PROSPER MAGAZINE: SPECIAL DIGITAL EDITION
Though it may seem strange with everything that is currently happening to think about your marketing strategy, social media really remains the key for many businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, social media can be used, not just a way to keep your business front-of-mind, but to ensure it remains relevant in what everyone is calling the ‘new normal’.
In a recent media audit carried out by Midlands-based WPR agency, research has shown that appetite for digital content has increased considerably during the crisis with one online media outlet, covering 26 regional press titles, reporting 200,000 new subscribers to its digital channel during lockdown.
In data compiled by GlobalWebIndex, 45% of global consumers are now spending more time on social media, with logins to LinkedIn increasing by 2000%, a 25% increase in engagement on Instagram and TikTok in April alone, the latter is now receiving 2 billion downloads a week, and retail email opening rates at 40%, higher than the pre-COVID-19 crisis.
Doubling-down on social media has never been easier now that the world seems to have slowed down a little.
Social media gives you more time to build relationships with new and existing customers, experiment with different types of content and, more importantly, take advantage of increased engagement across all platforms.
The Black Country Chamber have run many training courses in recent years to help and advise businesses, and individuals, on the ways and means of running great social media platforms.
Always popular and well attended those training sessions have now moved into the virtual world of webinars, and in recent weeks, members have tapped into the expertise of David Glenright from JC Social Media.
David has shared some of the tools, tricks, and top tips to help manage an organisation’s social media presence, not just through the current crisis, but also into the future.
David told Prosper, “Marketing strategies and plans have had to change dramatically in 2020. With many businesses closing and restrictions on movement in place, consumers are having to act and behave differently. It's important that as businesses we respect that and reflect it in the content that we produce on our social media channels”.
Whilst social media has never been so busy, it goes without saying that with opportunity comes increased competition as everyone is taking to digital platforms, but we’ve put together some top tips to ensure you’re using social media to your advantage.
Cash in on engagement
There is currently a huge opportunity for engagement across social media; research has shown that since the lockdown has been put into place, engagement has increased by 61%. Times people spent outside are now spent inside and, on their phones, so this predictable knock-on effect is giving brands the opportunity to position themselves in front of an audience that they may have never been able to reach. Social content has changed roles; it now not only offers information, but also escapism that has never been seen before.
To ensure your brand is banking on this new-found engagement make sure your posts are reciprocal. Using in-app features like ‘polls’ or ‘Q&As’ encourages your audience to interact and share their voice. More engagement equals more share of voice on the feed. Ultimately, the more people who answer your poll, comment on your videos or share your post, the more likely you’ll be seen in the algorithm; building more followers and resulting in more sales when you bounce back.
The right timing is key
Engagement has changed, people are using social differently, and with that comes all-new behavioural patterns. Daily routines changed overnight across the world and this didn’t end with social media, the best time to post has shifted, proving that not only is engagement higher but people are using social media at different times than they previously had.
Since remote working has been put into place it’s been noted that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn have all recently had more engagement during weekday mornings. Both Facebook and Instagram have also seen activity within the week rise and become more concentrated during the workday. Before brands risked the chance of people not catching content during the day whilst they were busy at work, but now thanks to relaxed working, people are now online during the week, therefore making it a great time to post on Facebook and Instagram.
Experiment with your content
Many people have suggested that now is the best time to take a little ‘reset’. If your content isn’t working, then now is the best time to check-in see what you’re doing wrong and even audit your competitors to see what they are doing well. Try some posts you haven’t before, like the polls and videos. Great content is fundamental to a great online presence.
We all know that video is key, and with TikTok hitting two billion downloads a week, this has never been so apparent. Do not neglect long-form video though, especially since people are looking for entertainment. Platforms have now made it really easy to share pre-recorded content, but also live streams; the rise of Facebook Live and IGTV has meant that it’s much easier for brands to interact with their audiences and answer any questions posed to them in real-time. The new IGTV also allows for collaboration, making it easier for brands to connect with new audiences, all whilst aligning themselves with new brands.
Do not be scared to use your budget
Whilst businesses and budgets are currently under pressure and face challenges to adapt in new circumstances, paid activity is still a great way to maximise potential and engage with your core audience. Brand awareness is a low-cost spend, which can serve an opportunity in attracting people now and winning business later.
Ad spend is a flexible tool, with budgets as little as a £1 a day placing you in front of the right people, whose digital attention is higher than ever. ‘Business as usual’ is a term we are hearing a lot, but many businesses and brands have put down the social tools and paused campaigns.
However, a social media blackout altogether is not advised, this flexibility does put you in the driving seat when it comes to campaigns, which is even more important given the uncertainty of the pandemic and its knock-on effects. It means that you can check-in with the tone of your posts, adapt and change them to suit the mood.
Now is the time to ramp up your social presence but, as always, it’s crucial to make sure that you’re looking at the right kind of content that’s sympathetic to what’s happening in the world, more personal – as we all move away from aspiration and towards realism, and providing the information that your customers want.
To find out more about forthcoming social media training courses from the Black Country Chamber please contact Kristian Jones 07976 901502.