We all are facing tough times, when time is rough, it isn’t uncommon for brands to struggle with their voice and being perplexed on setting the tone, particularly on social media. The question arises, ‘do you stick with your old strategy and pretend that the business is usual?’ (hint: absolutely not). ‘Do you change your strategy and feed your audience with only COVID-19 related posts?’ (hint: probably not). Many brands and agencies are scrambling to respond to the on-going pandemic COVID-19 that is gripping the world and developing a channel of appropriate communication that helps your brand to connect with their audience during these tough times. During times of such emergencies, social media has played a crucial role, more than ever to establish an important platform for both- the brand and its audience.
The effect of COVID-19 has lead to many unusual things, from students graduating their high school online and practising social distance, self-isolation in full effect, people have been relying on their phones, particularly platforms like social media to kill time and reignite a sense of community that has been lost in this pandemic. With momentary respite against the cabin fever, eager to break from the slew of coronavirus-related news and reconciling with decreased productivity. Here there are, people doing multiple photo challenges, cooking and baking and posting on social media.
The activity of common masses has increased tremendously between emails, push notifications, tags in posts, sharing dog videos to memes and a visible increase of screen time 100 percent. Instead of tapping into their guilt through the surge of their online activity, people have been slipping into the vortex of curated virtual life- a lot more now. This leaves a lot of space for brands to peep into the audience’s mind and still maintain the buzz, forming a relationship and ensuring that your brand isn’t lost between the chaos.
Why is Social Media Important in a Crisis Like COVID-19?
Let’s focus on some important data:
- As per one research, Facebook saw an overall 70% increase in usage of social media in March. People are using these apps to keep them entertained, connected and informed while spending all their time at home.
- Marketers are more precise to spend their time in all their areas with the inclusion of social media but real-engagement methods like emails and media platforms, continue to build a brand and keep their customers engaged.
- Masses are turning to multi-channel social media, for instance, TikTok and Snapchat are defined as a source of entertainment, a mere distraction during this time.
These data make it clear for now that this is a convenient time for marketers to double-down on social media and build a relationship with potential customers. Since all your audience is using social media, now, more than ever, brands need to approach a new marketing sense that is intentional, to the point with an empathetic nature in their strategy.
Understanding Your Audience
This is the most important piece of any marketing strategy but it is the most critical thing during a time of crisis like this. Often a question arises, that how a non-medical layperson is supposed to take accurate information on digital platforms. There is medical staff posing with ‘We stay here for you, please stay home for us’ and typically begging people to follow these orders. The question arises, why are we seeing more emotional content than a concretely informative one? Marketing relies heavily on empathy, which in turn, then relies on an understanding and emotional support of the people that you’re talking to.
It is important to take a step back and re-acquaint yourself with your ideal customers, identifying the basic information such as age, location, gender and income level. Once the general outline has been figured out, like yourself, ‘what does this mean’? ‘How can we make this information more fruitful’? Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and see how they are now dealing with working from home, keeping up with kids and trying to stay fit while in quarantine. It is about trying to know them personally that helps you to find a new way to share your product differently with different people. Analysing on how to pivot on meeting the needs of your customers.
This in-depth knowledge of your customers will help you in defining the tone you need during crises like COVID 19 and beyond. With this, you build a strong and long-lasting relationship that sustains even after the crisis is gone.
The Focus Shouldn’t be on You But Your customers
Your business should make money for you to survive. We aren’t suggesting you forget that, but (firmly) advising you that in the middle of a global pandemic, it isn’t the right time to focus on just the KPI’s. Their priority will move to the top eventually, but it is best to assess what success means now vs what it looked like back then.
ROI isn’t Everything
ROI is king, we know, it is important. For now, it’s the engagement metrics that matter the most, like clicks, shares, likes, comments etc that are treated as a better gauge while people aren’t willing to purchase during a time like this. The goal is to build a mutually beneficial relationship with new and current customers. People aren’t in a mood to invest or buy in your product (right now) but they will eventually. Why not invest this time in winning their trust and putting your business in the position as, when they can open their wallets, it’s your business they choose to.
Not Sure Where to Start, Here’s an Idea:
- Experiment with new types of content like video. It doesn’t have to be professionally done but you just give your audience a new way of engagement.
- Your audience will be commenting on your posts more, keep an eye on that.
- Keep it light, casual and entertaining for your audience. They are already jacked in this pandemic, your posts should either be informative or entertaining.
Don’t let this uncertainty stop you from taking action and being present for your customers. There are multiple ways to connect and drive to purchase during this time who are available and active. Your audience is already looking for distraction and what’s a better way to use this platform to develop a feeling of the community since that is something which is lost during this pandemic, right?