Humans are wired for connection. Which makes our current state of coronavirus-induced isolation especially challenging.
In our need for connection, we’re turning to our screens. The result? Social media platforms have seen incredible surges in traffic as apps like Facebook and Instagram become our primary points of connection.
Over the past month, Facebook and Instagram in-app time has increased by 70% in countries impacted by COVID-19.1 Facebook and Instagram are seeing decreased CPMs driven by this massive increase in social media screen time, combined with a sharp decline in advertiser spending. Matchnode did an internal study that revealed a 33.9% decrease in CPMs compared to the previous 14 days.2
So, let’s take a look at how to leverage this trend for your brand. When done right, a social media strategy can connect you with your prospects and help you forge lasting relationships. Here are 5 tips for planning a pandemic-resistant social strategy.
1. Listen First, Talk Second
Listening has never been more important. Keep your social media strategy focused on engaging in relevant conversations.
Be wary of one-sided communication. When brands communicate with their target audience but fail to listen, they can come across as self-serving.
The key here is conversation. And conversation is only possible if you’re listening.
Now is the time to start monitoring your brand’s social media channels, if you aren’t already. Look for customer feedback, specific mentions of your brand, and discussions of keywords, topics, or competitors relevant to you. Then, analyze your findings and act on opportunities to create relevant content and better meet customer needs.
For brands without social listening tools, these free resources can help you get started.
- Social Searcher: Perform broad social media searches based on topic—for free! You can also set up email alerts for your searches.
- Hootsuite: Schedule social posts and monitor social conversations. Get started with a free 30-day trial.
- BoardReader: Find mentions of your brand or keywords on message boards and discussion panels—for free!
- Mentionmapp: See a map of your social engagement with this Twitter network visualization tool. A free plan is available.
- Followerwonk: Analyze your Twitter followers to optimize your content for what they like best. A free plan is available.
2. Create Real Connections
A recent study revealed that 91% of people believe in the power of social media to connect people—and 78% of consumers want brands to use social to help people connect with each other.3 This presents a real opportunity for your brand, especially now.
Connect your customer with people who can meet their specific needs.
One of the most valuable aspects of great mentors is their ability to introduce you to others. Focus your brand’s social media strategy on building a valuable network for your market.
Through one-on-one conversations, make personal introductions to others in the industry who can help with a specific need during this time.
Maybe your customer needs a business consultant, and you know a great industry-specific resource. Perhaps they need to implement telemedicine and you know the CEO of a leading platform.
You can also introduce valuable people to your entire audience by sharing their profile or highlighting their services.
Show your audience that you share their values and personality traits.
If you haven’t read This Is Marketing by Seth Godin, check it out. His main principle is “people like us do things like this.” Use social media to authentically converse with your audience and prove that you are a person, just like them. This simple behavior will influence them to follow the recommendations of your brand long-term.
Post timely, relevant content.
COVID-19 news moves fast. Make sure you’re not scheduling social content too many days in advance or you run the risk of sending out stale, irrelevant information.
3. Engage Your KOL Veterinary Partners
Reach out to any key opinion leaders (KOLs) or top educators who support your brand. First, see how they’re doing. They will appreciate the one-on-one contact and personal concern. Then, ask them what they’re hearing in the market and what types of support your audience needs.
Engage in a collaborative effort with your veterinary industry partners to produce content, create value, and engage in meaningful social media conversations.
Don’t underestimate the value of a social media strategy that includes cross-promotion between your product and those of your partners. Make sure you’re using proper mentioning and hashtag strategy to maximize exposure.
New Social Media Tools, Ideas & Tutorials
We’ve collected links to several new social media tool releases, innovative social campaigns to get you thinking about ideas for your brand, and free social media tutorials and courses.
- Instagram launches Co-Watching, which lets friends on video chat browse feed posts together
- Anchor expands Record with Friends to make remote podcasting easier across devices
- Museums launch virtual tours to keep engagement up during social distancing
- Ina Garten shares her culinary chops by showing us how to make a cosmo…at 9:30 am
- 10 Free Online Courses for Learning Social Media Marketing
- Digital marketing courses free or discounted for COVID-19 pandemic
4. Grow Industry Partnerships with LinkedIn
LinkedIn is not the most popular platform with veterinarians. However, adoption of LinkedIn is a high priority for business leaders in the industry. Reach out to company leaders with synergistic goals via InMail to schedule virtual meetings.
This is a great time to form mutually beneficial collaborations with others in the industry. Relationships you build now can serve both parties in the long-term.
5. Beware of Opportunistic Approaches
It can be tempting to try clever messaging tactics that position your brand or service as a pandemic must-have. But this approach can easily be perceived as opportunistic. Consumers are smart. Even if you think you’re being clever, they’ll see through it.
That doesn’t mean you should stop marketing and doing business. Instead, make sure your call to action is sensitive and tactful. Check out our recent post about how to avoid tone-deaf messaging for tactical copy development tips.
If your company sells a product that is especially relevant right now, or you want to reach your audience with high-value content, there truly hasn’t been a better time to get involved on social media.
- Shultz A. Keeping our services stable and reliable during the COVID-19 outbreak. Facebook Newsroom. Published March 24, 2020.
- How coronavirus is impacting Facebook ads. Matchnode. Published March 2020.
- Johnson K. What to do right now: How to navigate through a global crisis on social media. Sprout Social Blog. Published March 18, 2020.