In many areas of the world, most businesses have closed their doors aside from pharmacies, supermarkets and other essential companies. With the lack of air and road traffic, reduction on factory productivity for lack of workers, canceled events and more, this offers the world what can be seen as probably the only positive side of the Covid-19 pandemic — the impact on carbon emissions.
It all began with the drastic reduction of gas emissions in our largest industrial country — China. Now, the trend continues throughout other regions as countries one-by-one take action to shut down activity in a panic to stop the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, while the current effect of the virus on our environment offers our atmosphere much-needed relief, history only proves that it will only be a short-term break.
As the owner of a social media agency I spend 15–20 hours a day looking at social media feeds, analyzing data, and making strategic decisions for my clients relating to their brand and social media. We are admins on over 200 social company pages and manage at least 50–60 Linkedin profiles for senior C-suite level executives. And, here is what I am seeing and my advice for what is happening right now on social media, what it means for you and how to continue using it in times of pandemic.
On company profiles: Companies have really pulled back and are either: Trying to post content directly related to COVID-19, tying their products into the pandemic, or only posting educational content. An admirable trend is companies offering their services for free or at huge discount, like this one from NICE, to move contact center agents home within 48 hours and for free:
Voice of the People: Employees and individuals are taking a real stand and shining here, speaking up, having a voice and showing they care. Some are sharing their best practices and tips, many are showing empathy, some are crying out for arms to get large organizations to help financially. Whatever they are doing, it is loud and proud and about time.
Promoted Content: Whereas once my LinkedIn feed was 20 articles/1 promoted item, it is now 5 articles/1 promoted item. I guess all those unspent $ from loss of travel and ability to attend and market at events has been shifted to promoted content. What this means for you is that you need to speak to an expert about how to maximize the ROI from your paid content. I reached out to Yoel Israel from Wadi Digital and asked him a few poignant questions for you and here’s what he had to say:
- Before planning and advertising, the most important thing is write out your audience.
- Then ask yourself, how can I make this audience more narrow?
- Once you have super-focused your audience, then you need to segment. The best way to segment is by industry or vertical. Have unique targeting, unique ads, unique landing pages or lead generation forms for each industry/vertical. This will greatly help conversion rates.
- Results to be expected — if you have no data on LinkedIn Ads (meaning you never ran them before), you need to set expectations after you are live. If you optimize for demographics, then you should expect 95%+ of all leads be your targeted persona. Goals for Demo requests should be under $350/lead and gated content at $75/lead
- ROI cannot be measured at first. LinkedIn is primarily a B2B platform. Our marketing and sales cycles are long. You need to go into LinkedIn knowing that it is the right place to be, then optimize and improve based on which leads and which content lead to opportunities.
Bottom line is that paid campaigns to get out there and reach audiences you cannot reach because we are all stuck at home will become more and more relevant in the coming months. For businesses, it is smart to get professional about it, for those stuck at home out of work — quickly start self-learning there is a shortage of good PPC and lead-gen workers out there and I am sure agencies will snap you up for remote work. Also for e-commerce as more and more people are trying to sell online today, this is an essential skill to have. You can sit at home and make money on drop-ship, and as an affiliate sales person. Although note that right now even Amazon are cutting back, so don’t expect to be making money right away, rather use this time to become a top digital sales person. Here is a great resource for self-learning PPC: https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/how-to-advertise-on-linkedin
Humor: Not everything right now is doom and gloom — many people are effectively using humor to pass through this unprecedented time, you can also do it as a brand. It is OK if done tastefully. Look at this great video posted by Lightricks:
Cadence: There is no need to stop social media, or even necessarily to pull back, rather just make sure that the following rules apply to any piece that is posted:
- NO bragging.
- Any events that are not happening right now are not relevant! If you are trying to promote an event that is happening in the next 50 days, people will just assume you are very far removed from reality, and any events post May/June — optimistic. Whatever it is, no one is going to book travel or commit budgets or thought-space right now to an event so don’t bother. If you want to get your finger on the pulse of how people feel about “virtual events” take a look at this interesting thread from #SXSW veteran Brian Wallace over on his Facebook feed:
Business as usual: There is a fine line between just doing what you have always done, and using social media effectively in these times. Business as usual can be shown in educational content, through voice of the people, if you are still recruiting — nothing sends a more powerful message right now as many many people have found themselves stuck at home with no employment. This is why I say, you don’t need to pull back, you just need to change what you are doing to “fit in” with the trends.
So now you have reached the conclusion, there is one final important thing to say, and you are probably all pondering it anyway. For how much longer? As with any trend, there is always a threshold. For how much longer can we expect that people will WANT to see content relevant to COVID-19, for how much longer will the tolerance level support more calls-to-arms, top tips for working from home, more “in these uncertain times…” blah blahs. It’s impossible to say for sure, but my prediction is that we are only just beginning and at least for the next 2–3 weeks, as more and more countries go on lock-down, and as more and more people learn to adjust to a new reality. Social Media in Times of a Pandemic 101 is here to stay!
Feel free to share your experiences below in the comments or ask me any questions: