How to craft social copy
When you hear the term copy, what first comes to mind? It may come as no surprise that copy is everything, ingrained in almost everything we do on a day-to-day basis.
You might hear some refer to ‘good’ copy, and harp on about its importance in marketing materials. This is because put simply, good copy sells. It tells the reader a story, pulls on their emotions and inspires them.
Copy is more than just a tool to accompany products, it is a vehicle to evoke action. Brands need to engage audiences with content to drive recall, make a mark and stand out. This can be done by creating succinct, informative and topical copy that speaks to the target audience, steering clear from clickbait tactics and convoluted language, which can leave the reader confused and uninspired.
Over time, copy also allows you to build a brand personality. This clear brand voice provides a sense of authenticity and builds long-lasting relationships with your following, driving brand loyalty.
We’ve pulled together some key tips on how to make copy sing whether you’re writing for your own LinkedIn to stand out in the market, or building a brand on social media.
4 tips for writing better social copy
- Write within length guidelines
In social copy, less is more. Just because the maximum character limit on Twitter is 280, doesn’t mean you have to use every single one of them up. Typically, the ideal character limit for each platform is the amount of text you can get away with without your copy becoming truncated (ie. having to click on ‘see more’). Why go to all the effort of crafting some great copy when your audience might not even see half of it if it’s too long? If you’re stuck on what the ideal character limit is for the platform you’re creating on, a quick google goes a long way.
2. Write for your platform and audience
Each platform has its own unique audience that influences how you should speak to them – for example, your tone should be much more professional and informative on LinkedIn, compared to being conversational and cheeky on Instagram.
Writing for your audience is also important because how you speak to them influences their relationship with your brand. If your key audience is 18–25-year-old males and the tone in your copy is that of an authoritative (and dare I say, boring) old person, the audience won’t respond well to your message. If your copy sounded as if you really were an 18–25-year-old then the messaging would generally be received much better.
3. Be topical
Social media never stays still. It ebbs and flows, which is why your subject matter and copy need to move along with it.
One trick to sounding relevant but being prepared is starting by planning content around the reoccurring ‘International X Day’s relevant to your brand. Here you can pre-plan and join the conversation.
Another way of being topical is to always have your radar up on what people are saying. There are a range of social tools that enable you to look at the conversations happening online so you can jump in before the moment is gone. Twitter’s trending feed or looking at hashtags are other great ways to do this.
4. Maintain a consistent tone of voice
Your audience’s relationship with your brand is built on trust – trust that your brand is what you say it is. If you’re a new-age tech start-up and you want to differentiate yourself from the big and serious players in tech, then having a light-hearted and even cheeky tone of voice can work in your favour. The key is maintaining that tone of voice over time. If you’re posting memes in one post and then in the next, you’re having a serious discussion about regulation then that will only confuse your readers.
And that’s it. There’s no one way to write good social copy – but practice does make perfect. The more you write for different platforms and audiences, the better you’ll be – so get writing!
Three trends to watch on social media
There are few things evolving and changing as fast as social media. We take a look at three trends it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Social community driving Social commerce
Pre pandemic, social commerce was simply a new opportunity only being tested out by some of the biggest and most innovative retail companies.
But as we plunged into lockdowns, shopping online and on social quickly became a way of life. In Australia alone, we saw a 700% increase in social media shopping, with social media platforms becoming the most important platform for brand discovery.
According to one publisher, Instagram and Snapchat are taking the lead in generating sales from Gen Z, as they are spending 2x more shopping on social channels than an average consumer. Gen X, on the other hand, is inclined to Facebook.
As a result we have seen some new and exciting shopping tools emerge including Livestream shopping, Instagram Drops and Tiktok Shopping.
For brands and companies, the key to nailing this trend is identifying the functions and tools available on the platforms on which you operate. Experiment and learn what works best for your audience and what they are most receptive to in order to create a seamless online shopping experience.
Consumers crave snackable content
Possibly one of the biggest social trends that we will expect to see this year is the desire for short form, “snackable content.”
As social media attention spans continue to shrink and digital fatigue becomes even more prevalent, snackable content is increasingly becoming a more important format for storytelling in digital communications.
By far one of the most important things for brands is learning how to leverage short form video to tell your story. Whether it be TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, Pinterest Idea Pins, or even Google Web Stories, being able to create engaging short-form videos that last between 15 to 60 seconds will be critical to obtaining visibility in the news feeds of almost every social network.
