Social media marketing became even more critical during the pandemic. A Harvard Business Review survey found that social media spending increased from 13.3% of typical marketing budgets in February 2020 to 23.2% in June of 2020, which was a whopping 75% increase! According to Hootsuite, brands are planning to spend even more in the future.
If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Most of us have been spending way more time on our devices instead of going to stores and gathering in person. With this increased screen time comes an increase in time spent on social media overall. In addition, the type of content we want has changed and businesses need to change with it. It’s critical for your business to get it right.
Here are my tips for how to adapt your social media marketing strategy in a post-pandemic world.
Integrate Social Media Into Your Overall Marketing Strategy
I still see complaints from social media marketers about how siloed they are from other departments. Often they are the last to know when the marketing department changes a campaign, when an important business development has occurred, or when there are sudden issues that affect customer service.
This is unacceptable.
Your social media manager is on the front lines of your business and needs to be aware of issues so they aren’t blindsided by questions from your communities. Involve your social team in aspects of the business such as customer service, sales, operations and marketing. They need to know the pain points in all areas and have a subject matter expert they can go to for advice on responding to questions and comments.
I used the word “pivot” more in March of 2020 than I think I’ve ever used it before. I’ve been preaching for years about knowing your audience, being transparent, being human, and being genuine on social media channels. When the pandemic hit and there was fear, uncertainty, and anxiety in most of our audience members, no matter the brand, it was time to walk the walk. We had to really think about our audience and what they cared about. What information did they want or need? How would our standard content make them feel right now?
In many ways, this was an important exercise for all of us in social media. And guess what? It turns out that using transparency, real images of real people and products, and responding and posting like a person actually works. As Mark Schaefer says in his book Marketing Rebellion, the most human brand wins.
Listen to Your Audience
You know that person at parties that does nothing but talk about themselves? Don’t be that person. Social media marketing is so much more than posting content about your brand. It’s also listening to your audience and posting about what they like, which in our case means paying attention to the comments and messages you receive and regularly reviewing the analytics on each of your accounts.
What type of content gets the most engagement? Post more of that if you want engagement.
What content gets the most traffic? Post more of that.
If you are running ads, review that data regularly and optimize the ads that perform. Analyze your data at least once per month and optimize, optimize, optimize.
Pay for Ads
The average organic reach for a Facebook post is now 5.2%, according to a study by Hootsuite. If you plan to post content that looks and feels like an ad, you have to be prepared to pay for it. If you don’t already know how to use social media advertising, now is the time to learn the basics about boosting posts, audience targeting, and how to use ad managers. Paying alone won’t guarantee your success though, you still need to be creative with your ad copy and your artwork and test, test, test. If you don’t want to invest the time into learning all this yourself, hire a professional to help you.
Entertain and Educate With Organic
Yes you should also still invest time in a quality organic strategy. A key performance indicator in social media marketing is engagement, which requires you to develop a community of followers who consistently engage with and share your content. These are the people you’re trying to reach with your organic posts. Use these posts to educate and entertain your existing audience. You do know who they are and what they like right? If not, spend time learning and listening to them. This audience will teach you what you need to know about content that works for your brand.
As the pandemic taught us, your team and your business need to be agile enough to pivot (there’s that word again) quickly to a new strategy when change occurs. Give your social team the freedom and the authority to propose new strategies when they believe necessary and give them access to the teams and resources they need to do it.
Add Short Form Video
The average length of social media video is getting shorter. According to Vidyard, 60% of all videos online in 2020 were under two minutes long. Even YouTube got onboard with a new video format, YouTube Shorts! Because of the skyrocketing success of TikTok and then Instagram Reels, short-form video is here to stay at least for the foreseeable future, and if your business hasn’t already waded into short form video, now is the time to start. If your goal is to create educational, how-to, or longer-form video content, YouTube is still your platform but heads up! Rumor has it that TikTok will be adding 5 minute video at some point in the near future.
Note: this is not to say you shouldn’t be posting to YouTube. Quite the contrary! Remember that YouTube videos come up in search, so if you’re using video to answer questions you know your customer is asking, you want them discoverable in search queries.
Invest in Talent
You need someone who deeply understands the nuance of engaging and marketing on social media, graphic design, and someone with knowledge of paid advertising, A/B testing and more. Hint: even if they don’t know how to use the entire Adobe Creative Suite for graphic design, knowing how to use a tool like Canva is a major plus.
Social media marketing can’t be done as an afterthought and it’s a mistake to think because someone uses social media personally, but has no experience with brands, they can hit the ground running. It’s time to invest in talent.
Where to start? Check out my blog on 21 Social Media Manager Interview Questions for how to find and assess that talent, and also my blog on How to Work with a Social Media Manager and How to Manage Your Social Media Manager for tips on working with a freelancer or a full time team member.
We have reached the point where these are no longer trends. Instead they are the new normal. How you adapt your social media marketing strategy in a post-pandemic world will determine whether you succeed in social media or fall behind.
If you have questions or would like to work with me, contact me to get started!
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