25 May 2020 Luke Goldsworthy

Social Distancing and Social Media

While the heaviest restrictions imposed at the height of the coronavirus pandemic are beginning to be lifted in Australia, social distancing will linger much longer. People are social creatures but the dangers of physical contact have accelerated life in the virtual world. Over the past few months, we’ve thrived on working from home, video meetings, eCommerce, home delivery, streaming entertainment… and more than ever social media.

The safety of a vaccine could be over a year away, and even then the convenience of our increasingly digitally-augmented lives is likely to stop a complete return to the pre-COVID-19 days and ways. In this new world, it is more important than ever that businesses know how to effectively utilise social media to portray their brand and stay connected with their customers. The decisions you make now will significantly impact how well your business is able to get back to speed with the re-opening.

We’ve discussed in previous posts the importance of using this downtime to be eCommerce ready for the looming economic revival, today we want to focus on your communication with your customers.

Kantar, the world’s leading data, insights and consulting company, surveyed 45,000 consumers across 30 markets in mid-March about their attitudes, media habits and expectations during the outbreak. It found that web browsing had increased by 70% and social media engagement by 63%. Social media usage has increased across every generation. The number of those logging on to a social media platform on a daily basis has grown by 27% for Gen Z, 30% for millennials, 29% for Gen X, and 15% for Baby Boomers.

Kantar estimated that brands that fail to maintain communication with their customers could see up to a 39% reduction in brand awareness, which would delay their recovery. It’s not just important to stay in contact with your customers though, but also to say the right things.

The survey provided valuable information on consumer expectations of brands. They want them to take care of their employees’ health (78%) and implement flexible working conditions (62%). Their advertising should “talk about how the brand is helpful in the new everyday life” (77%), “inform about their efforts to face the situation” (75%), and “offer a reassuring tone’” (70%). Also to be avoided, advertising “should not exploit coronavirus situation to promote the brand” (75%) and “should avoid humorous tones” (40%).

When communicating, keep the following in mind:

Meet your customers where they are

Social media engagement has skyrocketed, and your customers aren’t just on Facebook anymore. It must be complemented by Instagram as a core part of your customer engagement and sales strategy. This is even more so as of last week, now that they are able to buy products directly from a business’ Facebook page or Instagram profile. But social media is not just about sales. Platforms such as YouTube provide an excellent avenue for businesses to demonstrate their expertise with informative videos for potential customers. 

Be compassionate

Australia’s response to the crisis is a global success story, though as much a result of our isolation as our good management. Despite this, many have lost jobs or seen their income reduced. Additionally, we’ve all been subjected to isolation and the stresses of an uncertain future. On the upside, it is no longer insincere to ask someone if they are ok. Don’t forget to keep your customers’ welfare in front of mind. Keep communications positive and reassuring. We will get through this, and the better shape we are all in, the faster the economy can recover, and the happier life will be for both you and your customers.

We are here to help you help them.

Get in touch with our team and we can talk to you about this or any eCommerce questions you may have.