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In 2018 and 2019 we came to realize the full scope of #privacy lost. As a “social media society,” we took a look at all of the data we share on a daily basis and compared it to how that data was being used by different social media platforms. Thus began the social media backlash effect, where consumers swore in droves they would apply #CancelCulture to social media for good.
Then the pandemic came, and as a social media society we clung to our channels of choice (and expanded to new ones) to abate the loneliness that social distancing produced — such that average daily use for social media rose seven minutes globally, compared to 2019.
Here are four tips to help elevate your brand’s social marketing efforts in a COVID-19 world.
Provide clarity and transparency: Has COVID-19 forced you to change the way you do business? Many businesses find it’s easier to push out these updates live on social channels, compared to updating their websites daily. Nothing turns off a consumer’s desire to spend money with your business more than confusion. If you have changed hours, processes, procedures and policies, be sure to communicate them clearly on your social channels.
Create content that is useful, entertaining or inspiring: Easier said than done, right? But if you take your business out of the equation and think about the things you feel emotionally compelled to share as an individual, chances are it’s satisfying one or more of these three core buckets. Your customers are just like you in this regard. They crave content that inspires, entertains and provides value to their daily lives. When you create content with these buckets in mind, you are positioning your business to be more shareable across social networks. Every time someone shares your content they are providing a warm referral for your business to their social media circles.
Start using social listening tools: You can use a free tool like Google Alerts to listen in on sentiments and news regarding your brand, or you can choose to invest in custom social listening tools. Social listening is the gateway to understanding how your customers regard products and services like yours and how your brand stands up to their expectations. You can also find opportunities to connect with new customers who don’t know about how your brand can help them, by uncovering these needs through social listening.
Join the conversation: It’s not enough to listen — there comes a time to talk. Have a plan for how you will address direct messages privately as well as how you will address reviews and comments publicly. Consumers are looking for a higher level of authenticity in their connections with brands. When a consumer invites your brand to their conversation, take that opportunity to let your brand’s personality shine. You are not only satisfying your customers desire to connect deeper with your brand, you are leaving digital breadcrumbs for future customers to help understand who you are as a brand, and what they can expect if they choose to become your customer. When you answer their requests or address their feedback with these two core principles in mind, you are leveraging social media to invest in your brand’s success (which is always time well spent!)
Learn about how COVID-19 changed social media at NCET’s virtual Biz Cafe on Oct. 20 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center from 3 to 4 p.m., with networking from 2 to 3 p.m. NCET is a member-supported nonprofit organization that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology. More info at www.NCETcafe.org.
Cinammon Davies is an account executive for LOCALiQ, part of the USA Today Network (www.localiq.com/markets/nevada/), NCET’s VP of social media and newsletters, and the co-coordinator for the Public Awareness Committee for Soroptimist International of Truckee Meadows.