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4 tips for social media marketing during COVID-19 and beyond

4-minute read

How you choose to connect with your audience during a crisis can say a lot about your brand. Here are 4 social media marketing principles to help you navigate COVID-19.

Key take-outs
  • Now, more than ever, understanding your audience is key to building a social media marketing strategy that’s contextual and grounded in empathy
  • Review social media for your business regularly to ensure it’s still up-to-date and appropriate, given the current climate
  • Focus on building relationships rather than simply ‘closing the deal’

The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is challenging businesses to rethink their social media marketing at unprecedented speed. And while there’s no communications playbook for what to say and do during these uncertain times, there are some guiding principles to help you navigate such uncharted territory. Here are four social marketing principles to follow during COVID-19.

Social marketing tip 1: Know your audience

In any social marketing strategy, understanding your audience (to an extent) is crucial to getting the message right. Now, more than ever, knowing what your audience is looking for, and how you can add value as a brand, is imperative.


Take time to listen to your social media community and gauge how your customers are feeling. Read their comments and ask questions about what they want to see from you during this time and how you can address their needs and concerns.


This should provide the basis for your strategy – one that’s grounded in empathy and matched to your community needs – and any social media advertising you undertake.


Before: How can I serve my audience with the right products or services when they’re ready to buy?

Now: How can I support my community and build rapport so that when my community are ready to buy, I’m their first choice. 

Social marketing tip 2: Review, reprioritise and reschedule

While you may already have a social media or marketing plan in place, it’s important to review your planned activities given the current situation.


If you have content or posts scheduled in advance, revisit your calendar to make sure it’s up-to-date, contextual and sensitive to what’s currently going on. Consider everything from copy to tone of voice, to subject matter and visual imagery. For example, hard sales tactics or light-hearted messages may not be received well by your audience in the current climate.


Given how quickly circumstances are changing, it’s a good idea to review your planned social media activity weekly or even daily to make sure your content is timely and appropriate.


Before: What should my social media marketing plan look like for the next three months? 

Now: What should my social media marketing plan look like for the next week, or has something happened today that could affect my current plan?

Social marketing tip 3: Think relationships, not sales

These are challenging times for everyone. If you’re concerned about the financial health of your business, you’re not alone. While the economy is in hibernation and people are less likely to spend, consider switching your focus from revenue building to relationship building. 


Rather than simply trying to ‘close the deal’, think about ways to connect with and support your social media community. This could be as simple as offering information about your business’s current operations and your plans for the near future, or a chance to engage with your followers on a more personal level, through virtual experiences, storytelling, thought leadership, and even humour. 


Actively engaging with your audience will help forge longer-term relationships and build brand goodwill – both of which will put you in a strong future position. 


Before: Does my social media strategy help sell my products or services, or grow my customer base? 

Now: Does my social media strategy educate or entertain my audience to help make them brand advocates?

Social marketing tip 4: Redefine success

For a lot of businesses, the usual metrics for measuring social media success are leads, conversions and return on investment (ROI). But, given the current economic climate, these may not be relevant indicators of whether your social media efforts are working. 


Now that your focus is on demonstrating empathy, providing support and building relationships, consider engagement metrics such as likes, shares and comments to track success.


Before: How many new sales or customers have I acquired as a result of my social media efforts?

Now: Is my audience actively engaging with my social media content, and is it being viewed favourably?


While these are certainly turbulent times, there is a silver lining. Re-thinking how we engage with our community, in the good times and the bad, is a useful exercise that will make us all better communicators in the long run.

Read more

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How to navigate your business through hibernation

Learn how you could cap your operating costs without reducing your head count to maintain sufficient cash flow.

Things you should know

This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business.