AR and the Metaverse
We couldn’t talk about the biggest trends of the year, without mentioning AR and the Metaverse. 2022 will see the increase of AR used, particularly in the social commerce space, whilst the metaverse will become more concrete as it pushes the boundaries on innovative experiences.
Seamlessly integrated augmented reality is already a part of many social media users’ online experiences; however, we now see AR technology being used more frequently to enhance and bring to life more immersive shopping experiences. From visualising how a pair of sunglasses look through a Snapchat filter, to seeing how an outfit suits a Prada handbag on Instagram, AR is quickly becoming the future of shopping. From Nike to Ikea, Urban Decay and Lancome, these brands are quickly paving the way for the future of the online shopping experience and connecting and engaging earlier with their younger target audience through the use of AR on social media. More info HERE
Facebook –> Meta quickly became one of the biggest memes of 2021, however in 2022, the notion of the Metaverse is going to become more tangible as innovative companies and organisations look for ways to enhance digital experiences. The Metaverse promises to create more realistic and therefore more productive, immersive meetings made possible with 3D virtual reality headsets.
In the consumer space Fortnite has long operated within this digital space, hosting live concerts and experiences which could be enjoyed virtually from the comfort of your home. We are now seeing more traditional retailers are following suit, with Nike, Gucci, Balenciaga and Luis Vuitton exploring commerce within this space.
The biggest things to consider to excel in this space is how AR can be utilised within social commerce and how events and experiences can pivot into this digital world.
The new news – owned journalism
Today there are more brands than ever trying to tell their stories to drive commercial outcomes – be those sales, reputational gains or something else entirely. To do so soley relying on media misses an opportunity to build your own follower base long-term.
Building your own group of fans to continue talking to sits at the heart of what we believe is the best in PR strategy.
We believe in the power of earned media to inform and inspire audiences and deliver results. Earned media’s reputation and objectivity can’t be beat.
But news production today is a different beast to years gone by. The stories that news desks seek, tell, print, broadcast and air each day have fallen into a pattern of promoting just the information needed to go about one’s daily lives in a COVID world.
What does that mean for you? Once, where there would have been an opportunity or space in a newspaper, online publication or even two minutes of the news bulletin for a brand or PR agency to take and show the world an incredible brand story, there’s now only room for health, political or event coverage. Thousands of brands are now left fighting for the same one spot in any given publication.
That’s where owning your own news is critical. Your PR strategy should not only be targeting journalists, but also be building newsworthy content for your own channels. Because if you can bring your audience to your channels, you have a chance to retain them and directly convert or influence them.
Our team is filled with ex journalists and brand specialists who create content for brands to broadcast across social media, websites and EDMs among other channels.
But it isn’t the case of just filming an interview. Consumers can sniff out a branded marketing piece. That’s why media works so well – it is intensely non-commercial. The art and science is in crafting your story as a journalist would, balancing your message with the news agenda and adding value to the audience.
A dual owned and earned approach gives brands more bang for buck and means that if they invest in a key event or moment and media are called elsewhere, their story can be packaged up for their channels and also distributed to media – meaning they can still get that coverage.
So next time your brand has something newsworthy to say, consider how to tell it not just to media, but also on your channels. Video, written assets, photography – all amplified via smart targeting to build your audience. Now that’s great PR.
How brands can leverage digital communities
When you picture a digital community maybe Sims comes up or some other digital avatar style community where you get to be the sickest, baddest version of yourself.
That’s not what we’re talking about.
Digital communities offer huge opportunities for brands wanting to drive influence through audience segments, perhaps to launch a product, change a perception or drive sales. And they’re not virtual.
Most of us are members of a digital community – if you’re a fan of Peloton you might be one of their 460,000 Official Peloton Facebook group members, if you like surfing you might be part of the 25,000 strong OMBE Surf Hacks movement on Facebook.
These digital communities bring people together with a common interest and have never been more active or more impactful on our daily lives than they are now. And nowhere are these communities being created—and catered to—more than on social media.
They present opportunities for brands to partner with influencers within these already established groups and sometimes quite niche groups, rather than having to establish them from the ground up on their own.
