During these unpredictable times, pressing questions loom over the heads of social marketers and clients alike: “what now, and where do we go from here?” Living in the era of social distancing presents unique challenges, and learning how to navigate these roadblocks becomes of even more importance.
I’ve gained a wealth of information during Sprout Sessions Digital 2020 through insightful, timely, and refreshingly candid conversations about how marketers can approach the unfamiliar terrain of social marketing during COVID-19. Among the plethora of actionable strategies and next steps that were discussed, I want to share with you my top three takeaways.
Keep it human
While metrics are important, these are difficult times, and beyond the hard facts, people will remember most how you made them feel. The role of empathy cannot be overstated in social marketing campaigns. More than ever, people are turning to content that is relatable and makes them feel understood. Your content should be conveying the message that “I care, I see you, and I am here for you.”
Rather than being “tone deaf” to what’s going on in society, be sensitive to what your audiences are thinking and feeling. Try to sound more human when crafting content, and avoid sounding scripted or robotic. Instead of trying to allude to the idea that life is normal, be real, and be willing to acknowledge that for many people, it’s the exact opposite. It’s okay to be honest about that.
Now is an opportune time to create a safe, supportive space on your social platforms for audiences to ask questions without fear, share how they feel, and discuss their frank thoughts. Be especially attentive to your clients by practicing social listening and responding when they choose to engage. Interact as much as you can, as frequent communication is the key to building a successful brand.
The question to ask is not “what do we think about this issue?” Rather, ask this question: “how are customers talking about an issue?” Stay plugged in to social channels during off-peak hours, and be cognizant of what your audiences are talking about on weekends and evenings. By staying informed about what topics are generating the most buzz, you’ll have the knowledge to accurately tailor content and marketing strategy to your audiences’ whims and wants.
Tailor your strategy
The changes in the political environment should be reflected in your marketing strategy. To stay relevant, your messaging and content must evolve with the shifting needs, sentiments, and preferences of your audience. To determine the direction of your strategy and keep it customer-centric, utilize tools and metrics such as social listening and customer engagement.
For example, monitor what topics are frequently discussed in the comments section on social platforms and assess which topics generated the most favorable customer reactions. What approaches worked, and what didn’t? Use the data gleaned from metrics to adjust and determine the next steps in order to create an effective marketing strategy.
You may discover that you need to take a new approach entirely, but embrace this uncertainty by staying flexible. Be aware of who your audience is, such as clients living in specific geographic areas who may be experiencing the current situation differently than others. By taking the time to understand these audiences, you will be primed to customize your strategy to pinpoint and precisely meet their unique needs.