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  • Ishbel Macleod

Why you shouldn’t give up on social media in lockdown

How and why you should continue social marketing during COVID-19

When lockdown started, there was a flurry of activity on social media platforms. Brands wanted you to know that they were taking precautions, that they were still there for you, and that you should follow government advice.

But two months on, many brands have slowed – or even stopped – their social media activity, citing that there is less to talk about, that they can’t sell their products (in the case of restaurants or shops) or even that their marketing team is in furlough. All of these are good reasons – but there is one thing you should bear in mind: many people are staying home and are whiling away their time scrolling social media. There couldn’t be a better time to address your captive audience.

Three reasons you shouldn’t give up on social media

It’s where your audience are

Research from Statista found that over March there was a 44% increase worldwide in people spending longer on social media (21% in the UK). This means there’s more opportunity for people to see and engage with your content – and potentially even buy. It’s just a case of making sure you share the right content at the right time – something we’ll look at later in this blog.

If you have a product you sell online, then there could potentially be even more of an audience: with 42% of Brits aged between 25 to 34 saying they have bought more online during this time than they usually would have (and that includes ‘non-essential’ items).

Paid ads are cheaper

With fewer brands currently able or willing to take out paid ads, the CPM (cost per thousand impressions) has fallen. In fact, Socialbakers recently reported that CPM has fallen to $0.8 – less than half of the $1.9 CPM brand average in November 2019. Socialbakers also noted that the CPC (cost per click) on Facebook in particular has fallen, from $0.11 in January to $0.09, meaning that if you do choose to use social media advertising, your money will go further, as well as reaching a potentially larger audience who are online.

However, if you do choose to advertise, be careful about what you say – research from Edelman found that 57% of UK consumers don’t want brands to serve them ads that are too humorous or light-hearted in nature. While you don’t need to specifically call out COVID-19 in your ads,make sure that your content is sensitive to the situation.

You can pivot offline activity to social

As anyone who has taken part in a ‘Zoom pub quiz’ over the past two months will know, many events that should have taken place in person are now being pivoted to online only, with social playing a huge role in this. Opportunities to use tools such as Facebook Live, Facebook Premiere or IGTV means that events can be ‘hosted’ online and can still give your audience a great way to connect and ask questions.

This gives you the opportunity to do question and answer sessions, showcase how-tos, or create online webinars. There are so many opportunities which can help you to highlight your brand – even if you are not currently able to sell products or services – restaurants sharing recipes with video guides, gyms showcasing home workouts, and even zoos offering Q&As about different animals.

How to create content people want to see

Take a look at the type of content you’re creating

If you haven’t already, now is a perfect time to do an audit of the type of content you are creating. When you are writing social content (whether it is organic posts or for social ads) here are five things to consider:

  • Is it still relevant? Some pre-written copy may not apply any more, so have a read over any planned content. It might need scrapped altogether for now, or it could be tweaked. For example, that Wimbledon campaign you had planned can either be re-worked to focus on how Wimbledon should have been taking place, or could be put on the backburner until next year and replaced with something more relevant for now.

  • Are you listening to consumer trends/feedback? Social listening is key now, more than ever. Take a look at what your customers are saying on social media, as well as what is working well for other brands like yours.

  • Can you offer reassurance to customers? Depending on your product or service offering, many customers, and potential customers, could be worried about the safety of your workers as well as the product itself. Make sure to share measures you have put in place to adhere to guidelines. For physical products being delivered, it is also worth mentioning any issues or changes: it might be you normally promise one-day delivery but due to mail restrictions it could take longer to arrive, or even sharing that you offer contact-free delivery options.

  • Can you offer anything or solve a pain point? By this we don’t just mean any deals (although, we’re sure those would be appreciated: we’ve noticed a rise in companies offering free or cheaper online delivery to account for the fact that this is how most people are shopping), but anything new that you can bring to the conversation. This might be the opportunity to share your expertise about a certain area. A survey by GlobalWebIndex found 85% of the public approve of brands providing practical information or tips which help people dealing with the current situation.

  • Is it opportunistic? Brands who look like they are ‘cashing in’ on the crisis will not be well remembered – such as brands hiking up the price of essential products like hand soap or sanitiser.

As well as the copy, it’s also worth looking at the type of imagery you’re using. Predictive marketing AI tool Pattern89 found that there has been a 27.4% reduction in images and video ads featuring models touching (including holding hands, kissing, hugging or sharing hands). Instead, solo models or product led imagery have become the norm. If you are using images of a group of people (at a spa, for example), it can be worth calling out that it was taken before: maybe using it as a throwback Thursday post, or mention that you are reminiscing.

Focus on engagement

At a time where there is little else for people to do (especially with many people furloughed or unable to work from home), brands have reported seeing higher engagements on posts. SproutSocial found that across all networks and industries, brands are seeing an additional 44 engagements per day on average.

This means there is a fantastic opportunity to create regular content to drive that engagement: think about setting up a weekly or fortnightly quiz, how-to video or behind the scenes to encourage your fans on social media to keep coming back.

If you’re not sure exactly what your audience want to see, just ask! They could be craving a certain type of content that you can easily create for them.

Continue strong community management

No matter what sector you work in, you will no doubt be seeing more customer enquiries on social media – this includes people asking about reopening, when orders will arrive, or even asking about your policies. At the start of lockdown in the UK, many supermarkets had to deal with a host of complaints on social media over lack of food delivery slots, while airlines and hotel brands faced issues with people wanting to cancel or move holidays.

It can be frustrating for brands to deal with these questions, which may seem repetitive, but to the person messaging, it means a lot more. Continuing a strong community management practice can help to show customers that you have their interests at heart.

Remember, while your priorities - and those of your customers - have changed, it is key not to give up on marketing altogether. Social media offers you an opportunity to keep conversation going with fans in a way you can’t on other channels. Even if your output is reduced, or completely changed, you have a way to share your story, stay connected with your customers and keep your brand front of mind.

You are not in this alone. If you feel you need help with pivoting your social media strategy, want to check you’re in the right direction, or just want some further reading, get in touch. We’re here for you, and we’re happy to help.


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