The keys to nailing this are threefold:
- Find the platform your community is most active on and understand how they communicate with one another
- Find the influencers/ambassadors within these communities and identify how you can use their voice and content format to align with your brand message
- BE AUTHENTIC! At the end of the day this is key: consumers respond best to authentic content. Find ambassadors that embody your brands values and have your product or service fit authentically into their everyday life.
Bastion Amplify bolsters team with new senior appointments
Following a number of high-profile national client wins, we are proud to announce a series of key senior appointments to our PR team in 2022.
Heading up our growing Sydney PR arm is the recently-appointed Nancy McDonald, who joins as Group Business Director to oversee client growth in NSW.
We also welcome ex Channel 7 News journalist Georgia Comensoli as our first Media Director, expected to further bolster our team’s media success for clients and drive innovation through an owned news platform for clients.
Finally Susana Liu joins as Business Director in Melbourne leading our B2B portfolio comprising a range of leading property brands including Jinding, Australia 108 and Melbourne Square.
The new hires follow a number of exciting new client wins, with the signing of European luxe camping brand Dometic, fintech disruptor Tiiik Money, Unilever and international developer SPG Land.
Bastion Amplify CEO Richard Chapman said the key hires came off a strong 2021 during which Amplify rebranded from Bastion Effect as part of the Bastion network’s new Think Wide positioning, and we oversaw one of the most important campaigns of the agency’s 20-plus years’ the Million Dollar Vax.
“Bastion Amplify continues to innovate and grow in the market with a number of terrific new clients and strong strategic partnerships in place with our long-term client family. We’re delighted to have Nancy, Georgia and Susana join, all of whom bring a wealth of experience, new ways of working and process into the team and specialist expertise,” said Chapman.
“It has been heartening to see throughout the pandemic how our teams have risen to the challenge, delivering truly integrated campaigns, and working with our clients to demonstrate the value of PR, whether it be in media, or with influencers on social. We will continue to see in our industry this year the growth of Corpsumer PR, more brands harnessing the impact of paid social and integrated social and digital, as well as the rise of owned news, something we have high hopes for.”
Nancy McDonald joins from Australasia’s leading pet specialist retailer, Petbarn and Greencross Vets where she was Head of PR & Content. Prior to this, she spent 13 years working in PR, marketing and journalism in Australia, working across clients including Hungry Jack’s, Kraft Heinz, Honda, Hyundai, Dr. Lewinn’s, Access Corporate Group and as a journalist and presenter for NewsCorp.
Georgia Comensoli previously worked as a journalist and Chief of Staff in the Channel 7 Newsroom based in Melbourne, filing for multiple national bulletins including Sunrise, Morning News, 4pm News, 6pm News and The Latest. Comensoli also has experience in the 3AW Newsroom and regional television including WIN News. Alongside her eight years as a journalist, she has experience in content and brand creation freelancing for global firm Goldeneye Media as well as six years Crisis Management experience with Melbourne firm Crisis Shield.
Susana Liu has worked with a range of leading companies across the property, financial services and tech sectors to deliver strategic communications and integrated campaigns. Previous clients include Charter Hall, Frasers Property, UEM Sunrise, Architectus, ME Bank and MessageMedia. Most recently she was an Account Director at Keep Left.
Social media in 2022
Over the past couple of weeks, a lot of publishers have started promoting their trends, findings and forecasts for the coming year. Off the back of this, a lot of interesting articles are being published about how people are using social media, and how we can look to capitalise on some trends to get the most out of some channels.
Below are some of the best insights and articles we’ve seen in our travels.
Video remains king
Video definitely killed the radio star and now perhaps the TV star too. A new study conducted by the Consumer Technology Association has found that consumers now spend almost as much time streaming videos on social platforms as they do watching traditional TV. Smart TV shows are getting ahead of this and streaming episodic productions on socials.
For brands it highlights the need to invest in video to reach your audience. And it offers hope for brands that can’t afford big ATL campaigns – smart social video just could do the trick.
More info HERE.
Sound and visual matter on TikTok
TikTok has recently published its findings on how sound and creative influences its user base. Sound or visual alone across social creative has meaning, but when paired together they can create something truly special. Through the combination of both sound and visuals on TikTok, brands cannot just become part of a current trend, but also create a brand new one.
Turn up the volume!
On Facebook, it is usual for 75% of video plays occurring with sound off. As a result, it is has become common practice to build for sound off viewing, utilising call to actions to get users to listen with sound or using subtitles to vocally driven videos. However, on TikTok sound is not only essential, but also expected, with 9 out of 10 users of the platform saying it is essential to the TikTok experience.
