Social media advertising has changed.

Posted by Ginger Gatewood on April 27, 2020

By this point, we’re sure that you’ve been receiving thousands of emails, LinkedIn InMail articles, and Facebook posts regarding advertising efficiency during this coronavirus pandemic. Some advertising outlets are spelling the end of the world as we know it, and many others are suggesting that advertising is even more powerful in the wake of unprecedented national lockdowns.

Neither is exactly true. Sure, advertising has completely changed during this friction-filled timeline. How could it not? However, our conversation shouldn’t just be about efficiency. It should be about an overarching strategy, focused on delivering relevant, ROI positive results.

How can you shift your advertising focus to best suit the current global situation? What strategies should you use to ensure that your campaigns reach people with meaningful content over the coming week and months? Advertising has always been (and will always be) about delivering relevancy. Obviously, relevancy currently centers around COVID-19. The question is: how do you leverage that relevancy without leaning too hard into a pandemic?

Businesses can digitally engage with customers more than ever before because people are in their homes and looking at their screens more than ever. This is the perfect time to utilize various social media platforms to expand your brand awareness and drive customers to your website.

Social Distancing vs Physical Distancing:

As you have probably seen in the news, most countries (including the U.S.) are recommending that everyone practice social distancing. However, what they really mean is that you need to physically distance yourself from other people. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be sociable. In fact, thanks to social media, many people are socializing more now than they did before the pandemic; they are just doing it virtually.

Since the virus entered the country in January of this year, social media usage has dramatically increased. According to Statista, as the pandemic continues, the number of people who use social media platforms will continue to rise.

Here is a look at how much growth some of the major players are expecting to see:

  • Facebook is expected to have a 63% increase
  • Instagram is expected to have a 43% increase
  • Pinterest is expected to have a 32% increase
  • LinkedIn is expected to have a 15% increase

The numbers present a pretty clear story: social media platforms are becoming more popular than ever. Opportunity awaits and your business must utilize these platforms in order to stay connected with your customers. Make sure to use these sites often so that your customers know that your company is still open and that even though they need to practice physical distancing, they can still interact and do business with you.

Social Media Best Practices During These Changing Times

It feels like COVID-19 came into our country almost instantly and changed life as we know it. It’s times like these that have us all rethinking lots of things, but the focus here is social advertising practices and strategies. Here are some strategies to consider and implement across your social campaigns:

Send the RIGHT Message and Keep Your Presence Current

  • When you utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, it is important that you are sending the right message to your customers. Make sure that your message is empathetic and caring. Let your customers know that your company is still here to help and support them through this difficult and scary time.
  • Also, if you do operate an essential business, like a grocery store or gas station, and customers are able to still physically walk into your place of business, be sure to update your new hours and any special restrictions you may be observing. The more communicative you can be, the better.
  • It’s very important to embed your content and ads with empathy and sensitivity. This cannot be overstated.

Avoid Trigger Words

  • You can talk about social distancing. You can talk about health. However, you should try to avoid specifically mentioning the coronavirus or COVID-19. For starters, people are getting tired of hearing about it.
  • Facebook is starting to crack-down on a lot of posts and ads that make any claims about COVID-19. If you do mention the virus, don’t make yourself out to look like an expert on the topic. New information and misinformation are filling up the internet as is. It’s best to avoid adding to the noise. You don’t have to talk about the coronavirus to understand the way it is changing how we communicate with each other.

Change Up Your Creative

  • It’s not business as usual. Remember all those great ads you came up with at the end of the year? You probably need to replace them.
  • You need to audit your ads. Plenty of brands have ads centered around typical springtime activities that aren’t happening right now.
  • Remove creative that mentions traveling to other places and events for more than 10 people.

In the end, this is a unique and difficult time for everyone, and many companies are trying to navigate their way through these uncharted territories alone. The main thing to remember is that social media is a great tool to stay connected to your target audience and ensure you build strong relationships that outlast the pandemic.

You still need the right game plan to succeed on social media. Do you need help restructuring your campaigns to fit the current narrative? Are you looking to deliver critical value to consumers during this time? At Cox Media Group Local Solutions, we’re connecting with our clients to help them navigate the complex landscape of social media ads during “social” distancing. We’re here and willing to walk you through best practices, lend a supportive hand when you need us and facilitate growth for your business. Contact Us Today.