In light of the recent pandemic, social media has taken on an even more important presence in our lives.
As more people seek community and connection online, social platforms have provided consumers with a place to find news, support and refuge. This, in turn, has created both opportunities and challenges for social media marketers.
With people spending more time on social now than ever - 70% more according to Facebook, there’s more potential for the right eyes to see your content. Additionally, we’re living in a climate that values quality social media content highly. So, how can social media marketers make the best of these circumstances and create consistently relevant content to show to their followers?
To answer this question and many more, we picked the brain of Devin Bramhall, the then VP of Marketing and now CEO of award-winning content marketing agency, Animalz. As a content expert, Devin is well-positioned to give insight and provided us with some really useful takeaways from the Q&A session we held with her - you can watch the full talk here.
It goes without saying that every brand is unique, and therefore each approach to social media marketing will differ. But, if you’d like pointers for finding out how you can create more relevant social media content to sustain your or your client’s brand through this tough period, then keep reading.
What kind of social media content is relevant right now?
Creating social media content against the backdrop of a global pandemic has inevitably been a learning curve for most social media marketers.
Most marketers have had to adjust and rework their content and social media strategies while learning to pause, prioritise and plan their workloads in order to stay relevant on social.
So how have the rules of the content game changed, and what kind of content should marketers be striving to create under these unprecedented circumstances?
According to our expert Devin, though the social media marketing landscape may seem unrecognisable, it’s more similar to pre-COVID-19 times than you might think.
In fact, she emphasises that COVID-19 hasn’t changed the core values of content, or what people want from it - the overarching goal should still be to provide value to consumers.
5 universal content marketing tips:
- Creating content means being helpful - marketers have to deliver something that people need, make people’s job’s easier or teach them something new.
- Consumers have an eye for dishonesty - being authentic is the only way forward.
- Knowledge is power - in times of extreme change, consumers latch onto information. Give your or your client’s audience content that’s backed up by meaningful data.
- When a physical connection has been broken, people will rely on a digital connection instead - if you can facilitate that connection then consumers will rally around your or your client's brand.
- Providing clarity creates trust - the more transparent brands are, the better the response their content will receive.
It’s the job of content creators and social media marketers to be mindful of the content that they produce, particularly during tough or sensitive times.
Ultimately, providing support to customers and consumers is what’s important and social media is the ideal channel to deliver that.
What are the dos and don’ts of creating social media content during a crisis?
Now that you know the universal principles for creating relevant social media content, it’s time to run through some content creation tips.
Despite the unchartered waters that marketers are facing, it’s still an exciting time to rethink the value that your or your client's brand could bring to customers, and could change the way that you market altogether.
9 tips for posting social media content during a crisis:
- Do keep experimenting - now is a great time to learn what works and what doesn’t on your or your client’s social channels.
- Do be more human - the more human your or your client's brand tries to be, the more positively it will be received. Show fallibility when you can.
- Do try to distract your audience from their day-to-day reality - the more targeted content you can create to distract them, the more people will attach themselves to your brand.
- Do create original copy - phrases like ‘in these uncertain times’ and ‘in times of crisis’ have been overused. What can you say that’s different?
- Do think creatively - be unique and avoid copying ideas from your competitors.
- Don’t be paralysed by the fear of doing something wrong - this experience is a learning curve for everyone, including your or your client’s customers.
- Don’t be afraid to post less on social media - 5 impactful tweets are better than 500 that get ignored.
- Don’t insert yourself into a conversation where you don’t belong - this is insensitive and may give prospective customers a negative view of your or your client's brand.
- Don’t put yourself on autopilot - when disasters hit, you’ve got to be switched on and ready to react.
In social media marketing, adaptability will always be king. So keep an eye on your own feeds. Determining what’s doing well and what’s not will serve as a barometer for your success on social.
5 quick tips for coming up with relevant social media content
The reality is, as a content creator it can feel exhausting to constantly be creative - even more so during times of uncertainty or crisis. Add this to the fact that 78% of content marketers work in small teams of 1-3 people, where time and resources are limited, it creates even more pressure.
Coming up with new ideas is half the battle, but during her Q&A, Devin reminded us that it doesn’t have to be so painful - there are lots of quick and easy ways to do it:
- Speak to your followers and ask them what content they want - tweet out to your or your client’s channels asking followers about the types of content they’d find most useful, or use polls to ask them what they’d like to see.
- Experiment with different content types and formats - why not try creating more video or try paid social.
- Check out what your competitors are doing - see what’s getting the most engagement on their social channels, but avoid stealing ideas.
- Audit your feed - scroll through your feed and take note of the trends you’re seeing and use them as inspiration for your own content creation.
- Ask your team for their thoughts - hold a brainstorming session and ask everyone for their input - often the best ideas come from unexpected places!
Whether the content you create is designed to generate brand awareness or capture leads, it’s always important to be clear on why you’re creating it, in order to avoid wasting time and effort.
Remember to always keep tangible goals in mind when creating content for your or your client's brand. That way, it becomes easier to prove return on investment to your manager or clients.
Which brands are creating great social media content?
Social media isn’t just a place for selling - the best content is uplifting, positive and provides support for the community.
Here are some examples of brands that have produced great social media content, despite difficult circumstances:
Calpack - This luggage company has been hosting care package giveaways on Instagram and creating lots of user-generated content in the process. Giveaways are a great way to produce goodwill and as a bonus, they encourage people to share your or your client's brand around, get it some attention and provide a distraction from the current reality.
image source: Calpak on Instagram
Lexus - This luxury car company is an example of a consumer brand that has managed to join the conversation without appearing insensitive. Although making big purchases may be the last thing on consumers minds in difficult times, this Lexus ad demonstrates that companies must still try to capture whatever business they can get right now.
image source: Lexus on Facebook
Wendy’s - This American burger chain is well known for their witty exchanges with customers and other brands on Twitter. However, in response to the current crisis, the brand has chosen to pause their usual snarky tweets in favour of embracing positivity and community instead, winning them tons of praise and engagement.
image source: Wendy's Twitter
Remember that you don’t need to be a big brand to make a big impact on social. Start small and remember to spread joy and be helpful.
Social media marketing has never been as important as it is today.
The work that social media marketers do helps to keep people entertained, informed, in touch, and united during times of crisis and uncertainty.
So keep going and keep creating!