experts and encourage people to participate in activities like fitness, cooking, art, dance, and music. Brands can hold QnA sessions with influencers and celebrities or organize open webinars or hold debates and discussions on relevant topics.

Encourage stories on human connection
The world, more than anything else, needs the support of one another to win this battle against COVID 19. The social networking sites are the best way to share the plight of people worldwide. Social media sites can encourage people to show their support to all those doctors, police workers, delivery guys, and everyone who is out there in the field.

Just like we have seen with other crises, people all over the world reach out to each other to understand what is going on. People can turn to social media for community and emotional support. The best way to achieve that is by encouraging human connection stories, where people can discuss honestly and freely about their struggles / their respective coping mechanisms & most importantly, to support each other & stand in solidarity.

Spread the message of social distancing
The message of social distancing and practicing safe hygiene has to be understood by everyone to achieve effective results. The social media brands should leverage their wide reach to spread these messages across the communities and urge people to stay home. Another great way to spread awareness is through tutorial videos on various relevant topics like, 'Proper way to wash hands', 'How to make masks at home', and other ways to maintain hygiene. Brands can also take the help of influencers, key opinion leaders, celebrities to communicate the key messages and invoke consciousness among people during this pandemic. Even the national leaders are using these channels to communicate their messages to people. It is also very imperative for the brands to keep a check on the kind of news and information being circulated as fake and incorrect news can have devastating consequences.

The upcoming weeks are very crucial for India in slowing the virus' spread and flattening the curve of infection, & thus contributing in reducing the burden on the nation's healthcare system. Hence, the brands should focus on conveying correct information and the right measures to be adopted to 'Stay safe'.

Promote Online learning
More than 300 million students are having their education disrupted by the spread of coronavirus. However, with the internet, we can continue by turning from 'offline to online' classes. Education especially is a crucial sector, and in such uncertain times, it is essential that learning continues, even if it cannot happen in person. The educational brands are helping in making the transition from offline to online classes. They are live streaming lectures and are opening learning portals for students, which is need of the hour. The social media brands can step in and promote online learning among students by connecting them to their teachers and classmates. There are many online classrooms taking place which are open for all and is a great help interms of easy access for students.

Building Trust within the community
The lockdown has been especially hard for the daily wagers and the migrant workers. We have all watched their overwhelming plight on the news. They need our help more than ever. With no work and no means of income, they are not even able to afford food. Where a lot of corporate leaders are announcing pay cuts, these social networks can ensure they collect funds through crowdfunding and donate to the needy. Brands can urge people to donate money for necessary essential items like food, masks, sanitizers, and other hygiene requirements as a means of guaranteeing food security for vulnerable families / Daily wage workers.

Last but not the Least, Responsible act of Platforms
The power of social media knows no bounds with millions of people following these brands who take their daily dose of information from such sources. In such scenarios, for the brands to keep a sanity check on the kind of content & information, being circulated becomes of utmost importance and should be cautiously dealt with. Here brands should step in & consider their ethical duty/responsibility to weed out negative and fake news to avoid more chaos and hatred.

With the world going online, social networking sites should realize their pivotal role in shaping the thought process and building the morale of the people. They should come up with creative means to help the communities at large. They should be the propagators of hope for people to cope up with the prevalent distress caused by coronavirus. The time calls for an active role in society, and not only the social media brands but, we must all put forth thee best efforts to fight this pandemic.