Social marketing in the age of coronavirus

By April 28, 2020 June 11th, 2020 blog

Delivering a relevant but sensitive content marketing programme during this time is more important than ever. Empathy is key. You must be respectful of the situation. Many people are suffering, and many businesses are too. Meanwhile, some brands are seeing a huge surge in demand.

Whatever your situation, you must show that you care and back it up with deeds. It’s of no use to say you care and then carry on as you were previously. Think about the balance between informing and entertaining. In the early stages of the crisis, informative content has been key. As we all self-isolate for weeks and weeks, will the balance tip back towards entertaining your audience?

Don’t forget to review the imagery you are using, too. In these days of social distancing it’s important that content reflects this – no holding hands, mass gatherings or touching!

Topical and evergreen content

Typically, I would say for many brands that you get more long-term benefit from creating evergreen content that can be used and re-used many times over, covering topics that won’t disappear from the news or fall out of fashion. You can schedule social media posts to link back to that content for months to come.

Right now, it’s almost impossible to create engaging content that’s not respectful of the ‘New Normal’. Have a look at your previously published content. Is any of it now inappropriate? If so, take it down. Then have a look at the content that you are in the process of creating. Is now the right time to promote that message?

Don’t be afraid to divert from a created content programme – these are unprecedented times and how you handle them will be remembered by customers for months, if not years, to come. Changing course is sometimes necessary.

Reconsider your customer insight

Great content comes from truly understanding why your customers behave as they do and knowing how you can change their behaviours. What are people searching for on Google right now? Has that changed? What content is being viewed on YouTube, Twitch, Instagram or TikTok? Customer insight is derived by researching the triggers and barriers that drive purchase decisions and those rational and emotional triggers and barriers have now changed.

In the dental sector, practices are currently closed for everything except emergencies, but the ‘New Normal’ also presents opportunities for some companies to offer ongoing quality training and education. For example, actress, comedian and mental health expert Ruby Wax OBE, is teaming up with Align Technology to present a webinar on mindfulness and wellbeing during the coronavirus shutdown.

Taking place on May 1 from 1.30pm to 2.30pm, Ruby will discuss the different layers of emotions and stress experienced during times of crisis – as business owners with responsibilities, as healthcare providers with concerns about patients’ health and staff wellbeing – as well as show how to draw a line between preparedness and panic. This is an excellent example of how to reach a new audience with a very relevant topic using a highly engaging public figure.

In my experience, companies that think outside the box in times like this are remembered, and having the kneejerk reaction of pulling all marketing right now is a mistake. Yes, the marketing mix needs to change, but companies that provide good quality content, delivered in an imaginative way, will win in the end.

If you need help to think outside the box for your next campaign email