When the team at KFC were planning their latest ‘Finger lickin’ good’ marketing campaign, little did they know a global pandemic calling for social distancing was around the corner. Marketing campaigns take time to plan and implement. As a result, many companies around the world, big and small, have had to shelve marketing initiatives in the wake of COVID-19, costing money, resource and at times, taking its toll on team spirit internally. When putting together new plans they need to be flexible and, above all, sensitive to the current evolving climate. There is enormous value in letting your customers, key stakeholders and wider audience know that you are still in business and that you are there for them during these unsettling times.
The main social media channels have reported a surge in activity since lockdown began, giving smaller businesses in particular a cost-effective way of engaging with their audiences and local communities by ensuring their feeds are regularly filled with purposeful, quality content. Small businesses can also collaborate through joint initiatives to increase reach.
Which social media channel is right for your business?
Focus your efforts on one or two key channels that are right for your business. Purpose-led content does not necessarily have to mean directly helping keyworkers on the frontline, as important as those re-purposing efforts are. Consider the immediate needs of your direct audience and how you can contribute. Could it be entertaining or educating kids at home? Culinary tips for those who are struggling to find ingredients? Fitness at home advice? Or providing the latest updates and guidance on government finance policies during the pandemic?
Social media user behaviour will be changing during this period, so keep an eye on your analytics to identify when you are getting most interaction and which type of posts are attracting engagement to help steer your planning.
Role: B2C, Community engagement
Tone: Personal, approachable
Facebook is a personal space. It is where people connect with friends and family, predominantly sharing light-hearted news and entertainment. Company endorsements through follows, liked and shared content are extremely valuable here - the equivalent of a digital ‘word of mouth’. Facebook stories and Facebook Live now provide additional outlets to share content. ‘Watch Parties’ are also growing in popularity during this period, allowing followers to share a live viewing of your pre-recorded video content with their Facebook community. These functions also allow you to interact with your followers in real time, building additional value into the content you are sharing and encouraging brand loyalty.
Role: B2C, Storytelling, Grow your community
Tone: Inspirational, aspirational, personal
Instagram provides a visual representation of your brand. This is the perfect platform to share your story with attention-grabbling photography, video and graphics with accompanying copy to encourage viewers to delve deeper. More relaxed content can be shared through Instagram Stories and longer-form video content can be uploaded to IGTV. Each of these insta-tools give brands the opportunity to appear more frequently in feeds. Engagement is key here. Take time to reply to comments and engage with relevant industry, genre and local feeds.
People come to Instagram to be inspired and will search through hashtags. Therefore, you can grow your audience by including relevant hashtags on each of your posts. Research trending hashtags connected to your industry, locality and target audience interests to help increase brand awareness organically. Instagram is also the perfect platform for collaboration with like-minded small businesses, harnessing the reach of each brand’s community.
Remember that URL links don’t work within individual post copy, so if you’re wanting to share a blog or longer-form content, you will need to add the web link to your bio and mention it in the post copy.
Role: B2B, Business Development
Use LinkedIn to connect with relevant businesses and professionals. This platform gives you the opportunity to position your business as a thought-leader, develop leads and maintain relationships. Hashtags can also be used here to increase reach amongst a targeted audience. A mix of owned content and curated industry news works well. There is also the opportunity to demonstrate industry knowledge and increase brand awareness through commenting on relevant posts. Encourage team members to share owned-content on their personal LinkedIn profiles to further expand reach.
Role: B2B & B2C, Brand awareness, News
Predominantly a news-led feed, Twitter moves quickly and you will need to update your feed on a regular basis. Consider whether you have the time to invest in this platform before embarking on any activity. Twitter presents the perfect opportunity to connect and engage with relevant businesses and individuals. It allows you to present a professional presence and position your brand as a leader in your field. Hashtags play an important role on Twitter, allowing you to join the conversation.
Twitter can also be used as an effective customer service tool – a way to answer queries at a time when businesses may have reduced capacity to answer phone calls and for customers to provide feedback on the service or product provided through direct messaging or tagging. As such, it is important to respond in a timely manner.
Weathering the storm
During a time of lockdown, an online presence that accurately communicates your business’ key purpose, values and proposition is more important now than ever before. With budget concerns and potentially a depleted workforce, businesses will need to think creatively as to how to deliver any digital marketing plans.
By default, social media channels will inevitably be crowded. It is therefore key that your business delivers authentic and valuable content that will cut through the noise. Through considered planning and dedicating time to developing your content plan, the benefits can be far-reaching and will resonate with your target audience long after this time of crisis is over.
If you would like help developing your digital content marketing plan, get in touch with our team.