On the platform sound can take a series of forms, with one option being music. Music on TikTok is totally unique to any other social media platform, with a variety of music labels using the platform to gain awareness for their artists, and in some cases, those artists entering the Billboard charts off the back of a successful introduction on TikTok.
With 50% of users finding content with music more energising, uplifting and engaging, this trend encourages advertisers to utilise music. In fact, ads that use music experiencing up to 120% more awareness lift than silent ads, it’s hard to see why more brands do not utilise it more.
Another way brands can utilise sound is through brand linkage. A study last year found that ad recall increased by over eight times when distinctive brand sounds are leveraged in ads, when compared to other elements like slogans and logos. One successful example is Singapore Airlines, which created a 30 minute audio suite to simulate the sounds passengers would hear from their services, including lounge music, boarding, fight and landing audio. This has been rolled out across TikTok, where their brand is now heavily associated with any airline focused content that now appears on the channel.
More info HERE
Pinterest Shares New Insights into How Brands Can Enhance Appeal Among Gen Z Consumers
Pinterest is a platform that many brand bypass, however, it does have a lot of potential when used the right way to target the right people. Pinterest’s recent report into Gen Z users (people born after 1997) has brought up some interesting trends as to how they make purchase decisions online and how they use the platform as a whole. For anyone with an upcoming campaign for younger audiences this is a must read.
More info HERE.
Navigating a return to work
Is the traditional office obsolete? Is working from home the new norm? Is there a generational shift at play propelling us forwards? Our Senior Account Director Katya Ginsberg shares some of the insights from our client Unispace.
With Australia and New Zealand now ahead of the COVID-19 curve and other nations looking to the Trans-Tasman bubble for benchmark business solutions as the world starts to gingerly reopen, global workplace experts Unispace are championing a new office model to help businesses navigate their return-to-work roadmaps.
The strategy, build and design firm has developed a hybrid framework that coalesces the benefits of the collaborative office hub with the merits of one’s home for focused work – coined the Propeller Workplace.
The Propeller Workplace
Last year, a survey undertaken by 237 of Unispace’s clients, including ANZ Bank, Optus, Coca Cola, EY and Deloitte, concluded that businesses across the globe are looking for workplace solutions that improve employee retention, inspire collaboration and knowledge sharing, and normalise the true definition of flexible working.
The Propeller framework does just this; it encourages employees to seek out their place of work due to its culture and curated experiences, while also enabling employees to do their best work at home or close-to home in personalised spaces devoid of distractions.
This year, Unispace predicts that employees who are unable to work from home will adopt the ‘hub and close-to-home’ hybrid model which will see pop-up desks emerging in fringe commercial precincts available for booking online so that workers can avoid a lengthy commute while still reaping the benefits of a defined workspace.
For businesses, it is now about creating office environments that employees gravitate towards because of the curated, collaborative, and social experience it offers. Moving forwards, it is likely that the office will be seen as a complement to home-based working which will be used for concentration, learning and recharging.
As a result, office design will inevitably change, from occupancy levels in meetings rooms to a reduction in the number of single desks. This might mean a reduction in real estate for some and a redistribution and reinvestment in space for others to create a destination workplace centred around collaboration and enhanced technology.
Using predictive analytics
Global workplace experts Unispace have also developed a predictive analytics tool that models expected occupancy levels across different industries to help inform future workplace usage.
The tool leverages 3.2 million data points from the Bureau of Labour Statistics to help businesses decipher how their workforce will return to the office and on what basis. The tool is able to forecast the specifics of how many people can be expected back (i.e. headcount), when and how often they’ll be in the office and as a result, the spatial requirements of the office down to the square metre. It is customisable to different market sectors and uses an algorithm to produce augmented workplace data to help inform business decisions.
Across all industries, Unispace’s predictive analytics suggests 37% of the workforce will continue WFH 3+ days a week, even once a vaccine is readily available.
Some other high-level insights include:
- 40% of workers will work from home up to three days a week from 2021
- 20-60% percent of the workforce will continue to work remotely as a result of COVID-19 protocols
- 10-30% of office space will remain unoccupied (in addition to the 40-50% that was already typically unoccupied)
- Therefore, at any given time in future, a workpoint could remain unoccupied 60-80% of the time
The year of the pilot
While 2020 was the year of the survey, Unispace says 2021 is the year of the pilot – time to test new workplace concepts, draw people back into the office and measure performance to validate the new purpose of the office.
