Staying connected through social media is a crucial part of daily life, but now that the majority of businesses have temporarily transitioned into online-only sales, it’s also the most valuable tool at your disposal. According to a blog post by Facebook, apps including WhatsApp, Snapchat and Instagram in Italy have already seen a 70% increase in activity since the lockdown began, and 61% globally.
With the UK now in national lockdown and a vast percentage of the population working from home, a drastic change in consumer behaviour is inevitable. As customer priorities change to reflect this economic uncertainty, so should your brand’s – any messaging during this period will speak volumes about your company values in the long run.
As outlined in one of our latest blogs, recent events have caused a huge uptake in business for specific sectors that are at an advantage – like home office equipment and grocery deliveries. Regardless of your industry, there are several adjustments you can make to your paid social strategy, in order to keep engaging your audience and reinforce brand integrity. Here’s how to get started…
Adjust your brand narrative
Rather than focusing on sales, your predominant message as a brand should be ‘how can we support our customers during this time?’ That means veering away from promotional content, unless it serves a purpose for your audience, and keeping your messaging simple, factual and empathetic.
Consumers are looking for brands to lead by example and to contribute to helping everyone out of this pandemic. From alcohol brands making hand sanitisers, to defence firms manufacturing ventilators, we can see examples of this everywhere, but not every business has the capabilities to do something on this scale. Showcasing examples of how your business is looking after employee welfare and adapting to the current environment will show your audience how your brand is supporting staff and protecting the public.
One of the key advertiser concerns at the moment is brand safety, so be sure that your ad creative and socials are sensitively addressing the crisis, rather than exploiting it. If your business is still operating, your rhetoric should centre around how you’re keeping your staff and customers safe - this is a great opportunity to build long-term trust with your customer-base.
Monitor Consumer Behaviour
This is a completely unprecedented turn of events, but it’s also an opportunity to learn more about your consumers. Use analytics and reporting tools like Sprout, Hootsuite and Google Analytics to see what kind of content your customers are sharing and engaging with during this time, as well as what’s driving conversion. It’s also important to keep on top of engagements and comments and respond to any customers who have questions or feedback. Some of the trends we’re expecting to see are as follows:
- A growth in streaming consumption and video gaming
- Live music events will move online
- Increased video conferencing and immersive technology
- 40% increase in e-commerce
- 35% decrease in Out of Home advertising opportunities
- Presenting a big opportunity for digital
Insights like this, alongside the data you gather on the behaviour of your consumers online, will help you to react strategically with your messaging.
Change Customer Experience
Increasing the flexibility of your services is an important tactic for surviving a period of upheaval like this. Now’s the time to push out functional content, and reassure your customers about any new procedures you’ve put in place to keep your business going. That means shouting about how you’re going above and beyond with useful measures like extended returns, contactless delivery options, longer warranties, buy now pay later services, flexible cancellations and additional help for vulnerable customers.
Brands who maintain a presence during this time will see a benefit in customer-relations in years to come, but getting your communications right is vital. Share clear information with your customers about how and when they can access your services in the current crisis – and make sure that any content you put out is valuable, in some way, to your audience. Your communication strategy should focus on providing solutions and products that will build consumer trust, and if you’re a brand that doesn’t offer these things explicitly, you can switch from conversion-based messaging to value-based messaging, in an effort to re-engage customers.
We’re all in this together
When you consider paid social, think first and foremost about how you can improve quality of life for your audience, rather than profiting from the situation. Use your brand voice to be accountable, set realistic expectations and maintain proactive content with your customers. Consumers will remember how your company acts in this time, so authentic, resourceful campaigns will become a long-standing part of your brand identity.