Parliament Hill

Social Media Recommendations during COVID-19

Below are some recommendations on what your business can do during the current COVID-19 situation to provide relevant information to the public, while still maintaining a positive presence online.

General Best Practices

  • We recommend postponing any promotions of in-person events/openings etc until the health and safety measure permit. Many people find advertising under these circumstances insensitive and it could harm your business more than help it
  • If you have upcoming events that have been cancelled, delete them from your Facebook events page. Avoid adding new ones until you know they will be permitted. If you have online/virtual events, add them as events on Facebook to help spread the word.
  • Attempt to stay positive and promote what you ARE doing, not what you can’t do/what is closed.
  • Avoid using negative hashtags #Pandemic, #Canadalockdown or negative keywords in your messaging like “crisis”, “pandemic” etc. Note that when you use the word “covid” in an Instagram post, Instagram will add a covid message to your post.
  • Always keep your customers or potential visitors up to date on your hours. A simple message pinned to your Facebook or Twitter page is helpful.

Content Ideas

  • Think of ways people can interact with your business without visiting in person
    • Virtual Tours are a great way for people to visit online
    • If a staff member is permitted in the building have someone film them giving a tour of an exhibition or giving details on an interesting artifact
    • Repurpose video content about an activity/current exhibition and frame it as “virtual visiting” versus visiting in person
    • Do an event live on FB or IG (musical performance, cooking demo, science demo, ask a curator – all can be done remote)
    • Consider putting out “behind the scenes” content eg. Tour of a brewery, where your roastery roasts the beans, some great pieces in your clothing store to highlight for spring, how artifacts are cleaned, feeding of animals, maintenance of boats/equipment, how you prepare your most popular dish. This content doesn’t need to be professionally shot or new, just reframed as behind the scenes, virtual visiting/learning.
    • Profile your products on your social channels, especially if you have online ordering options.
  • If you are a restaurant/brewery/bakery/cafe and still offer takeout/deliver promote this. People are eager to support local
  • If you sell drinks/cocktails, consider putting out a recipe a few times a week of your best sellers, enticing people to come try one when you re-open
  • Consider promoting people photographing the outside of your building if you have one. If you don’t feel you are particularly photo worthy, put something in your front window – a positive message on a paper sign, fill a window with pizza/doughnut/noodle bowl paper cut-outs, create a dining scene with stuffed animals in seats, be creative and positive.
  • If you are an art institution, consider teaming up with local artists to give painting/sculpture/drawing demos on your social channels – either as a channel takeover (artists from afar) or posted as content after they are created
  • If you are a sports organization, get players to give tips on how to improve your skills, indoor training etc. You can frame this as an online training camp


  • Tag your local neighbourhood BIA in posts about your business, they are sharing important information through their channels
  • MOST importantly, use the #MyOttawa hashtag and tag us in your posts so we can see and promote your content. If you have a great initiative that we may have missed, or one upcoming please email

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