But with businesses re-examining how office space is occupied and looking to restructure space to accommodate an agile workforce, one of the biggest ‘return to work’ challenges that Unispace has identified is the power balance between physical and virtual collaboration.
In a post-COVID workforce it is no longer just about collaboration; it is about blended and inclusive collaboration to create a level playing field both at work and at home.
Customer feedback confirms that employees often feel disenfranchised when they enter videos calls inhabited by a large group of office-based team members, and even more challenging is deciphering how two or more groups operate harmoniously on Team’s Meetings in the same space at the same time.
As workplace experts, Unispace is committed to resolving these workplace semantics and rectifying the various power dynamics and nuances at play so that businesses can effectively champion inclusive collaboration techniques and triage physical and digital collaboration this year and beyond.
First to rise out of COVID-19, Auckland presented Unispace with an opportunity to administer its turnkey methodology to itself and deliver a post-Covid workplace at pace to showcase its industry-leading Propeller framework for clients and prospective customers alike.
In a nod to effective blended collaboration, the newly built Unispace Auckland studio features custom-designed video conferencing ‘Teams’ pods with high-performing acoustic treatment and technology capabilities that operate as a cost-effective alternative to built-in meeting rooms. These pods enable two or more groups to work uninhibited in the same space at the same time, as does the room booking system, desk and room occupancy sensors, 52 ergonomic work points, and open space technology that empowers employees to work to their potential, anywhere.
Riding the wave
Unispace asserts that the user (employee) and visitor (client) experience are important influencers in productivity, culture and wellness, and initiatives such as hospitality offerings, social events, and wellness activities can take the workplace experience to the next level. More so, the office space is reflective of the values that an organisation offers its users and can be leveraged as a strategic asset to encourage employees to return to work in 2021.
But for now, it is about riding the COVID-19 wave together and redefining flexible work for future generations.
One thing that is for sure, the office is here to stay.
Influencer marketing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
For better or worse, the impact of COVID-19 has been felt widely – within our industry, marketing budgets are under scrutiny, campaigns are in limbo and brands are doing their best to navigate through these unprecedented times by pivoting, pausing, or in some case cancelling campaigns altogether.
Among this uncertainty it has become evident that digital marketing is on the increase, as consumers spend more time on devices, get more comfortable buying online and marketers look for efficient ways to move inventory.
It begs the question as to where influencer marketing sits in all of this?
While most of the world has come to a halt, the collective craving for community and authenticity has only increased. Social influencers have become more relatable. Just like the rest of us, they are self-isolating and sharing very personal experiences – directly from their loungerooms to ours. As marketers, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of this.
Influencers doing it well are building stronger, deeper connections with their audiences, making their endorsement more valuable than ever before. For brands, this presents an opportunity to grow their share of voice online and connect with consumers in a more meaningful and impactful way. If done right, the connections made now will last well after the crisis has passed.
However, it is important to consider your approach to messaging with influencers. Sales based campaigns aren’t quite right for now. Consumers are increasingly looking for helpful and hopeful content and seeking out a sense of “community” to help satisfy their longing for personal interactions – be it with friends, family, colleagues and even influencers. They are hungry to know more and eager to find ways to cope. In fact industry research shows 70% of influencers’ audiences are turning to them for guidance during the crisis.
While the basic Do’s and Don’ts of influencer marketing remain, brands do need to navigate through this carefully. Below are a few key considerations marketers need to keep in mind when looking to implement a successful influencer marketing campaign amidst the current environment.
Understand your customer’s mindset
Influencer marketing is about understanding your customer’s mindset – what drives them – and being able to generate a positive message and feeling while delivering content that is unquestionably genuine and not generated purely by self-interest. Timely, purpose-led and empathetic storytelling is key.
Influencers’ reach does not trump relevance and authenticity
You need to re-evaluate your mindset in terms of what metrics are most important to you and what authenticity and relevance means to your brand. Don’t be blinded by the number of followers an influencer has as this doesn’t necessarily translate to authenticity and credibility. First and foremost, you need to foster relationships with influencers who have a natural brand alignment and shared ethics.
