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2020 has brought some huge changes to the social media landscape, let's take a look...


Social Butterflies

It goes without saying that a lot of fundamental change has taken place in 2020, and this is as true for businesses and how they interact with their customers. The pivot towards a more digital landscape has long been on its way, but the virus has sped this up and then some.

What does this mean for businesses though? Well, the answer appears to lie in a greater focus on social media marketing.

Now we know that most businesses already have some sort of presence in this capacity – and if you don’t, come speak to us – but what we’re looking at now is a more considered, strategic, and tailored approach to making the most out of social media for your business.

In this blog, we’ll highlight just some of the changes we’ve seen this year and what that means for businesses going forward. This will include segments on:

  • How has social media changed during the pandemic?
  • How to identify your new social media objectives
  • The changing role of influencers and influencer marketing
  • The tone of posts

How has social media changed during the pandemic?

The clear change this year is in people’s usages, they went up precipitously during lockdown, which is expected, but even after things began to ease, the figures stayed pretty high. For example, July 2020 saw a rise of 10.5% in social media usage, compared with July 2019. Given that a lot of us are glued to our laptops, desktops, and phones all day anyway, this isn’t a minor increase.

In a larger societal sense, any form of commerce that could be moved online saw an increase in sales – not just, gym equipment, food shopping, and, ahem, toilet paper. Everything. By May 2020, according to Statista, ecommerce retail sales accounted for a third of all retail (although this has dropped off subsequently).

What this means in the long run, and it looks like we’ll be in this for the long run, is an even more pronounced digital outlook – especially with networking, events and face-to-face interactions being limited – and an added importance for businesses in every sector to treat their social media channels as their shop windows, as people are less likely to walk past their real ones these days.

Knowing how to dress these windows is an art, and there’s no harm in asking for help, as businesses do with us all the time.


How to identify your new social media objectives

If you’re looking to suddenly change the direction of your social in response to the pandemic, or just feel it’s worthwhile for the growth of your business, it’s best to start with a desired goal – do we want more website traffic, lead generation. Or are we looking for vanity metrics, engagement on posts, higher followers?

From there, more questions will follow…

Do we know what looks good? Do we need to be spread out on every social media platform, or is it best to work with a smaller number and do those really well?

These are important questions to ask and you can get easily bogged down. Especially in a congested field where it feels like marginal gains in an arms race. This is where even a degree of consultancy can pay dividends, stop those fools’ errands, and get you on the right track.

The changing role of influencers and influencer marketing

We’ve worked with a lot of influencers in our time on campaigns for our clients, across a variety of disciplines – travel, lifestyle, fashion, sports, cars – the list goes on. Like most of us, they’ve had their wings clipped this year, but none more so than travel influencers, unfortunately.

We kept abreast with some of them in our Gosh PR Gets to Know series, about what they’ve been up to, how they’ve been keeping busy, and what the future holds in store now that things are so different. It’s been spiriting to hear that from the likes of Vicky Flip Flop who turned the staycation into a new venture, Day Out in England. Whilst others have like Frock Me I’m Famous have turned their eye towards interior decorating and the like whilst travel is off the cards.

Whilst it’s impossible to predict what any individual will do, let’s hope the old adage that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ holds true.

From a SMEs point-of-view, the world of the micro-influencers is still thriving, and the general consensus is to align with influencers that may have smaller followers, but they have the right values. This has the potential to reach a more engaged audience at a lower cost.

An effective influencer is like a mirror, and mirrors need to reflect their audience.

It helps to have an agency with longstanding relationships with a wide range of influencers, of course.


The tone of posts

Something as seismic as we’ve seen this year will have changed the overall tone of the conversation online. People are looking for more entertainment, yes, but they’re also looking for more human interactions online – connections and comfort.

A great example of this is the recent open letter from Burger King urging their customers to order takeaways from their competitors in light of the second lockdown. It’s bold, it’s unexpected, and it’s drawn praise from all quarters of Internet Land.

In conclusion…

So how do we sum all this up? Well, like most things this year, it’s a tricky one. Social media is always in a state of flux and this blog only skims the surface of the changes we’ve seen.

Keeping abreast of improvements and new features is tough at the best of times, but as a recap it’s a good start to know that:

– As the landscape has changed so dramatically – with even more business migrating online – the need for a solid presence on social is more important than ever.

– That taking a step back to revaluate your new objectives for social is actually a step forward.

– That aligning yourself with relevant influencers can do wonders.

– And finally, that the way we talk online has changed, and to be part of the conversation, brands must do the same.

If this blog has stirred your interest in any way, or if you have any questions – feel free to reach out for a chat!