As businesses slowly begin to reopen after coronavirus and restrictions start to lift, it’s a bit like stepping outside for the first time after a Category 5 storm—looking around to make sure it’s safe, surveying the damage, and imagining what the new normal will be.
Most industries have taken a pretty big hit over the past few months and are looking to figure out the best way to rebuild. Some sectors have been shut down almost completely and have had to scramble to survive. Not only has the coronavirus presented a difficult time to run ads, but many companies have also had to cut their ad spending to make up for lost revenue. Facebook has seen a decrease in paid advertising and even large brands, like Coca-Cola, Kohl’s and Zillow Group have stopped or limited their marketing.
The paradox of it all is that the effects of this pandemic have given even more reason to ramp up your marketing. Staying connected is vital right now, especially with people and businesses spending more time at home and on their phones. Internet usage has increased dramatically since March 2020, and many are relying on social media. It’s become the main outlet for staying in touch with others, consuming the news, and simply passing the time. In fact, Facebook and Instagram have seen a 40% increase in usage due to Coronavirus, with views for Instagram Live and Facebook Live doubling in one week. LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, and Reddit have also reported a surge in user engagement since the start of quarantine.
Content marketing channels—including social media, email, and blogs—are among the most important platforms to leverage during these times. In addition to being a cost-effective alternative to other traditional advertising outlets, the social media trend is expected to continue to increase long after coronavirus is gone. Turns out, it wasn’t just a phase, and returning to “business as usual” may not be the most effective path to reaching your audience.
Now is the time to explore, look for new opportunities, and implement creative ways to engage with your audience. Here are a few ways to ramp up your social media and online presence with authenticity and care.
Maintain an active presence
The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” can be especially true for businesses. Success on social media and boosting awareness of your brand requires consistency in terms of your frequency of posts and engagement. A report from the 4A’s found that 43% of consumers find it reassuring to hear from brands they know and trust during uncertain times. Another 40% want to hear how brands are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, while only 15% of consumers said they didn’t want to hear from brands right now.
Become a valuable resource
Use your social media platforms to serve as a trusted resource and effective customer service tool for clients. Provide helpful information about changes in your operations, common FAQs, and what clients can expect as businesses reopen. This offers a simple way to promote important updates and helps lighten the load for your customer service team.
Be a force for good
Advertising doesn’t have to be promotional. Instead, use your expertise to offer valuable insight that relates to the current conditions. For instance, if you’re a software company, highlight the ways in which your technology helps users manage a remote working environment. Keeping your content educational, thoughtful, and empathetic establishes trust with your audience and helps to boost engagement.
Create a sense of community
Interacting with your customers and supporters on social media creates a greater sense of belonging and community while also promoting your brand. Listen to what your audience is saying on social media, respond to comments, and post interactive content that sparks conversation. Not only does this humanize your brand, it also shows your audience that you value their opinions and care about their experiences within your community.