April 7, 2021
Everyone is talking about what businesses should do during the pandemic. In many parts of the world, global vaccination programs are bringing an end to lockdowns. With businesses about to reopen and society returning to normal, business leaders must prepare for the changes they need to make in the post-pandemic world.
Social media has proven to be the one e-commerce avenue that has remained undisrupted by the last year. And companies have taken advantage of that.
Between February and June 2020, social media marketing spends increased by 74% for businesses.
If the pandemic taught us anything, social media has never been more crucial to business success. But how can your business take advantage of social media?
Here’s what you need to know about social media success in a post-pandemic world.
1. You Must Increase Your Advertising Budget
The reasoning for this seems obvious. Returns are at their highest level in history. Businesses reported that the contribution of social media to overall company revenue has risen by 24% since February 2020.
Naturally, with returns as high as these, it makes sense to up your social media spend. There is another reason, though.
With more players in the market, click costs will also increase as more businesses compete to get their ads shown and clicked on.
To continue to get the results you had in 2020, your post-pandemic spend will need to go up.
2. Play with New Channels on Existing Networks
As competition grows fiercer, marketers need to differentiate themselves from the crowd. Big business tends to move slow but hits like a truck when it gets going.
Use your superior ability to pivot by investing in new channels on existing networks.
For example, Instagram Reels launched in the summer of 2020. It focuses on short-form videos, which is essentially the platform’s attempt at taking advantage of TikTok’s success.
Playing with new channels and pivoting to what people want will increase engagement levels, which ups your chances of making a sale.
3. It’s All in the Video
Social media experts have espoused the benefits of video content for years. Video is easier to consume on all devices, but particularly on mobile devices, and it adds an air of authenticity.
If you’ve hesitated to invest in video content, now is the time. The roaring success of the TikTok social media platform is a testament to how important video content is.
TikTok was one of the most downloaded apps throughout the pandemic and average engagement rates are high at all levels. While it’s true that the majority of TikTok’s users are under 30, businesses should still take heed of the lessons TikTok’s success has delivered.
Videos across all social media networks acquire 21.2% more engagement than static images. And this is consistent across every age group.
Investing more in video post-pandemic is not only a way of gaining a competitive edge, it’s something consumers expect.
4. Don’t Ignore the Baby Boomers
Companies primarily targeting the older generations have dismissed social media as a channel for connecting with them. In previous years, this was true. Any company whose target audience were baby boomers would have been better off investing in more traditional advertising products.
The pandemic has altered how baby boomers discover brands. More than 25% of baby boomers are spending longer on social media, as a result of the pandemic.
If reaching older consumers is part of your strategy, investing in social media is now a viable option.
5. Social Justice Issues Should Be at the Forefront of Your Marketing Strategy
One side effect of the pandemic was how it changed the priorities of the average consumer. With no work to go to and shelter-in-place orders in effect, many people have had the time to focus on larger issues of injustice.
Throughout 2020, the world watched as Black Lives Matter took the media spotlight in the U.S. The campaign for a $15 minimum wage hit the headlines like never before. The accessibility of healthcare became a key issue. Finally, the Capitol Riots added further fuel to the fiery debate over white supremacy and extremist politics.
Regardless of your stance on any of these key issues, companies took the time to speak not about their brands but about social justice issues.
Ben & Jerry’s took advantage of this perfectly. They were bold, to the point, and did not attempt to appeal to all sides. The company has been widely praised for its campaign against white supremacy, but don’t forget that this is still a corporate form of marketing.
And it worked.
Ben & Jerry’s has been highlighted for its political activism by everyone from marketing undergrad students to major news networks. This level of publicity has blown its competitors out of the water.
So, how should you take advantage of that in 2021?
Activism has traditionally been an area avoided by companies for fear of upsetting people. Today, it works both ways. Although 55% of customers said they would boycott a brand that doesn’t align with their views, a third of customers said they would recommend a brand that does align with their views.
Taking a stand has become the new normal. Know your customer and take a stand on the issues that matter most to them.
6. Stop Talking about the Virus!
The final change you need to make in the post-pandemic world is to stop talking about the virus. Although you might think that showing off your new office layout to keep the virus at bay is a smart option, it’s not.
Studies have shown consumers are sick of hearing about coronavirus and anything related to it. As early as May 2020, 41% of consumers said they wanted to hear about topics from brands that were unrelated to the pandemic.
Almost a year later, it doesn’t take a genius to assume these numbers have risen drastically.
The biggest change you can make on social media post-pandemic is to look forwards not back.
Adapt to the New World of Social Media
The key takeaway here is that the pandemic changed consumer behavior like nothing else. This historical event has made your previous strategy obsolete.
You must adapt to what consumers expect today. Whether that’s championing a cause or trying out formerly unconsidered channels, it’s time to acknowledge, adapt, and change.
What post-pandemic social media marketing changes have you got in the pipeline?
Bob Haegele is a personal finance writer who contributes several finance websites, including Modest Money and GOBankingRates. Bob writes about investing topics such as The Motley Fool and M1 Finance. He also specializes in budgeting and banking.