How will mask abandoning impact your business?

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

To mask or not to mask has caused some seriously heated debates wherever you go, namely, social media. If your newsfeed hasn’t featured an argument on wearing a mask, then I don’t know where you have been!

In the age of social media, social listening can give you critical insights into people’s views. However, life can be portrayed through rose-tinted glasses, so it is best to use search insights in conjunction with other research methods since website searches are not filtered. Furthermore, search listening applies to all industries and businesses, no matter how big or small. So you may have escaped the chat on Twitter, but you certainly won’t have avoided being searched for on Google. For more information on what Search Listening is, read our previous blog, which goes into further detail.

So what have we found out?

Over the last year, we have been using conversation intelligence to sieve through the immense chatter online around ‘masks’ in the UK. We want to see the split in people saying they wear or intend to wear a mask versus not wearing it. The searches are as similar as possible in terms of the words and clauses people use to search. English phrases have been used so that the results will sway towards English speaking countries.

To put this into context, here is an example of a post from the search looking for conversations mentioning intent to wear a mask versus intent not to wear a mask:

Those for wearing a mask Twitter screenshot
Those against wearing a mask Twitter screenshot

Intention to wear a mask

Worldwide conversations saying ‘I intend to’ or ‘I do’ wear a mask are higher than the intention not to; however, results are relatively close:

Mask wearing results

Interestingly, the engagement for the posts mentioning they did or intended to wear a mask was nearly double compared to the non-mask wearing conversations. Could this be due to more people being happy to publicly ‘like’ posts referring to ‘wearing a mask’?

To wear a mask Engagements

In contrast, the potential reach is higher from the mentions of not intending to wear a mask. This is interesting considering the mentions and engagement were higher for ‘mask wearing’ conversations. This could be due to influential users in the talks with a vast reach.

With this in mind, you can see how misinformation and rumours can spread quickly and correcting misinformation can become harder once the spread widens. This is why crisis management is in your brand health tool kit.

UK VS US intention to wear a mask

It was interesting to see the US had more voice when it came to people talking about ‘not wearing a mask’. However, as mentioned, the searches were in English; hence, the predominantly English-speaking countries dominate the voice share.

We can see the split between people wanting to wear a mask and people not wearing a mask isn’t clear cut. It is therefore essential to identify what your target audience feels about wearing a mask. This may impact the rules you adopt and especially the way you broadcast them to your followers.

For instance, the “Covid passport” conversations are predominantly negative…

Mask wearing VS not in UK VS US
COVID Passport opinions sentiment graph

How to overcome the "maskument" (argument)

So, what are your plans to overcome this if this is something your establishment intends to adopt? How do you portray this in a positive way to your followers?

One option is to use digital research to look at the positive top themes in the conversations around Covid Passports and adopt these within the content. You can also use audience intelligence to understand how best to communicate with your many different segments within your audiences.

Brand boycotts over adhering to wear a mask

Covid passports have already brought about many brand boycotts, the latest brand being Costa. They received a backlash when they released the rules for proving immunity to drink within the shop. The ‘boycott’ may pass fleetingly with minor damage, but they could be more significant, so you need to be prepared. Would you be prepared? How does your crisis management fair?

Costa and Boycotting results graph

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