Brands need to put a higher focus on social responsibility
While brands are in the business to sell, social responsibility has never been more important than now. Brands are responsible for supplying consumers with content in a moral, conscientious and transparent manner. It’s important you re-think the way your brand would traditionally work with influencers to seed product and messaging, because transparency is critical in times of uncertainty.
Consider your messaging and tone of voice
Don’t be silent or tone deaf through all of this and avoid using language that can be perceived as negative or scary. Instead, provide context to the situation and work with influencers to offer solutions and inspirations – this can really help “humanise” your brand. You can acknowledge the situation at hand by using hashtags like #StaySafe and #StayHomeWith[insertbrand] and stickers that raise awareness, for example Instagram’s “Stay at Home” sticker.
Continue to reassess, always
Just as the Coronavirus situation is evolving rapidly, so should your brand’s influencer strategy, creative and messaging. Don’t be left behind – what was relevant one week ago might not be appropriate today. When engaging influencers, do your due diligence upfront and keep the brief flexible to allow for any necessary amends.
No doubt, the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak will last for a long time. Through this, influencer marketing shouldn’t come to a standstill, but rather, brands should embrace this as an opportunity to harness authentic relationships and connect with consumers through purpose-led content – whether it’s educating or bringing them laughter, joy or inspiration. After all, we are all humans, full of emotions and desire to form meaningful connections, even in times of crisis.
Getting your communications shovel-ready
In a bid to get the economy moving again state governments are smashing through approvals for shovel-ready projects across the nation – from schools and roads to solar farms.
Some say that governments are hoping to push through seven years worth of projects in just 12 months, while others are saying it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ‘build the nation’.
For those firms vying for these projects it is important to demonstrate a number of critical factors including a ready-to-go workforce, proven track record of delivery, best-in-class capabilities, a low-risk, value for money approach and a strong focus on corporate responsibility.
Undoubtedly competition will be strong as many strive to secure contracts, so it’s important to get your communications shovel-ready to ensure you stand out and have a clearly articulated position to government and stakeholders that demonstrates why you are a safe set of hands and how you will outperform your competition.
Build a clear corporate narrative
Your corporate narrative is basically your company story – what do you do, why do you do it and what makes you better than anyone else. Importantly it is distinct, memorable and reflects your company values. It’s important this narrative is understood and adopted at all levels of your organisation, so that it can be communicated consistently – and with authenticity – both internally and externally.
When building a corporate narrative you need to consider your overarching proposition and the pillars and proof points that underpin it. This will allow you to develop a narrative that stands the test of time and can be flexed to apply to a range of situations. Think of it as the backbone or foundation of your communications – it’s hard to build a strong building (or story) when you start on sand.
Optimise your presence
Your external communication touchpoints are the first place people go when considering working with you or working for you.
Your website should be fully optimised and bring to life your corporate narrative. You should also consider having a news or blog section on there to showcase company innovation, success and results. When regularly updated with timely, compelling content, this archive will help your SEO ensuring you stand out in Google searches.
Similarly, your socials should clearly communicate and reflect your company position and values. Each channel must have a purpose and be updated regularly, rather than be used as a place to dump pics when someone in the team remembers. LinkedIn, for example, is the place to share thought leadership content that positions you as an exemplar in your field. Social media is also a great place to bring to life the talent in your business and can really help with recruitment.
Demonstrate expertise and experience
Being able to tell someone why your company is better than a competitor is important, but what is essential in that story is the proof to back up what you’re saying. This is where creating a trove of great case studies is key – these might live on your website, be formatted for easy insertion into tender documents and even showcased on your socials.
Importantly, this track record is critical to promote along with your corporate story at a time like this. Companies vying for government tenders need to be positioning themselves as trusted future partners, great corporate citizens and true innovators. It is where focused and smart media relations campaigns can help to attach credibility to your story and build awareness, while social media can back this up and increase your reach (coupled with smart targeting this could help your key stakeholders see your message more). So, as you get your company shovel-ready, remember to follow these key steps to ensure your communications are primed for the green light too.
Value, not silence, is where the ‘stay home’ opportunity is for brands on social
Should brands stay quiet on social media during COVID-19? And if not, what should they say? Our Head of Social Shirley Tat weighs in.
“Stay Home” – an instruction from the government turned Instagram sticker turned aggregator of ‘in iso’ Stories. It’s a command that has us very much disconnected from the outside world, but at the same time very much connected within the digital world. We’re on Zoom calls, Teams meetings, Google Hangouts, you name it and our media consumption is reflecting this.
