Social media campaigns can be tough for businesses to get right even in good times. In the era of COVID-19, it’s especially difficult to know how to use your social media presence in the most productive manner.
Ignoring the pandemic will make your brand seem either oblivious or tone deaf. On the other hand, posting too much COVID-19-related material will only overwhelm your audience and drown out the broader message your brand wants to promote.
With so many questions surrounding the use of social media during COVID-19, you may be tempted to step away from your social media campaign altogether. However, that’s not really a solution, either. Even with all that’s going on in the world, there’s still room for your brand to play a role on social media.
By this point in the pandemic, it’s much clearer how companies can use social media in a way that is mutually beneficial for both brands and consumers. Read on to gain a better understanding of what you can do to help your business’s social media campaign change with the times.
Reevaluate Your Audience:
You may think you know your target audience. After all, you’ve probably already invested time into analyzing the demographics of your customer base. While you may know who your customer is in normal times, do you know the types of challenges they are facing due to the pandemic? How have their lives changed? What are they thinking and feeling?
Reevaluating your audience’s current needs will help you strike the right tone and ensure you are marketing your product or service in a way that is relevant to their current needs and lifestyle. Some changes that may have occurred over the past few months include:
• Time management. Lockdowns have left some individuals with more time on their hands, while others are busy simultaneously working, parenting, and schooling.
• Health. Most people’s approach to health has changed, extending to both their hygiene practices and their fitness routines.
• Budget. Many families are reigning in frivolous spending to make more room in their budget for essentials.
This is also the time to assess whether your target audience has grown during the pandemic. Has the current situation made your product relevant for different needs or a different segment altogether? There may be new opportunities to tap into and new needs to meet that you’ve yet to consider.
Look at Data Differently:
Currently, purchasing patterns are in a constant state of flux, and you simply may not see the ROI you would have expected in the past. Nonetheless, there are many valuable metrics to consider at the moment other than conversions. Overall, your engagement metrics, including likes, shares, and comments, are going to show consumers’ interest in your brand even if they’re not able to make a purchase right now.
This means you should emphasize developing and maintaining relationships with customers, both old and new. Instead of focusing only on ROI, aim for better engagement so you can be at the front of customers’ minds when their buying behaviors return to a more normal pattern.
In order to gain a big-picture understanding of what’s actually going on with the metrics, you’ll also need to change your timeframe for looking at data. Although year-over-year reporting and analysis may have made sense before, these types of measurements aren’t going to hold the same level of insight in the current climate of change. You may need to shorten your time frames to quarterly comparisons or even month-over-month.
Forget What You Knew:
What were once standard patterns of social media use as far as timing and frequency of use have gone out the window. Many people’s routines have changed drastically as they shift to working from home, caring for school-aged children, and more regularly dining in. This means the best times to post on social media have changed as well.
Fluctuations in lockdown regulations have meant these changes aren’t necessarily the new norm, but there is definitely an overall pattern being formed. For example, as people skip their commute and work from home, they’re also waking up a little later and are less likely to engage on social media in the early mornings. While before Sunday was once the worst day to post, this day now sees a high level of activity on social media as people look to connect with loved ones they may not be able to see in person.
Explore New Avenues:
If you’ve always been curious about how a new content type or channel would go over with your audience, now is the time to shake things up. Whether the experiment is successful or not is almost less important than the insights to be gained by trying something different. Here are some avenues to explore:
• Posting more frequently
• Using videos to inform or entertain
• Trying out a new platform such as Snapchat or TikTok
• Encouraging user-generated content
• Soliciting feedback through polls
Whatever you try, chances are it’s not going to be perfect. There’s no rulebook for these uncertain times, and you’re not alone in fearing a misstep. Rather than being paralyzed by uncertainty, focus on moving forward, even if that means making mistakes along the way. Both your successes and failures will guide and inform your future decisions and strategies. So get engaged, get posting, and get social!