The right social media management strategy has always been something of a Holy Grail for marketers and brand strategists, but this moment in time has made designing an effective one particularly challenging. Some tactics that worked last year, or even earlier this year, are no longer ideal.
Yet social media remains a critical part of a marketing strategy, especially now. As the world continues to evolve, people are seeking safe options for connecting with friends, family — and brands. Social media — the original way to hang out while staying socially distant — is a pandemic-friendly way for companies to engage their audiences.
This year has been a real-time case study in how brands and marketers should be thinking about social media channels, both now and going forward. Here are four tips to help you perfect your social media strategy for the rest of this year and beyond:
Show Empathy — but Put Action Behind It.
Modern customers want everything immediately, but right now, they aren’t always able to just go get it. This, combined with an entire world that is stressed and anxious, is leading consumers to seek answers and assistance via social media channels.
This means brands must adopt a much more empathetic approach to communicating with customers. But empathy alone isn’t enough. Brands and their marketers must also have an action plan for how they can put their customers’ minds at ease during this pandemic. This includes everything from the type of support they offer to the way they communicate through proactive brand content.
By using social channels to pair empathy with support and communications, you can reassure customers that your brand cares and is ready to help support their journey with the brand. Because much of social media takes place publicly, this approach can help to not only retain existing buyers, but also acquire new ones.
Read More: How to Make Connections in an Online World
When You Can’t Talk To or Find Customers Face To Face, Use Social Media To Engage, Listen and Sell.
Younger generations in particular now expect brands to use technology to interact with them, especially when it comes to customer care issues — and even compliments. Brands now recognize that joy share is almost as important as customer care. While people are less likely to mind if a brand doesn’t interact with their joy share, those are exactly the types of interactions that can lead to a bigger ROI. This is because many younger customers base purchase decisions on what other people say about brands and products, and how those brands respond. Especially now, it’s a positive way to celebrate the small things and get excited with your customers (and their followers) about their new products.
You should also be using social media to hear what your customers and others are saying about your brand through owned (direct @ mentions and comments) and earned mentions (when people talk about your brand organically).
Knowing not only what people are saying to your brand, but also what they are saying about your brand, can give you a competitive edge; think of it as a perfectly ethical way to eavesdrop on your customers. Plus, not only can the insights you’re gathering help drive business decisions; they can also help protect your brand from potential viral threats.
Apart from engagement and listening, social media is also good for selling stuff, even to people who are not directly talking to a brand. Perhaps someone on Twitter who doesn’t even follow your audio-products brand is looking for a new pair of earbuds, and asks the Twitterverse what the best options are.
You can listen to those types of conversations and keywords in mentions, and then respond with information about your products, and even a link to the product with an embedded tracking code. If they make a purchase, now you’re able to directly quantify sales through social media.
Consider Whether AI Could Support Your Social Media Processes To Help You Do More With Less.
Artificial intelligence (AI) works by learning our decision paths to various content and conversation drivers in a technology platform. You start by programming the AI to know some of the basics and then build from there based on your specific needs. For example, if a brand doesn’t want to use staff resources to respond to people based in another country, it can program the AI model to automatically handle anything that comes from outside the country and what the decision path on those conversations should be.
AI becomes truly useful when it begins to automate the learned behaviors. When a human behind a brand receives a mention or an engagement, the decisions we make in terms of how to tag it, how to escalate it, how to reroute it to another team, or how to respond to it are behaviors that AI is learning from us. Training an AI to do these things can help marketing teams alleviate some of the “clutter” content that slows down workflows, and boost efficiency at a time when everyone is trying to do more with less.
Additionally, in most crises, there’s going to be a large volume of interactions that your business just won’t engage with. It’s important to still collect that data, but also to automate them away from human resources. This ensures your human resources are focusing on interactions that will have the most impact for your brand.
Seek Help When You Need It.
Our method of communicating with customers has truly evolved. Given that businesses all over the world are facing workplace shutdowns, brands must evaluate what other internal or external resources are available to prioritize digital conversations, then identify automated solutions like AI to address the remainder.
During times of crisis, brands should reach out to trusted technology providers and learn about processes or tools that can be quickly implemented to alleviate some of the increasing volume of digital conversations. With the right partners and smart allocation of resources, marketers can keep their brands top of mind and remain successful — even in a challenging climate.