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Leveraging Social Media in Times of Change

COVID-19 and Social Media

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, businesses of all types have had a lot to challenge them in 2020.

Fewer customers, more restrictive practices and less money coming through the door have all had a huge knock-on effect, especially when it comes to successful marketing.

Research in the US has shown that social media engagement for businesses dropped at the start of the Covid-19 crisis. All industries except education were affected. In the last few months, however, engagement has improved as businesses have started to respond to the ‘new normal’.

Adapting your social media strategy to meet a world dominated by Coronavirus is not easy. There’s no set playbook and everyone, even large corporations, are finding it difficult to respond.

To help, here are our top tips for leveraging social media during Covid-19:

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1. Review your social media content strategy more often

It’s not just the type of content that you are producing for social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. You will also need to look at timings. While some people are returning to the workplace, many are still operating from home.

You may have timed your posts for lunch so that customers were more likely to see them. Normal working days, however, have gone by the wayside for many of us. Some are working less standard hours because of childcare issues, for instance, and this will naturally impact on when posts should be sent out.

On the other hand, you may be seeing an increase in engagement with posts because some people have more time to connect with your brand. That might suggest you can boost the number of posts and get a better return on your marketing activity.

2. Quality posts still count

As before the pandemic, the quality of the posts you send out on social media is important. It’s essential to review your strategy and what kind of information you want to go out but the core elements of great visuals and engaging content remain the same.

Social media is a great way to stay in touch with your fans and make sure they know what is going on, what services you are still providing and what changes you have put in place.

3. Positive posts are more widely shared

In a time when everything is so uncertain and people are not only worried about the virus but their jobs as well, maintaining a positive narrative is also vital. Most businesses do this anyway but it’s worth revisiting and ensuring the right strategy is in place.

4. Creating a sense of community

Isolation has been a key factor during the pandemic with many of us working from home and effectively trapped. Businesses that can develop a sense of community and facilitate contact between people are not only doing a public service but also adding value to the perception of their brand.

Strategies could include encouraging user-generated content or, as Santander has shown recently, helping to connect people who have become separated during the pandemic. Another important strategy is getting involved in and promoting local initiatives to support the community such as food banks.

5. Answering customer queries

Larger companies use social media as a tool for delivering better customer service. With all businesses finding their operations curtailed in some way during Covid-19, it’s a great time to use Facebook, Twitter and the like for answering customer queries.

Showing that you are responsive to questions and comments on your social media feed shows customers you are not only open for business but ready to help as well.

6. Don’t think too far ahead

One thing we’ve learned over the past few months is that things can change pretty quickly. Many businesses work out their social media strategy and create posts to be sent at a later date, sometimes weeks and even months in advance.

A post that was created two weeks ago may suddenly seem inappropriate or frivolous today, however, if circumstances have changed. Planning too much too far ahead can be counterproductive so it is essential to adapt your strategy to avoid any mistakes.

7. Is it a good time for pay per click?

Many businesses have cut their marketing budgets for obvious reasons. That includes finding money for strategies such as paid advertising.

The good news is there are some great deals on keyword bids because there is less competition at the moment. If budget allows, it’s worth looking at PPC again to see if your business can benefit.

8. Video for a Covid-19 world

Before the pandemic closed everything down, most experts in social media marketing were focused on developing video content for businesses. According to Cisco, video streaming and downloads will account for more than 80% of internet traffic by 2022. It continues to be an increasingly vital part of the marketing mix.

Again, this is something which has been curtailed for many businesses because of reduced budgets. Companies that can produce video content or repurpose existing content should see significant benefits.

9. Focus on helping, not selling your products

Check out social media engagement for major corporations and you’ll notice that much of the focus is on providing support and helping people during this difficult time rather than selling products. While pushing products and services is not a forbidden practice, the concentration should be more towards the altruistic side.

10. Creating anticipation

Finally, one key aspect of social media engagement is creating some degree of anticipation for when your business gets back to near full productivity. People are certainly desperate to return to normal, even if we have to wear masks or social distance.

You could perhaps think of your return to business as a product launch. Ensure you have those key marketing activities in place, including social media engagement, to support that return so that your customers know exactly what is happening.

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