How Social Media Strategies should adapt during Tough Times
As the impact of COVID-19 continues to unfold, brands and agencies need to keep a close eye on the changing consumer behaviors and effects on individual industries. Instead of a “wait and see” approach, move forward, by looking at the performance data, by adapting the campaigns.
Understanding the current digital landscape is an essential piece of the puzzle in these times of uncertainty. Remaining silent is not an option. As people spend more time being socially distant, they’re turning to social media to fill some of the social-need for interaction. How could your brand become part of the conversation? How should you build up your brand’s presence in tough times?
Follow us and discover below the path to answers that will help you get prepared for the unknown and find new opportunities for growth.
Business as (un)usual
Communicating during and after a crisis can be nerve-wracking and challenging. In tough times, expect nothing but the unexpected. Plans might fail, but preparation is the key to your tenets for success.
First thing first: understand where, who, with whom you are, what you know, what you can and can’t do. More specifically, make a list with your certitudes, starting with your resources, and build your action considering this checklist.
What about the role of social media in your Marketing Strategy?
It’s even more important than before when people spend much more time online.
With over 2.4 billion monthly users, Facebook continues to be the social network equivalent of mass media. Though authenticity becomes more valuable nowadays than Instagram aesthetics, visual creativity continues to be the key to capturing attention on Instagram. On LinkedIn, the “Wall Street Journal” of the social media world, share content focused on opportunities to learn and grow, ideas and tools to get involved in the community while distancing etc. YouTube remains the most people’s go-to video platform and the second largest search engine after Google. If it’s appropriate for your brand, showcase your team’s creativity on Snapchat, and engage young audiences on TikTok.
But things are not the same. In tough times, marketing and social media managers need to do what they have always done best – adapt.
Adapt successfully by following these steps:
- Stay on top of the latest trends.
- Watch the data for insights.
- Understand new consumer behaviors.
- Adapt your messages, staying true to the brand’s character and voice.
- Hit the schedule button after reviewing the best days and time to post.
- Be kind and mindful when engaging with your brand’s fans.
- Each post and interaction become a learning opportunity to adapt the messages from your next editorial calendar. Learn and grow.
3 steps in understanding the new dimension in buyer personas
We have attended the Business Virtual Summit on June 29th– July 1st, and we learned from Alexandru Negrea, in his session “How Social Media Strategies Should Adapt in Difficult Times” about the importance of taking into consideration the new dimension in buyer personas when strategizing your efforts in crises. Have in mind the customers’ or fans’ goals and worries, and be helpful.
We take this advice from his valuable session and decline it in 3 steps to follow in order to respond to this new dimension in buyer personas:
- The first step consists in understanding and being empathetic to how the customers’ needs and behaviors are changing. In pandemics, the period of isolation and uncertainty determined massive night changes to people’s online consumption and shopping behaviors.
- Communicating with online customers about what they need to hear in times of crisis comes second. Increased “work from home” periods naturally led to an increase in the time spent online for personal use. What kind of content do you share with them? And when? Be mindful.
- Performance specialists, together with content creators, should continue to look at their performance data and quickly adjust campaigns as needed. This monitoring process is now more important than ever because it leads to the 3rd step: optimize customer experiences for the “new normal.”
Rethinking Influencer Marketing and Performance Marketing
Influencer marketing was one of the most successful marketing strategies in 2019-2020, but it’s the area hit most by uncertainty. According to a research and infographic from Killer Infographics, 71 percent of the millennials are more likely to purchase online products and services which are recommended by others.
When adapting your social media strategy, have in mind these three valuable observations learned at Back To Business Virtual Summit:
- Acknowledge the new dimension in influencer marketing: the connection between a brand and an influencer doesn’t disappear when a campaign ends, so be mindful when choosing who you work with.
- Always track the results: use utm links and personalized promotion codes to monitor the impact of the partnership with an influencer in terms of awareness, engagement, and most importantly, traffic to your website and purchases.
- Prepare for change. Be flexible and creative. Nowadays, there are burden questions about social media. Will the Facebook advertising boycott force the social media giant to change? The answers evolve day by day, but what we know at this point is that “Facebook relies mostly on ad dollars from small and medium-sized businesses, which typically can’t afford to buy ads on more expensive media with broad reach such as television, and direct response advertisers, who urge consumers to take action, such as make a purchase or install an app.” – Jessica Guynn and Nathan Bomey.
10 Recommendations for a new content approach in tough times
In tough times, used wisely, creatively, and mindfully, content marketing can act like a life jacket that helps your business stay afloat. Find growth opportunities in business hollows. If you had to close the doors of your business or you are now unable to sell your goods or services, continue to have a voice in digital and share content aligned with your brand values. Learn better how to dig into your findings, how to in-depth analyze the results, and use data-driven insights to help shape your content marketing plans.
5 mistakes to avoid in tough times
- Going Silent.
Social media is here to stay, so in order to exist, stand for something. Align to the global trends, but always build up your message based on your values.
If in pre-pandemic, you have invested time, money, and creativity in building up an online community, you cannot just disappear. It will be more difficult and more expensive (through paid content) to reach the same results in terms of engagement, impressions, traffic, etc. when you’ll come back after a long break than continuously keep in touch with your audience.
- Ignoring Reality.
Covid-19 is affecting everyone around the world. Be mindful when posting. Take some time to adjust the content calendars.
- Resistance to Change.
Available in crises, but in normal times, too: routine is good, but not when it builds a large gap between your brand and the path to success (or survival). Use your listening tools and do not change what it works, but do not keep posting what is not relevant.
- Fear to Experiment.
If the unknown holds you back, there’s no room for growth. If polls, stories, Tik-Tok, video sharing, live-streaming are new to you, be open to learn or ask the support of skilled-hand social media managers.
- Investing, but not tracking.
How could you properly shape your business and marketing plans if you don’t use data-driven insights? Look carefully, but have in mind that while monitoring and reporting your key performance indicators (KPIs), put an asterisk next to the months associated with COVID.
In times of uncertainty, we cannot know if the results we register now will be long-lasting.
5 things to do in tough times
- Keep Posting. Stay Connected.
Staying connected is now more important than ever. In April-May 2020, Facebook and Instagram have seen a 40% increase in usage due to Covid-19, with views for Instagram Live and Facebook Live doubling in one week. Social Media reports show that across all industries and networks, the number of posts sent per day remained about the same on average. Refine your content mix, make strategic choices, be relevant, and emphasize quality over quantity.
- Get a pulse on your audience’s interests. Social analytics can help shape your strategy moving forward.
- Serve as a resource. Share your expertise or on-brand tools, templates, inspiring quotes or white papers.
- Keep tracking.
Social analytics can help shape your strategy moving forward. Use remarketing to engage to past customers, be consistent, but have an appropriate tone. You already know that tracking the conversions will help invest more effectively.
- Focus on engagement. Try and shift from conversion messages to engagement and see how your fans receive your message. Take into consideration not only the message itself but these aspects, too:
- the type of social content you produce,
- the tone of voice,
- the relevance to customers.
We are all affected by the pandemic in different ways. Be kind. Embrace a compassionate approach, not losing your brand’s values. At the Back to Business Virtual Summit, there was a universal message amongst all sessions: in tough times, stand for something that matters for the community, and this will ultimately lead to long-term consumer trust and loyalty.
As a business owner, advisor, marketing manager or strategist, choose to have a consistent, appropriate, and relevant voice in social media. Use the above guidelines and build up a strategy that will shine and serve your way like a North-Star. Don’t give up; don’t get silent. Remain present, because only those brands that connect with their audience will be top of mind when things will be back to normal.