We’ve been preaching the importance of social media marketing for a few years now and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more critical for businesses.
Social media is both a cost-effective way to connect with your target audience online and the place where your target audience is spending more time than ever. In fact, social media usage in Canada is up 70% since January.
If your business isn’t on social media, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to stay in touch with your customers, reach new people and inform your followers of changes to your operations.
As with so many other aspects of our lives these days, it’s not quite business as usual on social media either. Here are some of the ways you need to adapt your social media marketing to connect with your followers in the most effective way during COVID-19:
Help Your Followers Meet Their Current Needs
Pointing out the obvious, everybody’s life looks different than it did a few months ago. The increased amount of time spent at home has brought on a whole new set of challenges.
This presents a huge opportunity for brands to help their followers conquer these new challenges. This could be showing how your products can meet their needs, sharing tips on working from home or simply providing much-needed entertainment and positivity.
This may not translate directly into sales and revenue but can go a long way in building engagement and long-term brand loyalty.
Prioritize Social Customer Service
There’s no better time to embrace the “social” part of social media. Clear communication and customer care are more important than ever. Lucky for you, social media is an effective tool for both.
Use your social media platforms to keep your customers up-to-date on your latest business news. That could be communicating information on closures and reopening, sharing modified business hours or educating customers on new protocols if you’re an essential service.
It’s especially important to share with your followers how they can still access your products and services. Make sure they know about your online store if you have one (especially if it’s new!), new protocols when staff visit customers’ homes or how they can place an order for delivery or curbside pickup.
You should also be using social media for customer service by engaging directly with your followers in comments and direct messages. Even before COVID-19, 67% of consumers had engaged with a brand’s social media for customer service needs and 42% of consumers expected a response within an hour. As a business, you need to go where your customers are (which is social media!) and help them meet their needs there.
If you were only using more traditional forms of customer service such as e-mail, telephone or in-person assistance, there’s no better time to embrace social media as an additional customer service platform.
Change the Times You Post At
The pandemic’s life impacts have not only changed how and how often people are using social media, it has also influenced when they’re using it.
Generally speaking, posting around lunchtime is the new winner for engagement.
Take a look at Instagram, for example. As Sprout Social has discovered, Friday morning used to be the winner as far as engagement in 2020 went. Since COVID-19, posts on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays around 11 am CST, as well as 2 pm on Tuesdays, are the ones that get the most engagement on average.
For more information on the new best times to post on social media for each platform, Sprout Social has published insights to help guide your new posting schedule.
Keep in mind, these are numbers from across a wide variety of brands, industries and locations. Take a look at your own insights to see at which times you get the most engagement. Without looking at your own data, you won’t know if your audience of night owls now only log on in the morning or there’s just no point in posting on a Tuesday anymore.
Be Sensitive and Empathetic With Your Messaging
One wrong move and you could be the “Kendall Jenner Pepsi Commercial” of COVID-19. It’s critical when creating your social media content that you’re mindful of the changes in the world and the challenges people are facing because of them.
What does this mean for copywriting? Well, it’s definitely not the time for social media copy to use words like “infectious mood” or “killer deal”.
You should also strike the right balance between being positive and not ignoring what’s going on in the world. Yes, you can do both!
It all goes back to meeting your customers’ new needs; provide the information, resources and positivity they’re looking for without ignoring the challenges going on in their lives and the world as a whole.
It’s also important to adjust your call-to-actions. The urgent call-to-actions that are often highly effective in typical times such as “Buy now before it’s too late!” or “Don’t miss out on this offer!” may now come across as insensitive and opportunistic.
Focus on letting your audience know what’s available and how they can access it, but don’t push too hard or all you’ll do is push them away.
Embrace Video Content
If video still isn’t part of your social media strategy then it’s really the time to give it a try. With the increased amount of time people are spending at home, they’re turning to videos more than ever for information and entertainment. In fact, YouTube usage increased by 15.3% in March in the United States alone.
What should you create videos about? As with everything, that will depend on your unique business and audience.
Some ideas that will work for most businesses include sharing updates on your operations, talking about products and services, sharing advice on how to navigate our new life challenges and answering frequently asked questions or ones submitted directly from your followers.
Still looking for some ideas? Don’t be afraid to create a poll and get feedback straight from your audience!
Consider Trying Different Platforms
On one hand, you may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of starting a new social media account right now. On the other hand, do you really want to pass up a good opportunity for your brand to be seen where people are spending a lot of time?
If you’re on Instagram but you’re only sharing regular posts, it’s time to give stories a try. Instagram story usage is up 15% since the outbreak, so if you’re not present when your audience is watching their latest stories, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to connect.
TikTok is another platform to consider trying. It’s no longer just for teenagers! TikTok usage was already on the rise but the pandemic has served as a catalyst for its explosion in popularity, with a 27% increase in downloads in the first 23 days of March alone compared to February.
While TikTok functions a bit differently than the other social media platforms, it’s an excellent place for sharing entertaining and informative content in a creative format.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help take your social media marketing in Brantford and Hamilton to the next level.