Currently, most companies are more worried about survival than marketing when the opposite is true. Having a clear message, presenting yourself as the guide and not the hero, and knowing your audience is the first step to improving your social media impact. However, the most important step is researching, creating, and using the correct content.
“Be ready to shift budget, change bids, and tweak your campaigns daily.” – Jeff Snyder.
Everyone is online. Everyone has to be online due to this pandemic. This means there is even more visual stimulation in our digital world. In order to stand out, you have to have eye-catching and relevant content. The relevant part is more important. Content is always king. However, this pandemic is proving content is king.
What do I mean by content?
This is everything you create and share on your social media platforms. Both the imagery and writing, the text, that goes into your social posts.
You don’t exist on social media if you don’t have relevant content. The pandemic has forced us to accelerate our digital transformation. Social is one tool to help ensure your business’ survival during this pandemic and loyalty afterward.
Create content that resonates with your audience, this builds their image of you and improves loyalty. Start with a problem. What problem are you solving? Make the customer the “hero” of their story. They only need a nudge from you, the “guide”, to know how to solve their problem. Even during the pandemic, we can emphasize the problems we solve. Whether that’s to-go merchant solutions for easy check-out or how to train the Christmas puppy from home.
What content is relevant?
Your target audience determines your content. Mid 30’s executives in big cities, stay-at-home moms, farmers in the midwest, etc. Tailor your content to what your customers are talking about. This is, perhaps unsurprisingly, easy right now. Everything is about COVID. Good and bad. We want to focus on the positive rather than fear-mongering. What’s going on? What steps are being taken? How are we working through this together?
That leads us to why you’re here today. I’m going to cover 5 easy ways you can improve your social media impact by using relevant content to connect with your audience.
1. Content Curation
This is an economical and efficient way to fill your content calendar for the month. Curated content is gathered from a variety of sources, around a specific topic, that you publish and share with your audience. Wherever they may be. This does NOT mean taking someone’s post and sharing it as your own. It’s adding your voice (and value) to a handpicked collection of content.
This isn’t creating your own original content either. That’s the flip side of this coin. However, with budget cuts and many of us working from home using only original content isn’t ideal.
Actually, you have probably participated in content curation for years without knowing. Anyone with a Facebook feed or Twitter stream uses (and sees) content curation first hand.
How to choose which content to curate
Similar to creating a mixed tape for a high school sweetheart, choose the most accurate and relevant content for your audience. Not all content is created equal. Oftentimes, your viewers will turn to content curators for help sorting through the information overload.
For example, you can organize your curated content into categories such as best practices, latest news, events, trends, case studies, and so on.
Saving time, making connections with influencers, building authority — these are just some of the benefits of content curation. Hootsuite has some awesome tips if you want more info.
Know which campaigns are OKAY. Consider shifting your focus to ways that your service can help current customers amid this health crisis. Normally, this is the time of year companies would focus on Summer advertising. You can easily see how it might be a bit presumptuous to place an ad about booking your Disney vacation when everything is closed for an undetermined amount of time.
Disney has been both part whimsical (as usual) and serious with updates on reopenings, how to handle reservations made before the stay home order took effect, and guiding their audience by solving problems for them (for free) they didn’t know they had. Such as their Dapper Dans on National Barbershop Quartet Day. They offered a short, free virtual performance. By sharing this heartfelt video, Disney speaks to its audience in a personal way while acknowledging the separation of social distancing. Also, Disney communicates “We know what you’re missing from us(magic), and we’ve found a way to give it to you.”
Problem: They miss the Disney Magic
Guide: Brings the magic to your home
Customer: Is the hero of their own story by watching the video and inviting a little bit of that warmth and magic into their home
**Disney has a new video featuring the Voices of Liberty, check it out!
The pandemic has put a wrench in most of our marketing plans, however, a key aspect of staying in touch with your audience is recognizing which campaigns are still relevant. And tweaking the rest.
This isn’t the time to push, push, push sales. This is the time to work on our relationships to improve our social media impact. Work on our communication. That is what will increase your sales later on.
Share Covid’s effect on your industry and how YOU are taking action. If there is a problem, let your customers know AND the basic steps THEY take to resolve it (making them the hero of their story). This isn’t limited to only the “big” changes happening with your business.
Sure, you should definitely share if you are offering a new take-out option, or are prioritizing the people’s safety by requiring staff and customers to wear masks.
For example, the DoubleTree by Hilton released the recipe for its iconic chocolate chip cookies. There is a potential “problem”; people are pining for the tastiest (and most aromatic) part of the hotel’s brand experience. By sharing this recipe, brands like this are able to reach their audience in a personable way during a time where their physical place of business is closed or inaccessible. Also, DoubleTree is communicating to their loyal fans, “We know what you’re missing from us, and we’ve found a way to give it to you.”
Problem: They miss the cookies
Guide: Offers the recipe
Customer: Is the hero to their own story by satisfying their craving with the provided recipe
This is an important way to improve your social media impact. Talking about what’s relevant, what’s current will show your audience that you are engaged. This will start social conversations that your audience will engage in.
4. Paid Ads
This may seem impossible. However, many companies are cutting budgets. This has decreased the cost of paid advertising on Facebook, while the number of eyeballs available to see these ads has increased with the Stay-At-Home orders.
Now is the time to use Paid Ads to your advantage. You don’t have to have a large budget. Start on Facebook at $25. The key is to know your audience.
Questions for each ad set are: Who are you targeting, How are you approaching them, What problem is your ad solving for the customer? Experiment. Each ad should focus on one service or product. However, create an ad one way then tweak it and try it another way a second time. ALWAYS have a plan in mind. Don’t go into paid advertising without a plan. You will only waste your time, money, and give yourself a migraine.
Be conscious and aware of your fellow businesses. This is the time to help each other. We will make it through this difficult time together. Share posts, give referrals. Use your networking groups. Ask yourselves how you can help your consumers, your customers, your partners.
Be part of the conversation when it’s appropriate to do so. Engage with your community. Reply to the dissatisfied customer to make amends. Be compassionate with people who have a shorter fuse than normal.
Ask your neighbors, your co-workers, your employees, your customers: how are you doing? Show genuine compassion. Start a conversation. That’s all the interaction we will have for a while.
Most importantly, stay connected. Don’t disappear off the map entirely. It’s understandable that some time is needed to get things back on track. Let your audience know. They will understand.
If ever there was a moment to come together, this is it.
This is how our team is making it through this crisis.
We don’t have all the answers for navigating these turbulent times. The market is constantly adapting as the pandemic evolves. We are evaluating our own marketing efforts through the lens of these five principles to improve our social media impact. Thinking through these has been a helpful exercise in itself for us, bringing a bit of clarity to our teams in a moment of chaos. I hope it’s helpful as you navigate the coming weeks and months with your own teams.’
Want more information on how to help your business survive Covid-19? Read our Blog 5 Easy Tips to Help You Survive Covid-19.