With the world shifting daily and life being reconsidered in 24-hour news cycles and briefings, it can be challenging to understand when, where, and how you should be communicating with your audiences. Everyone is experiencing this change differently, and so we must be mindful and create digital communication strategies that relate to a broad audience. Navigating this “new abnormal” takes finesse and thoughtfulness. As the situation around the world evolves, so should your social strategy. Strategies will vary from location to location and business to business – depending on local advisories and orders. There is no one size fits all best practice, but the Hawkins International team has curated some helpful tips to allow you to execute the best strategy for your business.
General Tips and Tactics
Creating a new social strategy can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind as you dive in.
- Use who you have and what you know. You likely have staff whose role has changed in the last few months, but that doesn’t mean their knowledge and skills aren’t still valuable at this moment. Leverage your team in social content series on IGTV or Instagram Live to foster an emotional, human-to-human connection with your audience.
- Get a gut check from your team. Everyone is experiencing and processing this global pandemic differently – when building out a content calendar, source a few opinions to ensure your posts resonate.
- Don’t try to be who you’re not. Just because everyone is doing the TikTok dance challenge, doesn’t mean you have to launch a new platform. Play to your brand’s strengths and build content based on what you know and your in-house experts. From there, you can decide which platform will best serve your audience.
- It doesn’t have to be perfect. Now is the time to use cell phone cameras, go live and play with Stories. Get out and start conversations, and you’ll learn that you can connect with your audience even without highly-produced final products.
- You don’t have to post every day. In fact, we recommend scaling back your posting cadence to 2-3 times per week. This way, you won’t create audience fatigue or seem like you are capitalizing on a global crisis.
- Don’t hard sell with any ‘book now’ messaging. That time will come back; now it’s time to pivot to service—more on that next.
Pivoting requires a bit of creative thinking, so don’t be afraid to try something new! While you may not be able to talk about your standard offerings for a variety of reasons, you still have something to offer. In this time, the services you provide should still mimic the spirit of customer care you would enact during regular business times. Think about your audience’s needs while they shelter in place or start to adapt to a new normal during phased reopenings. What insights do you have that could bring them much needed advice, a welcome distraction or entertainment? Tap F&B team members for cooking tips, interior designers for decor advice, or wellness experts for self-care tips. Above all, make sure you are building brand equity through this content by being there when and where your audience needs you.
Deciding what content to tackle can be a difficult choice. We recommend starting with whichever platform currently has your most engaged audience – whether it be YouTube, your blog, Instagram Stories or a newsletter. Test the waters with a platform you are comfortable with before expanding your content elsewhere and optimizing for different platforms. To keep yourself organized and on a regular cadence, we recommend creating a schedule (also known as a content calendar) to help you plan ahead. An easy tip here is to develop themes for specific days of the week – #WellnessWednesday, #ThrowbackThursday, #SaturdaySips. This also trains your audience on what to expect and keeps them coming back for the content they like best. Lastly, don’t be afraid to get a little trendy; if you see a surge in cocktail recipes one week, and you have a killer signature cocktail, go ahead and share it! Audiences naturally latch onto what’s trending, so you can ensure your brand is a part of the conversation.
Content creation and a strategy pivot are a lot of work, and you’ll want to keep tabs on all your accomplishments. Enter reporting. All of the major social media platforms have native reporting options that can help you measure engagement rates, reach and click through. Alongside quantitative data, it is essential to take a look at qualitative data as well. Get to know your audience by reading comments and direct messages and looking at share rates. Identifying what resonates with your followers will help you better connect in the future through a more highly tailored content series. If you lay a solid foundation now and define a baseline, you’ll be able to maintain a data proven strategy as things trend back towards “normal.”
As you change your digital communications plans to meet the changing times, don’t forget to turn to trusted advisors for help and guidance. Hawkins International offers a signature Social Media Advisory Program which provides an integral extension of client marketing teams to strategize social media initiatives and planning. Our team works closely with onsite personnel to analyze current social media strategy, tactics, and analytics and provide strategic one-on-one counsel to elevate the brand’s presence. We’re here to help you put your best content forward.