There have been unprecedented changes throughout the marketing landscape over the past several months. While none of us are experts on how to market a business on social media through a global pandemic, there are guiding principles that remain constant that will help brands think through their messaging and make decisions as our current climate evolves. 

Over the past few months, we all have had to depend on technology more than we ever expected just to survive and keep the doors open.

Businesses especially have had to rely on digital and social media marketing more now than they ever have. Because of that, many brands are being more creative and using social media differently, and so are consumers. 

Digital Lifestyle Alterations

People from all walks of life are adjusting to the new digital landscape. Consumers are relying on different platforms for content, and the demand for more content is continually increasing.

For brands, this means that content needs to be created to meet a broader audience in multiple places, including older generations who are embracing the digital lifestyle. 

As brands and consumers have evolved, so have social media platforms themselves, continuously improving and updating to meet the ever-growing consumer demands.

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Changes In Consumer Expectations 

In addition to more content, consumers’ expectations have changed in how brands should engage with customers. Instead of a one-sided conversation, where a brand simply posts and ghosts, brands now need to interact with customers and respond to customer needs. 

Brands that recognized this at the onset of the pandemic and ramped up their social media marketing efforts will be the ones to benefit the most when this crisis is behind us. 

However, despite the overwhelming amount of change that has taken place, some brands have discovered an entirely new audience and will continue to thrive post-Covid-19. 

Cuts In Advertising Budgets

Because of financial uncertainty, some marketers are pulling back ad spend in all areas, including social media. One study showed that 89% of advertisers have taken some sort of action with their ad spend since March. 

Despite many advertisers rolling back budgets, right now, it is cheaper for businesses to build their brand and engage with their customers through social media. If there was ever a time to start advertising on social media or increase spending, now is the time to do it. 

Alternate Paths To Purchase

People are more comfortable buying and interacting online. For the brands that are ready, available and active, there are opportunities to connect and even drive purchases during this time.

Businesses need to take a moment to reexamine their audience and customer avatars. They need to forget everything an audience has done before and everything they thought they knew about their customer.

Knowing basic information is key, but brands also need to understand what customers think, feel and need right now. 

Are they trying to juggle work from home while their kids are attending school virtually? Find out how their lives have been impacted. 

Brands need to look for new ways to share products or services in a different light that will meet consumers’ needs in the here and now. 

Getting feedback from consumers is an invaluable resource. Start a conversation by asking how they are doing and what your brand can offer that will help them or make life a little easier. 

The insight gained from customers will set the tone for how a brand moves forward during a crisis like Covid-19 and beyond. The relationships brands build now by taking the time to learn more about their customers’ needs will continue even after the crisis has subsided. 

It is very important to keep in mind that a brand never puts all of its eggs in one basket by relying on a single platform to meet all of their marketing needs. 

In addition, we all need to be prepared for the changes that are underway in regard to data and privacy updates that will limit the amount of information used in targeting capabilities. 

Strategies For Quick Wins Using Social Media

Brands have to remain flexible. We live in a world where the landscape is changing every day. What worked yesterday might not work next week. Companies have to be able to adjust quickly. 

Start first by focusing on relationship-building through engagement. 

Provide valuable content, such as how-to videos or behind-the-scenes reels. While traffic and conversion are the ultimate goals, a brand cannot continuously ask for the swipe-up and expect results. 

Adjust posting schedules. What worked in March doesn’t work anymore as more and more people are continuing to work from home. Experiment with new formats and new post times. 

Repurpose your racehorses. Find the posts that have been winners and create content similar to it. 

Get your audience involved in your marketing campaigns. Host Instagram Lives, ask questions, post polls and use the tools platforms have provided to create authentic content. 

More importantly, as we continue to move forward, keep social listening and community engagement as your marketing strategy’s primary focus. 

Focus on your community and find ways to bring people together. Never miss the chance to engage with your audience. One post can change everything — just ask Ocean Spray

For brands that cannot market or sell their products or services right now, focus on sharing content that aligns with your brand values instead.

Brands don’t have to let the uncertainty stop them from taking action and being present for their customers. As we continue to navigate uncharted territory, the one remaining constant is to always focus on the consumer’s needs. 

If there is one positive thing that has come from this past year, it’s that social media may have become what it was set out to be. People are longing for ways to make a connection. There is a captive audience online at this very moment, waiting on your brand to do just that.

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This content was originally published here.