Not every celeb and social media influencer kept up with their social feeds during the pandemic's outset. Jonathan Cheban, aka Foodgod, was one of them. The severity of the moment didn’t seem a good fit for his social posts, Foodgod said during a 5WPR webinar. Below are takeaways from that session.
Stay True to Your Brand
Foodgod urged webinar attendees not to post for the sake of posting. Listen to what’s going on and figure out where you fit in, he said.
As leaders and officials are talking about plans to reopen, it might be time to start posting again.
Still, you won’t see Foodgod joining a pushup challenge or dancing on TikTok. It’s not him. Moreover, he feels there’s little he can convey about his brand by dancing on TikTok.
“I’m taking this very seriously and I’m not doing funny challenges and all that stuff because you have to keep your credibility…that’s the most important part.”
He’ll post content that’s true to his brand, including information about his food-delivery service. The service is relevant at this moment, he said, and builds brand credibility.
Be Sensitive to Post-Pandemic Social Culture
Foodgod thinks the ending of stay-at-home orders will look similar to the early coronavirus days. Restaurants, for example, will open the way they closed, at partial capacity. Slowly, they'll welcome back larger groups.
It will be a while before clubs are fully functioning, he said. When they are back, it will be important to be wary of taking advantage of the situation.
For example, clubs marketing mask parties can appear “scam-y, and not funny,” he said. For now, prepare to socialize at half-empty restaurants. Foodgod admits this will be weird, but it’s better than sitting at home.
Restaurants and other industries "will figure out something when we’re not waiting for it every minute…when things start opening up, it’s going be a lot easier because you’re not going to be sitting home watching CNN and Fox 24 hours a day.”
TikTok isn’t for Everyone
As mentioned above, you won’t see Foodgod dancing on his or anyone’s TikTok feed.
Some brands, though, are suited to marketing on TikTok, particularly toy sellers and those with audiences younger than 18.
Foodgod recognizes his opinion about TikTok sounds similar to the naysayers during the early days of Instagram. Many of those naysayers fell behind on Instagram and were never able to catch up, he admits.
A Tough Road for Influencers
As you might expect, his advice for influencers is to post judiciously. Easier said than done, Foodgod admits. While it may go against everything an influencer knows, it’s better to be sensitive at this moment and remain quiet, then put out a tone-deaf post, he said.
Erring on the side of caution is recommended. Unless you are a health care professional, this really isn’t your time to shine.
Influencers who have made mistakes during the pandemic have become targets. Unfortunately, their actions will follow them.
Brands' Actions will be Remembered
Ditto brands. Consumers will remember companies that were easy to deal with during the pandemic and which ones refused to give refunds or made life more difficult.
The same goes for one of Foodgod's specialties, restaurants. Those that remained open, and shifted how they functioned so they could continue to feed the community, as well as provide employment, will receive much more respect and support post-pandemic, Foodgod predicted. [By staying open] they kept people working, the business going "and you kept your neighborhood people happy,” he said.
Bobbie Windatt is AVP, corporate communications & marketing, 5WPR