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This is what you need to know about social media marketing during Covid-19

Asif Upadhye, Director at SPRD, explains how it benefits brands to rely on crisis professionals and engage with their audiences through constant communication

Asif Upadhye

During just the first week of India’s nation-wide lockdown, media consumption went up by a glaring 75% compared to the week preceding the lockdown, as reported by Statista. 

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Thus, the looming question is: what kind of content are people consuming and how are brands holding up their social media marketing strategies?

A worldwide survey by SocialBakers reported that consumers are engaging more with organic content than paid, making it a viable opportunity for brands showcase their unique creativity at this time.

It also comes as no surprise that apart from job loss and other cost-cutting measures, marketing and ad spend across industries have also drastically declined. Statistics have indicated that the accommodation and aviation industries have been hit hard with losses up to $1.2 trillion and $84 billion respectively!

With the ambiguity surrounding the complete uplift of the lockdown, there is still immense scope for smart marketers to create engaging content. A few brands are already hitting it spot-on with their efforts.

Getting it right at the right time and place

The posts that received the most engagement on Facebook and Instagram were brands that were not only proactive but also made sizeable contributions to their communities and employees. The Brazilian brewery Ambev got a whopping 771,445 interactions on both platforms after it announced it would use its production lines to make 500,000 bottles of hand sanitiser for local hospitals and cities hit hardest by the pandemic. Italian automobile leader Ferrari pledged $10 million in support of the crisis and leveraged around 297,342 interactions on their Instagram post.

PR: One industry to do it all

Brands are reaching out to agencies and PR professionals now more than ever as they navigate the new normal, communicate with stakeholders, and keep an eye out for the brand’s reputation. While it’s a given that agencies prioritising crisis management will have a lot on their plate, brands are looking to design their corporate communications strategy in a way that helps them avoid PR disasters, while effectively manage crisis situations and more importantly, staying relevant.

The golden social goose

Social media marketing needs constant creativity and innovation in large doses. The fact remains that especially during this period, social media is the one channel of communication that will not experience a setback. With an estimated 375million+ social media users in India, brands can carve out a niche for themselves by aggressively churning out authentic content that is relevant, reliable and consistent. Keeping this in mind, content creation across various social media platforms needs to cater to different types of consumers, have variations in language, and tap into the consumer psyche across multiple regions.

‘Stay in, stay safe’: Making it possible

IKEA was quick to spot how work from home was slowly translating into a makeshift office, playground, school and gym. By focusing on consumer needs, the brand introduced a contactless way of shopping called ‘Click and Collect’ that allowed consumers to collect their purchases in the car parking area so that they could practice social distancing and get their work done. Taking it one step further, they also installed contactless hand sanitisers, separation screens, and physical barriers for safe shopping across their Hyderabad store.

How did they do it?

Ikea was determined to put the health and safety of their consumers, staff, and community first. As a brand they shut shop before the official government guidelines came out, listened carefully to what the consumer wanted and innovated accordingly. The restructured their working module and then communicated the same to their customers in tandem.

Customer support made easy

Remote customer service during the pandemic has skyrocketed. Take for example, Samsung — it provided a contactless service that allowed Samsung users to seek customer support, track the status and repair of their products and stay informed about the latest sales, all through WhatsApp! Samsung created a virtual customer service hub by also launching remote support, live chat and sharing DIY videos across social media marketing platforms with the aim of making life a little easier for their consumers. With more than 70,000 queries resolved every month through remote services and another 9,000 minor queries resolved through the live chat option with customer representatives every day, Samsung is leading the way when it comes to providing real-time solutions and support to their consumers.

Empathise and customise

The bottom line? While taking it one day at a time might be considered a safe communication strategy, it is important to rethink the future and what brands can do to stay relevant in a post-Covid era. Customising brand communication that tells your brand story while empathising with the needs of consumers will help brands leave their mark and be seen as dependable industry leaders. Leading a PR agency, brand or company through a global crisis requires equal amount empathy and business acumen.

While it might initially seem like the safest option to hold back on communication and let go of PR agencies during this time, or rejuggle a few roles to get it done in-house, it actually benefits brands to rely on crisis professionals and engage with their audiences through constant communication.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of BestMediaInfo.com and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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