Over the years, social media has emerged as one of the most significant tools for businesses for very obvious reasons.
The platforms that were first established to enable people to connect virtually and stay in touch now serve a massive marketing advantage for brands. They can leverage social media platforms to reach the target audience, connect with them, engage them, and build communities of loyal followers.
Although the opportunity sounds massive, things have changed a lot in the wake of the pandemic.
Today, brands and users do not perceive social media channels as promotional platforms, rather they are now communities that lend support in the times of a crisis. The new mindset changes the way social media marketing is being used by brands in the new normal.
This means it is high time for businesses to adapt and align. If you are looking to rethink your social media strategy in the new normal, here are some facts to help.
1. Listening matters the most in the new normal
If you think that social media is just about broadcasting your messages, it isn’t.
It has always been a powerful listening tool and you need to pay close attention to listening to your audience right now. It will help you comprehend what your target customers and communities need.
Right now, you cannot rely on older research data or customer feedback because nothing is normal. Customer expectations have changed and they are facing challenges that are unseen and unknown.
Social media listening is perhaps the best and most-effective tool to understand the audience in the era of social distancing.
2. Speak the language of the customers
Apart from listening to the audience, you also need to speak their language as well. People are paying more attention to brands than they did before, probably because they have more time and fewer distractions.
You can expect them to see right through the veneer, so the typical scripted talking points wouldn’t work. Rather, focusing on personal interactions, just like one person talking to another, would help you win the social media game.
Try to infuse personality into every single interaction if you want to score on engagement. Pick topics and conversations that they are most likely to be interested in.
3. Customize your content
With the pandemic around, there is a lot of generic advice for the audience. But to really be successful, there is a need to customize every piece of information you share according to the user intent.
Focus on content that offers support because that is what people need and expect the most right now. Posts that are compelling yet cater value in some form will do the trick.
For example, restaurants can go the extra mile by sharing a recipe of their most popular dishes while fitness instructors can have at-home workout routines for their audiences. It is all about giving the followers something that would help them.
4. An outward focus is the need of the hour
If you have always used social media to convey what your brand, products, and services are all about, now is the time to think differently.
From now on, focusing on the audience is the key to getting real followers on these platforms. The best way to do it is by embracing your brand story but tweaking its narrative to be more customer-centric.
Consider telling them how you started and what all you did to deliver benefits to your customers down the line. Make the audience, rather than your brand, the hero of the story and they will surely be hooked.
5. Build collaborations
Marketing in the new normal is about doing more with less and positive collaborations can take you a long way in this direction.
Partnerships with niche influencers and complementary businesses can help you reach out to the right audience and expand your community. Further, they also consolidate trust for your brand as you have others vouching for it.
When you seek businesses and individuals for collaboration, look for those who have brand messages aligning with your brand so that you connect with the right set of audiences.
6. Be authentic
Transparency and authenticity have always been the mainstays of marketing on social media, and now they are even more important.
The medical crisis has led to several incidents of circulation of fake news and sensitive information across these channels. Anything that isn’t genuine is going to make the audience feel frustrated and apprehensive.
The only way to retain their trust is by being genuine in every piece of information you share on every platform. Avoid going over the top with promotions just for the sake of selling.
Rather, focus on highlighting the value of products while demonstrating how your brand is doing its bit to give back to the community in this time of crisis.
7. Have a flexible plan in place
This is an uncertain time and proper planning is the best way to deal with the challenges that may come your way.
A well-planned social media strategy with proper calendars and schedules will keep your plan on track. Further, it will ensure consistent connections and engagement with your audience.
At the same time, you cannot be too rigid with the plans because things are changing at a lightning pace. A flexible approach will keep your social media strategy fresh and well-aligned with the evolving expectations of the audience.
Be ready to react to the change with agility, so you never lose a chance to get ahead of the competitors.
While these tactics will help you adapt your social media strategy for the new normal, nothing is more valuable than staying connected right now. People are socially isolated and social media is the channel that is helping them overcome the absence of human connections.
Be there, show them solidarity and support and strengthen the relationship by sharing content that delivers value to them.
Rather than using social media a channel for selling and branding, think of it as the best communication tool that can keep your brand connected with the audience through the crisis and beyond.
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I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.