It’s 2020, the world is not like anyone would have expected it to be almost 5 months into the year. We are in lockdown, all going outside for our one hour of exercise a day to keep us sane. This is prime time for using content marketing and social media to keep engaged with your audience to show you are still around. Let’s see what you can do to stand out!

There are some industries that are thriving, and it’s no coincidence that they all have an e-commerce platform and have been around for a while. The likes of online retailers including Amazon, the household name supermarkets and the smaller, family run local businesses that have embraced social media marketing. Even if they are being affected by Covid-19, they are still keeping active on social media, adapting the way they engage with their audience.

Who’s doing it right?

PureGym, Nando’s and Ikea are all doing their bit to get the audience involved. User generated content is one of the most underrated ways of engaging with your audience. It builds rapport and shows you’re paying attention. 

Firstly, Nando’s posted one of their signature recipes on Instagram, seen by tens of thousands, they received hundreds of pictures of people recreating it across Twitter and Instagram, for which they shared a few snaps. What did this do for them? Those shares led to retweets and likes and the comments went wild for Nando’s, with hundreds ready to go and buy the Nando’s sauce from their local supermarket to give it a go themselves. So yes Nando’s can’t open their restaurants to serve their amazing meals, but they are still generating revenue through other streams.

Similarly, Ikea have given their signature meatballs recipe out, now why would a home furniture retailer start showing recipes? – Well they can’t get customers into their stores, but they sure can show people how to make their amazing meatballs at home. Oh and don’t forget, you can get all the kitchen equipment to make the meatball from Ikea online and have it delivered direct to your home! 

Times are tough, what can businesses do?

Yet, so many businesses have slowed down with their social media marketing. Yes budgets, have been stripped right back and large-scale advertising has been put on hold with organisations having little to no confidence in consumer spending as so many industries have come to a standstill. However, creating and building a following on social media channels doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands, hundreds or even any money at all!

If we look at B&Q, they haven’t posted on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter in a month! Now compare Ikea and B&Q, they both sell DIY products and home furniture.

Ikea

Ikea has taken this opportunity to create short videos with ideas of what their audience can do at home e.g. organising your kitchen. Further to this, they are getting their audience involved, by using hashtags their audience can share their own tips and ideas and get recognition. Customers love recognition. Even a like or comment is way more valuable that you can imagine. It shows you’ve taken the time to look at their work. 5 hours of work for them and 30 seconds for you to have a look and like their post, seems easy enough right? 

B&Q

So why hasn’t B&Q done anything similar? Maybe they are relying on their brand, or perhaps they are struggling with an influx of customers. But this is still an opportunity to reach a wider audience they didn’t know they could engage with, such as millennials who may want to try and make something after seeing it on Instagram of Twitter. It seems like a missed opportunity and could have a detrimental effect on the long term. If you disappear for a few months, more likely than not, the algorithms won’t show your content as much as before, you won’t be at the top of your audiences feed, and it will take a whole lot longer to get back to where you once were.

Going back to basics

There are countless trends happening in social media marketing and more people than ever are embracing them. This means more people than ever will be able to see what you and your brand do and can do for them and it shows you are staying relevant and up-to-date with the world if you get involved.

Remind yourself on what marketing is meant to do, and now look at the bigger picture for when things start getting back to ‘the new normal’. Go over your digital strategy, understand your target audience, what they engage with, the types of content that has been successful previously, the newer platforms that are gaining traction such as podcasts and Instagram TV. Focus on SEO, test content on the various channels, re-design your Facebook page, Invigorate your Instagram, become active on Twitter and engage with your audience. Use this as an opportunity to be creative try new things. 

One of the most time consuming parts of marketing is analysing your competitors and seeing what and how they are doing across their social channels. What content are they are producing? What is doing well for them and how you can integrate some of their ideas to your own brand? Question how you can stand out from everyone else and alter your digital strategy accordingly.

Get SMART

Start small and apply SMART goals to your strategy, and use the time that you now have to refresh your skills or learn new ones. There are countless free courses online from the likes of Hootsuite, Buffer and Google where you can develop skills of how to create content and implement it. How you can go into more detail than you may have first though when you are analysing your competitors and that consistent relevant content really still is so important today and that it will only keep growing.

Today’s generation of Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z consumers all have something in common. They are all online in one capacity or another. Whether it is on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. There are ways to integrate all of these channels and create engaging and compelling content that will increase engagement to your channels and brand.

Using your platform and brand to show you care that these are tough times for all by providing free tips, tutorials, giveaways, hosting quizzes, doing podcasts and engaging with your audience by getting them involved to create content. Doing any of these will without a doubt gain you new customers and brand advocates who we all know are so important to growth of businesses and if free advertising for you!

Akhil Shah, Social Media Consultant

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