For some, social media was always a bit scary but this year has turned up the heat a bit, even for social pros,when it comes to knowing what to do and what not to do on your various branded platforms. Along with everything else that 2020 has brought along with it, figuring out your social media calendar has some fun new hurdles. 

Before, most brands were concerned with getting their content calendars established in 30 day increments and making sure what they post is relevant and helpful to their various audiences. But 2020 has changed the game. Now brands need to react to big events, and do so quickly and authentically, because the world is watching. 

What we’ve learned thus far is that how brands choose to show up in times of uncertainty is making a larger impact on audiences and people are being more open about reacting positively or negatively to what brands have to say. According to a Sprout Social survey 55%  of consumers expect brands to take a stance and that stance needs to be more than just a statement. Consumers want initiatives and actual tangible commitments. 

BOo! COVID-19 Response

When Covid hit us in early Spring, all eyes were on how brands handled quarantine and the reaction to the virus. Consumers were eager to see their loved brands react in a positive and authentic way. 

 

Major brands like Vicks and Allstate did a great job in finding ways to share a positive message and make some form of impact in order to answer to the demands of the masses. What stands out here early on is the willingness of these brands to stand behind their brand promises and really make an effort to have a real, tangible impact during a time of crisis. 

   

But COVID didn’t just impact consumers and large brands. Small businesses are the hardest hit during this onslaught of disaster in 2020. 

Many small businesses were (and still are) grappling with the changes the pandemic has had on their overall business structures and cash flow and as a result are feeling a sense of overwhelm when it comes to putting anything at all on social media as related to COVID. They are just too consumed with finding a way to stay afloat- let alone stay active on social media. The thing is, the small businesses who have been able to make it during this are those who are willing to shift and adjust their practices, and continue to engage and be authentic with their audiences. 

Consumers of small businesses realize that they cannot expect the same BIG IMPACT pieces that they expect from big brands.  The pandemic hasn’t stopped several SMBs from finding ways to thrive, by using social media as an outlet to share more helpful or relevant information and content, and to engage more directly with their audiences. 

 

BOo! Major Social Movements! 

 

Just when we thought things were going to start evening out. Some major social injustices forced everyone to take a hard look at what companies stand for. When the initial wave of the BLM movement began, the public turned to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to see what they would do- and what brands were joining the movement.  The overall response from consumers was that they wanted the social media giants to take accountability for what is on their platforms, and they expect brands to make a stance and stick to it.

For many brands this meant producing BLM positive content, public statements of inclusion- but that’s wasnt enough. The public has demanded that businesses hold up their word. If you said you were going to make changes in the hiring process, you had better start proving that you are doing it. 

According to the Sprout survey,  42% of consumers say they would start buying from competitors if brands don’t stay true  to their word. The public is expecting more transparency and wants to see that you are taking the actions you said you would. For big brands like Peloton, this has meant some serious donating and changes in their operations. 

But this doesn’t ONLY apply to big brands. Customers are looking to their local small businesses to see how it should be done. The reality of small businesses is that they are typically able to be more nimble and innovative. They can affect real change at the organizational level faster. So when the world asks, what’s next ? It’s the small businesses who are answering.

As time goes on, consumers are paying even more attention to how brands stand behind their promises, whether it be on creating more impact through donation to relief sources, or finding new ways to further a movement and effect permanent change. 

 

Boo! Election Season is here!

Perhaps the scariest of all is the upcoming Election. WE’ve seen a dip in engagement across the board for business pages because everyone has begun tuning into the Election now. Regardless of which side you fall on, the reality is that the division between the parties is wider than ever and that causes some seriously polarizing gaps. 

Depending on your business, it has often been recommended that  you abstain from political topics, but in this new environment consumers are looking for brands that align with their own personal values. Perhaps focusing on your core values is the best way to navigate this tumultuous time. 

 

OK, I’m sufficiently scared – Now What? 

Breathe. This too shall pass. Here are some basic tips to help you get through whatever may come next. 

 

Steps for Success on Social :

  • Be Authentic – Just remember, whatever you post, make sure it aligns with your core values, mission statement and brand promise. This keeps people engaged with you and will keep that level of transparency they crave. 
  • Back that Sass up- If you are going to make a public statement about donating, or changing your operations, you need to be prepared to actually do it- and prove it. Be sure you can actually deliver before you say anything. 
  • Be nimble- Things are changing fast. So even though there is a lot of value in that 30 day content calendar, as things come up, you need to be ready to act fast. It just means being a little more open to allowing for things to change in that calendar and following more of a news cycle strategy vs. a monthly plan. 
  • Take A Step Back – It’s ok! You might need time to think about all this. There is no rule that says you HAVE to respond on social media. Sometimes staying silent is a good thing. When something comes up that is just too much, just stop for a beat. Your social media will still be there when you come back. 

 

Just remember that you aren’t alone. If you are struggling with how to stay aligned with your values and brand promise in your social media messaging- it might be time to ask for help. Our social media experts are on standby. Just reach out if you need a little help.