Staying Connected During COVID-19: Executing a Powerful Social Media Strategy for the Future

Insight

by Jonah Malin, 4.22.2020

We’ve seen some pretty radical changes occur in the marketing and advertising industry from both a B2B and B2C standpoint. Content, and more importantly, the way brands are interacting with traditional platforms is shifting. If anything, the past month has offered marketers an accelerated glimpse into the future of marketing on social media. Video is exploding. And we are collectively trying to figure out how to nurture customer relationships by delivering the right content in the right formats.

With everything going on, social media can sometimes be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you want to be innovative and distinct while staying true to the essence of your brand. But you also need to be very conscious of everything happening in the world around you. This may feel like an impossible line to draw, but with the right strategy in place, you can lead the next wave of enviable marketing campaigns on social media.  

Whether you’re a small team at a creative agency like us or a Fortune 500 brand with millions of followers, here is how you can execute a powerful social media strategy in 2020 and beyond. 

Where To Begin 

Everything starts with research and understanding where your audience lives online. Follow Twitter scuffs, join private LinkedIn groups, start conversations on different threads, ask questions, watch Facebook Live streams from companies in your industry. All of this information will provide you with the insights needed to curate impactful messaging. Now is the ideal time to take a deep dive into your audience personas and identify the content that will truly connect your brand with the people who support it. 

Planning out future marketing activities on social media while things are constantly in flux is tough; however, there are a few areas brands should be focusing on: 

  • Context is king: While the needs of your audience may have changed, people are still relying on brands for inspiration and solutions. Their pain points haven’t disappeared. Contextually relevant content will drive value and engagement. Creating “high-quality” collateral isn’t enough anymore. 
  • Lead by being human: Make sure your social media is empathetic. As we mentioned in an earlier post, don’t publish for publishings sake. Internalize what your customers are going through and then figure out how your brand can jump in and join their conversation.
  • Take an omnichannel approach: There is so much free content out there. Every time a consumer goes online, they see hundreds of ads and brands vying for a sliver of their attention. If we’re being honest, people tend to ignore most of this stuff. Being present on multiple platforms strengthens the chance that you will catch their eye.

The Big Four

Marketers need to stay in tune with Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Despite the growing presence of other interesting and possibly industry-disrupting platforms like Tik Tok, Steemit, and Houseparty, the majority of our attention should be focused on “the big four” of social media. We understand it can be tempting to try and ride the first wave of a new platform, but as Pamela Bump of HubSpot said, “while it’s important for marketers to keep interesting platforms on their radar, the first priority should still be to focus time, effort, and resources into the platforms that are already thriving.” 

If you plan on experimenting, we have a couple of suggestions to make sure you’re not wasting time and resources. First, there’s no reason to jump on a trend just for the sake of it. Only do it if the platform makes sense strategically. Will it engage your target audience or be brushed off as a shortsighted attempt at publicity? As we mentioned before, it’s pivotal to understand where your audience lives online. If they aren’t going to join the trend with you, then your efforts will be for nothing. 

Also, do some research into the company that owns the platform. For example, Lasso, which launched in 2018, is owned by Facebook to compete with Tik Tok. Even though it doesn’t get nearly the publicity or celebrity endorsements that Tik Tok does, it may still come into play down the line because it is powered by Facebook and already has all of the resources it needs to succeed. 

Even a platform like Zoom, which has been a clear winner during quarantine, is already becoming somewhat stale for marketers. We are already seeing brands turn back to LinkedIn and Facebook for live streaming and video content to remain cutting-edge.

Trends To Watch Out For

Data-Driven Conversations:

We tend to think of content creation as one part art, one part science. The creation component is only half the battle. And if we’re being honest, that’s usually the “fun” part. But what are you doing from a data-collection standpoint to better relate to your audience? 

At its core, marketing is really about understanding people and identifying trends. We have more data available at our fingertips than ever before; however, marketers often struggle to leverage this data for direction. Yes, it’s great if your team can push out beautifully articulated lines of copy and captivate a reader through a headline. But who is it for? You need to make sure that people won’t just click on a call to action in your graphic and then bounce off the page. We want people who are interested in actually engaging. Data will help you get there. 

Personalization: 

Personalization on social media is one of the key pillars driving marketing forward. A report by Evergage and Researchscape International, that surveyed 314 marketing professionals across global companies of varying sizes and industries, stated that “Seventy percent of respondents claim personalization has a “strong” or “extremely strong” impact on cultivating customer relationships, and 85% say their existing customers and prospects expect personalized experiences.”

Think about what Spotify has done from that standpoint- they have effectively mastered personalizing the customer experience with music recommendations and pre-built playlists. When we open Spotify, it is exciting to find new songs based on our listening history and that makes the relationship we have with the platform stronger.

A few inexpensive tactics to consider are quizzes, polls, and chatbots to open up new conversations with your audience while collecting information. Marrying your digital communication strategy and personalization capabilities will ensure that consumer insights are predictive rather than reactive.

Story-Driven Content:

On social media, consumers want that “Instagrammable moment.” It doesn’t actually have to be on Instagram, but there is a growing desire to know the faces and lifestyle behind a brand. We’ve talked about how important video is becoming, and there has never been a more opportune moment to bring story-driven content and video streaming together to tell the story of your organization. 

Constant Innovation:

In the blink of an eye, our world has gone digital. Previously unimaginable scenarios are playing out like a virtual NFL draft and live stream talk shows that prove just how dependent we are on technology to keep society churning forward.

The main questions marketers must ask right now are:

  • What is technology capable of?
  • Where is it going?
  • How can we utilize it best? 

For marketers on social, this means creating virtual experiences and constantly watching out for transitions in the way we communicate. 

As fellow creatives and marketers, we hope this information helps you build a successful social media strategy moving forward.

As COVID-19 pushes teams into remote, virtual workspaces, our “Staying Connected During COVID-19” series is here to help. Let’s commit to keeping ourselves, our families, and our communities safe, one step at a time. Follow us for tips on how we can further your mission together.

Jonah Malin's headshot

Jonah Malin

Jonah Malin is a creative marketing professional, crafting story-driven content to execute a diverse range of digital, print, and social deliverables.

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