To say that 2020 has been eventful is a serious understatement. The year started off strong and promising, but quickly took a turn that no one could have predicted. A COVID-19 pandemic, instability within the economy, widespread protests against racial injustice and an “above normal” hurricane season are only *some of the major events that kept us awake at night. Everyone and everything have felt the effects of what some consider to be a pivotal turning point in history – including our marketers and their social media strategies!
While some are writing off the year completely, we like to believe there’s still time to end things on a more positive note. Marketers and brands are adjusting and realigning their strategies to try and keep up. It’s safe to say there’s a good chance you’ll need to hit refresh on your social media strategy, too!
Do I need to change my strategy? Yes – here’s why:
Social media strategies are always evolving and adjusting to trends within society. Savvy marketers know it’s essential to stay flexible and be willing to modify your existing marketing strategies based on what’s happening around you. Whether it be a new social media platform, a reposition because something isn’t working, or new insights and trends that will help step up your social game, there are tons of reasons why you may need to tweak your strategy to reach your social media marketing goals – whether it be to grow your online presence, increase web traffic, generate more engagement, or all of the above!
However with all of the events thus far in 2020, we’re seeing a lot of marketers go back to the drawing board, reevaluate their plans, and some even start over. The strategies that we had all created in January of 2020 are no longer relevant, and in some cases can even seem insensitive. People have changed their spending habits due to extreme financial hardship, and companies are adjusting to stay mindful of this. Verizon scrapped their whole pride campaign due to the Black Lives Matter Movement. The bottom line here is brands must reevaluate, so that your messages that have good intentions, don’t come off as inconsiderate and tone-deaf.
But wait – not everything needs to be scratched!
Prior to deleting all evidence of your previous strategy, it’s important to check the facts – your reports and analytics so far! Not all hope is lost, and there’s still a chance that some of your content performed well, and even was a resource for individuals during this unprecedented time.
Now may not be the best time to focus on closing sales, but it is a good time to build connections and relationships with your audience. It was even proven in a study – messages about helping others grew by 1,174% in March, culminating in 19.5 million messages throughout the month – according to a recent blog by Sprout Social here. If a focus on audience connections and consumer support was already a key in your social media strategy, you’re already ahead of the game.
Where do I start?
It’s important to use all the data you’ve gathered this year, and keep the ideas and concepts that are performing well – don’t fix something that isn’t broken, right? However, it’s important to take into account how things have changed. For example, something that worked in January may not work now, due to the time of the season or changes in society.
Study your audience, and see what is working for other brands and competitors too! A great example of this is the well-known premium ice cream company, Ben and Jerry’s. They’re well known for their frozen treats, but more recently have been recognized for their stance on social media in regards to being against white supremacy and for the BLM movement – read about it here. In order to deliver what your audience needs, you need to understand them. Dig deep into who your audience is – analyze your demographic data, survey your audience, and gain an understanding of what they want – deliver accordingly.
Build your relationships
Now, more than ever, it’s important to prioritize connections over sales, as individuals are seeking more than a sale – they want an authentic, reliable, and two-way relationship with the brand. By engaging with your followers and audience, you’ll establish a sense of trust and community. This assists in building loyal customers and brand ambassadors – they love more than just the product or service, they love the brand as a whole. Glossier does this well with posting stories of photos their customers tagged them in!
It’s no secret word of mouth and reviews are majorly important to your brand’s reputation. For example, take Roots – a brand millions of people love, and not just for the high-quality products. Try building the same unwavering loyalty for your brand too!
Pull it all together!
Once you’ve evaluated everything necessary, it’s time to pull your data and information together to make fact-based decisions and changes. Keep your concepts and ideas brand-focused, appropriate, and effective – something that may have worked for a company in a different industry may not be the right fit for you.
Be mindful that a lot of industries have been impacted by COVID-19 and the additional events of 2020 (see entertainment, tourism, etc). Buyer patterns have changed, and people are not spending like they were before. Understand where consumer behaviour has changed for your industry, and utilize this information to understand where your strategies may need adjusting.
Planning for the future, and understanding that it may be a little unpredictable (we’re looking at you, 2020) is a surefire way to keep your strategy up to date and effective. We understand that this is easier said than done (we truly do), so we’ve provided some great resources we often rely on for the latest information below! Also, if you’re looking for some creative inspiration, some of the best social media campaigns of 2020 are highlighted here.
Above all, remember that at the end of the day we’re all human, and COVID-19 (amongst the other events 2020 has brought) impacts and has impacted everyone differently. Stay mindful, stay kind, and stay safe!