Digital Hugs When Your Community Needs it The Most

Ding ding ding – round two of lockdown is upon us and we all know from last time that we need some goodness, laughs and connection more now than ever. Sure, we all knew it was a matter of when but our current situation still throws everyone into a tailspin and it’s only natural to go into protective mode –  especially when it comes to our businesses and brands.

We learnt a few bits and bobs from the last lockdown and probably the most important is that our digital communities need some big-ol digital hugs from us. We count ourselves lucky because social media gives us a platform to reach out to our tribe and make them feel supported, heard, and gives them that human connection they long for – albeit through a screen.  We’ve learnt a fair amount since the last lockdown and boy-oh-boy do we have some awesome insights to share with you.


Marketing is often the first to be cut when the world reaches crisis mode however by doing quite the opposite and increasing ad and marketing presence, brands are able to carve out a significant place for themselves in the market and reap long-term benefits. We’re not talking about shouting or the hard sell in times like this – this is about human connection. 

Oh and we’re not doing the hard sell either – the proof is in the pudding from last lockdown and New World is one such example. In our first lockdown our Socialites team of experts and New World’s digital team led by Marketing Manager – Digital & Direct Zania Guy and  the Customer Care team all worked hard  together and incredibly fast. Putting their community first, the Socialites and New World teams listened to the online community on Facebook and Instagram and responded with heart and empathy. With many hurdles on a daily basis – agility was the name of the game but so was the true connection our community felt.

The volume of communications was significant with almost 40,000 conversations happening across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter in just 4 weeks.  Every single comment was listened to and answered and content designed to inform, educate, inspire and entertain was curated.

The results were phenomenal by anyone’s standards. The Socialites and  New World digital team were able to turn an understandably frightened  online community into highly positive and engaged raving fans by doubling down on communications and putting the community first. 

 Our New World brand even hit a record in positive sentiment, reaching 36% (Zavy May Survey), trumping all major competitors.  Colmar Brunton also released their findings of NZ companies that kept their reputation intact judging from levels of advocacy during the Covid 19 crisis and New World received the highest score in New Zealand by a country mile.

 Zavy also tracked the mood of the nation and compared against the mood of New World’s community. It was noticeably higher on the New World channels, proving the worth of our Socialites Community Management team  giving out some BIG digital hugs.

Everyone was feeling the love.


Let’s face it, less face time means more screen time and our community is turning to social to get them through. This isn’t about winning, it’s about being human.

Hootsuite conducted a worldwide survey recently to uncover social media’s role in helping people cope during Covid19 and from these results. The main findings were super interesting;

  • 83% said that it helped them cope with Covid 19 related lockdowns
  • 76% said that it helped them with their children’s education
  • 74% helped them stay connected with friends and family
  • 65% helped them keep their children entertained and engaged
  • 45% helped with their shopping
  • 43% said that it helped them with their mental health and wellbeing

As a brand, it’s important to help our tribe feel safe, positive and connected and we can see from above that it’s the digital hugs during tough times that your community remembers.


 The Do’s and Don’ts of social media and influencer marketing during this time;

  1. Check what content you have running. Don’t be tone deaf. Know what’s going on.
  2. Be authentic and genuine in everything that goes live. Your community is super sensitive to anything fake and won’t tolerate anything less than genuine.
  3. Listen to your community and talk to them. Make them smile (when appropriate) and always be empathetic in every situation.
  4. Be nimble with your content, much can change and quickly.
  5. Now more than ever influencers and brands need to review their collaborations to make sure their values align, that you’re doing it for the right reasons with the right influencers and that you are being sensitive to the situation and not trying to make a “quick buck” off the back of it. Always start with the ‘WHY’.
  6. Don’t speak negatively about competing brands – remember we’re in this together!

We need to be here to hold our tribe’s hand during a period that will remain uncertain for a while, so those digital hugs, big and small will go a long way.

Get in touch if you need Socialite’s to help with your digital hugs

Big Hugs.