In recent studies, Nielsen predicted a 60 per cent rise in media consumption within the US during COVID-19, while Whatsapp is showing a 40 per cent increase since the early days of the virus and Facebook Messenger has experienced a 50 per cent increase in the last month. Usage on infamous Chinese social media apps Weibo and WeChat has climbed by 37 per cent recently and time spent across the Facebook family (Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp) has significantly increased by a whopping 70 per cent.
Now let’s pause for a second, because you might argue that’s just millennials or something. But, if we consider how much time we all already spend on our devices, it’s a significant increase we can all relate to and in amongst this changing behaviour is the upside for brands.
Despite the challenges COVID-19 presents, many brands are moving from surviving to thriving. We know gyms have closed, but home fitness brands are surging. We know restaurants have closed, but food delivery services are booming. We know in-person events have been cancelled, but live streaming has taken over. What’s the common thread? Social and digital.
Now, more than ever, is the time for brands to build their equity and create demand for when confidence returns. People are indoors, they’re socially distanced with a need to kill time, find solace and stay in touch with their friends and family. Consumers are on the frontline, ready for brands to communicate with them by adding value to their lives. Brands shouldn’t be thinking about whether they should post on social or not, but rather what they should be posting about – this is where the opportunity lies.
Interestingly, a study by Social Bakers showed paid media spend is on the decline as numerous brands are pulling their campaigns. What this tells us indirectly is that there is a clear opportunity for brands to cut through the clutter (and the coined ‘infodemic’ by the WHO) – wisely and cost effectively.
Whether your content is designed to inform, entertain or inspire; keep communicating. Remaining silent is only creating more distance between brands and consumers. Consumers are craving connectivity – be it with friends, family, colleagues, influencers, or brands.
To put simply: our needs have dramatically changed and herein lies the challenge for brands. Rather than spending too much time on sympathy messages, businesses should consider and find new ways to engage consumers through content that demonstrates their brand values and purpose. Essentially, this is what creates meaning for consumers and drives a range of benefits from consideration to conversion.
Often, more than half of the social content pushed out by brands is considered as ‘clutter’. It’s time to throw away the pre-COVID-19 content calendar and start creating valuable content. Here’s a four-step framework that can define what ‘valuable content’ looks like for brands as a ‘TRUE’ model:
Truthful: the content must be accurate and feel authentic, staying true to the brand’s values
Reactive: the content relates and responds to the current situation in a timely manner, earning attention through instant relevance
Utilitarian: the content offers a helpful balance of being informative and practical, providing consumers with a user benefit based on individual needs
Empathic: the content is designed for social – a two-way conversational channel – with a strong focus on showing compassion and being human
With all this said, there’s been no shortage of brands around the world that have been successfully communicating and connecting with their consumers. It has broadened their global awareness, enhanced their reputation and demonstrated their purpose. Amongst a plethora of very generous healthcare donations including newly-innovated ventilators and face masks to big dollar commitments, we’ve seen other creative initiatives such as modern furniture company West Elm offering free virtual backgrounds, Nike empowering people to stay home and remain active, Colgate bringing our community together by keeping everyone smiling, through to iconic logos being changed to remind people about social distancing.
It doesn’t just stop here. Smaller businesses and local brands are also creatively coming up with TRUE content, where chefs are providing in-home cooking meals on IGTV, food brands are sharing easy-to-make recipes, DIY brands are using Stories to provide parents with arts and craft hacks at home, retail in-store experiences are being turned into virtual shopping experiences, fitness brands are offering free in-home workouts on YouTube and much, much more.
Whatever your brand’s purpose and offering is, now is a highly relevant time to keep communicating through social media. Provided your content follows the TRUE model, what you’ll garner are measurable results that are far greater than what you would have achieved by remaining silent.
WE ARE PART OF BASTION
Bastion is a truly integrated, full-service marketing and communications agency founded in 2009. We are Australia’s largest independent agency, with an ambition to achieve the same feat in the USA.
We offer a wide breadth of specialist capabilities across the communications spectrum including market research, brand and creative, advertising, corporate and change communications, PR and social media, digital and customer experience (CX), sponsorship and experiential, film and content production, merchandise, Asia marketing and communications, data analytics and panel management.