How has COVID-19 changed social media?

The coronavirus pandemic is a trying time for everyone. For the most part, people are spending more time at home and using that time to consume digital media. So, how should a brand or business use this spike in social media engagement and reach?

Content that matters

At RED, we’ve always been advocates of content marketing that delivers maximum value. Now more than ever, that should be the case when planning your marketing activities over the next few weeks or months.

Aside from checking the news more frequently, most consumers are going online in search of escapism. Marketing teams shouldn’t be exploiting the situation for increased sales, but instead building a relationship with customers and providing a ‘safe space’ for them.

Clothing brand Primark is an excellent example of this with its social media posts over the past two weeks. You can take a look here and here.

It just goes to show that it’s an excellent time to get more creative with your marketing and actively engage in a meaningful way with your customers.

Entertain, don’t sell

Some of your followers may be furloughed or have annual leave with nowhere to go. Many of them will also have children to entertain. Think about whether you can provide something that can keep them busy too.

For example, our client Hitachi Construction Machinery Europe (NV) is hosting colouring competitions for its followers’ children and many brands are also hosting live weekly quizzes. For example, Ski travel company Destination Ski are hosting live ski themed quizzes.

Remember, marketing teams should be working towards helping their social community and building a long-lasting relationship rather than selling.

Finally, keep it light

Everyone is aware of the situation and have undoubtably been checking the news regularly. So, unless it’s ‘normal’ for your brand to share worldwide news frequently (or there is a necessary reason for doing so) there’s no need to refer to the situation every time you post.

If you are a customer-facing business, you might want to let your followers know what policies your brand has in place to keep them and your employees safe, but it is OK to keep your feed positive.

Not only are people looking for some light relief when they go online, but by posting third-party news it opens up a space for debate on your page and the potential for misinformation spreading. If that’s not something you usually do, it could also be challenging to monitor.

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