Social noise is getting louder. The big social media platforms from Instagram, YouTube to Facebook have become overly saturated with content, they may be a staple for digital marketing and advertising, but it is increasingly difficult to target an audience on these platforms.
Those brands that are rising to the top are the ones that are continually refining their unique social footprint, and this is all the more relevant in these unprecedented times.
Developing and enhancing a strong social media persona and ramping up social customer care have always been key but during this pandemic brands have a genuine opportunity to reach out and help their customers feel better.
Whilst Covid-19 is not a marketing opportunity to capitalise on, this is a time for understanding the unique role a brand plays in people’s lives and how this may have changed given the circumstances.
Prior to the health crisis our key priorities for maintaining a strong social persona centred around stopping target customers scrolling past your brand, ensuring nuanced brand conversations were made with real humans and a need to keep a target audience curious and engaged.
Now we are all facing a very new and harsh reality – one where social distancing and self-quarantine lockdowns are taking precedence and ushering in a whole new way of engaging. Perversely this is turning into one of the most opportune times for brands to use social media to offer genuine empathy and add real value.
As any successful company will attest, a brand’s social persona is designed to be positive, offer helpful, relevant information whilst keeping the perspective of a target audience in mind. That very same focus still applies today, but with much greater emphasis on how a specific business can contribute to improving things, where possible. This has nothing to do with hard sales and everything to do with showing the human side of a brand.
And we are already seeing some great examples such as mobile phone operators in Italy offering their customers unlimited data, sports brands offering to customise workout plans in the comfort of our living room, hair brands offering useful tips on DIY hair maintenance through to subscription platforms offering free updates relating to Covid-19 and airlines offering flexibility for travel plans with no fees for cancellations for changes.
The significant mental health impacts of social distancing is something brands need to be aware of as they look to build engagement and connection within their communities. From Guinness committing $500,000 through their Guinness Gives Back Fund to help communities for St Patrick’s Day to Google rolling out free access to their advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities, brands all over the world are indeed stepping up with positive, helpful gestures. Empathy, understanding and even a good dose of appropriate humour go a long way.
Not surprisingly there has been an increased shift to eCommerce and those brands who are prepared to support their changing customers needs and connection points can make a memorable difference to people’s lives. Brands who ensure customer support is structured to help those people who may not be so familiar with eCommerce, such as the elderly, will make this crisis that much easier for them to live through.
Those brands who completely ignore the issue risk being perceived as impersonal, cold, robotic and out of touch. If it is not relevant for a brand to step up and offer support in some way then an uplifting message still conveys a brand personality that cares – and it should care. The era where marketing was a cold, heartless, uncaring vehicle for brands to showcase their wares is well and truly over. The current Covid-19 situation is global, open-ended, and it is affecting every brand, business and individual.
This is without doubt an increasingly difficult landscape for brands to navigate, but it's something that we all need to face together. As we learn to rapidly work within the restrictive confines of this new environment we need to remember there are always going to be opportunities to make peoples’ lives better.
Our business focuses on amplifying and disseminating brand messages and if ever there was a time to offer genuine customer support and assistance where possible it is now.
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