• Hayley Cherrett

The 3Cs of social. Staying on your audience's radar.

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

You can breathe a sigh of relief – crisis comms are (mostly) out of the way. Hopefully your audience responded well and you’ve dodged being our new “how not to do crisis comms” example.

So what’s next? It’s time to adjust to the new normal. Staying on your audience’s radar should be your top priority. Crisis or not, we think you can do this effectively on your social channels with three simple Cs:

1. Conversation

2. Community

3. Creativity

But with so many businesses closing their doors and creating more digital content instead, you’re going to have to try harder. A half-hearted campaign won’t be enough to take people’s attention away from the comedy videos and constant flow of memes.

Fortunately for you, being stuck at home means people are scrolling social media more than ever. Here is how you can apply the three Cs in these peculiar times:

1. Conversation

Number 1 rule – avoid adding to the doom and gloom. Unless you are sharing your discovery of a cure, leave the corona conversation to the news. People will switch off and you’ll quickly be ignored.

Instead it’s your job to keep the conversation flowing. Find your own unique way to boost morale. People are stuck inside, so they’ll probably be more engaged than usual, so take advantage of it and experiment with different ways to get people talking.

Conversation starters you could try include:

  • Asking questions

  • Polls

  • Giving practical tips

  • Quizzes

  • Hosting webinars

Adjusting to the new normal also means striking the right balance between being topical and responding appropriately. This example from the University of Nottingham illustrates sensitivity towards the situation. They’re right – it’s not the time for joking around. There’s enough fake news without April Fools flying around too.

2. Community

People need support now more than ever. They’re looking to you for reassurance and want

to know how the rest of the community is dealing with this unknown territory.

Think about what your audience care about at this time – and what they don’t. Although things feel different, they’re still facing the same challenges and they still want to know how you can help them solve them.

So, what could you do to communicate with your community? Create a campaign with a simple hashtag. In times like this, they can be really handy for sharing ideas and bringing people together.

Take this from GoPro. It works well – they’re bringing creatives together and encouraging people to still use the product.

Many of us are stuck at home, but fear not. We are all creative beings, capable of making the most of any situation. To celebrate our homebound selves, GoPro is launching the #HomePro Challenge. We want to see what creative radness, inventiveness or ... err ... weirdness you are getting up to at home.

3. Creativity

The new normal means people might be using your product or service differently. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but you might need to think outside of the box. This has been particularly pertinent for businesses that have had to shut their doors completely.

We think it’s great how many places have been able to share virtual tours or experiences. For example, the British Museum tour gives people something to do and subtly encourages them to visit once this is all over.

Ranking the 3Cs

Under normal circumstances, hitting all 3 Cs might not be your top priority. But things are different now. You need to do everything you can to score 10/10 on all three.

We’ve gathered some examples from Twitter and rated them out of 10 for each C.

Innocent drinks

There’s a good reason marketers look to Innocent. Their ideas are often simple yet effective, including their most recent series of tweets. Although it’s not the most original idea, their use of humour works well. The idea of a challenge also brings people together.

Conversation - 8

Community - 8

Creativity - 7

Disney Parks

With the parks closed, there’s little point trying to get people excited about booking a visit. Instead, Disney quickly responded with a ‘behinds the scenes’ approach. While it doesn’t really initiate conversation, it’s creative and interests their community.

Conversation - 6

Community - 9

Creativity - 8

Brew dog

Pubs and bar closed? That’s no problem for Brewdog. Their online bar creatively puts a positive spin on staying in and promotes a sense of a community.

Conversation - 9

Community - 10

Creativity - 8


At first glance, it might look like Specsavers are trying to hit the 3Cs. But it falls short. The idea is overused. And, while it’s great at starting a conversation, it lacks relevance to their community and what they offer.

Conversation - 7

Community - 1

Creativity - 2

Staffordshire University

It’s all up in the air for universities at the moment, but there’s still that on-going need to engage prospective students.

Conversation - 8

Community - 5

Creativity - 4


Like many other businesses, we decided to give Slack a go to keep track of conversations. Looking at their social media, they’ve done a good job of appealing to people that are new to the Slack community.

Conversation - 7

Community - 9

Creativity - 5


So, how do you think you'd rate out of 10? Is there more you could be doing? We hope using the 3Cs inspires you to think for a little bit longer about what your audience really want from you on social in these stranges times.

Despite the circumstances, we're intrigued to see what businesses do to stay on their customers' radar over the next few weeks...