Key Insights

Key Insights Every Marketer Needs During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily changed life as we know it. Not just a health crisis, coronavirus has had a knock-on effect on workers, businesses and the economy – with many businesses being forced to shut their doors, 7 out of 10 companies having to furlough staff and forecasts that the pandemic could cause a 35% fall in GDP.

Following the news that the UK government has extended the UK-wide lockdown, staying in is what’s needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but clearly this has a huge impact on all businesses.

Clearly, this is a difficult period for brands. Most will need to learn to quickly adapt their marketing strategy to survive the period.

To make this tricky time that little bit easier, Report Central are here to help. We have compiled a list of key insights every marketer needs to know to in order to develop and deliver a sound marketing strategy during the COVID-19 crisis.

Social media usage has shifted

 

Following lockdown and social distancing measures, most us are spending more time at home. As a result social media usage has increased.

In fact, we’re now spending between 3-7 hours on social media every day with social media giants Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram seeing a 40% increase in usage since lockdown.

As customers can no longer visit bricks and mortar premises, and with many tightening the purse strings, focusing efforts on a bullet-proof social media strategy will therefore be critical for brands during this period.

Although every business is different, there are a few key areas every brand can focus on to ace their social media strategy during COVID-19:

  • Go Live: as we can’t physically be out and about attending events and heading to stores, it makes sense that the likes of Facebook and Instagram Live have increased by 50% in just a week’s time. Whether you live stream a stripped back version of your event, carry out a Q&A or do a quick product demo, going live is a great way of reaching and connecting with your audience.
  • Share Stories: every marketer knows the importance of Instagram and Facebook stories, and it’s more important than ever that brands put out awesome content via this medium. After all, story views have increased by 21% during lockdown. Whether you use stories to show off your products, share entertaining video clips, do Q&As or share latest news, it’s an important way to get more eyes on your content.
  • Think video: we all know that video is king. What’s more, during lockdown 80% of consumers claim they are consuming more video each day. Don’t be scared by video, it’s super easy to create fun clips and there’s no need for professional equipment. In 2020, a smartphone will do. Video is an amazing platform for sharing a breadth of content – from the silly, entertaining, informative to provoking. For more help, check out our ultimate guide to creating killer video content here.
  • Concentrate on listening and communicating with your audience: as we’ve already mentioned, communication with your customers during the crisis is key, and for businesses, social media platforms are a great way to stay connected with their audience. From simply replying to your customers’ messages and comments, opening the channels of communication by telling your audience you’re there to answer their questions, doing a dedicated Q&A or opening up the discussion in your comments section, use your social channels as a way to stay connected with your audience.
  • Ask your audience for user-generated content: whether you ask your customers to send in photos or videos of them using your products or simply doing something for entertainment, asking for user-generated content is not only amazing for brand awareness, it helps connect your brand and audience and gives you a breadth of content to share on your platforms.

Brand’s messaging needs to change

 

More of us want brands’ messaging to adapt and nod to the current situation. In fact, 68% of us find it useful when ads show regard to the pandemic.

For brands, this means adapting their tone and messaging and highlighting their values, after all 65% of us say how brands respond to the pandemic will have a huge impact on whether they will buy their products. 78% of consumers have said that brands should help them in their daily lives, with 75% stating that brands should inform them of what they’re doing.

The key takeaways for brands here are:

  • Be transparent: although this should already be at the centre of your digital marketing strategy, it’s never been so important that brands are open and transparent about how they are responding to the coronavirus outbreak. Consumers want brands to be open and transparent about what they’re doing at this time, so it’s important to communicate this with them. Whether you create a dedicated COVID-19 website page or put out a public statement on social media, it’s important to have a clear and open response.
  • Keep your audience informed: it’s important to keep your audience in the loop about your COVID-19 measures, showing them how your brand is playing its part during the crisis. From safety measures to shipping policies, keep your audience informed and in the loop.
  • Show how you are doing good: consumers want to hear about how your brand is having a positive impact on the community during the crisis. Whether you demonstrate how your products can be used in new ways, from helping with home-schooling kids to being worn as face masks, or share that you are donating to charities or key workers.
  • Do not exploit the situation: although this goes without saying, it’s hugely important, with 75% of us thinking companies shouldn’t exploit the situation. Brands’ marketing messages need to be sensitive to the current situation and avoid exploiting it for their own gain.
  • Do focus on other content: although you need to be sensitive to the crisis, not all of your content needs to be COVID-19 focused. You don’t have to press pause on all your other business initiatives, but you need to consider a way to deliver your marketing strategies in a way that’s appropriate and sensitive to the situation.

Don’t be afraid to advertise

 

Many brands may be worried about advertising during the crisis. Yet, the reality is that consumers remain receptive to advertising. In fact, just a mere 8% of consumers think brands should stop advertising. What’s more, global ad spend is down $20B from the beginning of the year, making ads super affordable.

Over 50% of Gen Z audiences believe it necessary for brands to advertise during the pandemic in order to survive this difficult period. So, although brands shouldn’t stop advertising, they do need to adapt the way they’re advertising.

When it comes to ads during COVID-19, here are a few tips brands need to consider:

  • Advertise thoughtfully: consumers understand that brands need to continue advertising, but they want them to do it with thought and consideration. After all, only 7% said that brands should continue using their normal brand tone and voice when advertising. Consumers want to see ads that reflect a brand’s values during this time, with 77% of us saying we feel more positively about brands showing how they are making an effort to support society at the moment.
  • Be honest and reliable: 89% of consumers believe that brands’ ads should provide reliable and accurate information during the crisis. In fact, 91% of customers value honesty from companies they decide to buy from.
  • Be positive: 70% of us want brands’ ads to boost positivity. Whether you share positive stories, show how you’re doing good for the community or offer a thoughtful gesture for your audience, positive messages can go a long way.

Brands will also find they will need to reconsider some of their keywords. Here are a couple of our top tips to keyword research during the outbreak:

  • Follow trending COVID-19 searches: using Google trends is a great way to see what people are searching for online. In fact, as a response to the sudden sharp increase in coronavirus-related searches, Google trends have launched a new Google Trend Coronavirus Hub, allowing you to see specific COVID related searches.
  • Keep reviewing your keywords: this is more important than ever, considering that search terms related to COVID-19 rapidly evolve and develop each day. No one can say what will be trending tomorrow, so you’ve got to keep a finger on the pulse.

For help with Google Ads during the coronavirus outbreak, check out this handy guide by Wordstream.

Audiences want brands to offer them value

 

With many peoples’ priorities changing during this time, brands will want to move away from sell, sell, sell, and focus on offering value to their audience in other ways.

This is where content marketing comes in handy. From blog posts, guides to video, content marketing is a great way to entertain, inform and offer value to your audience whilst keeping them engaged with your brand.

With more time at home and more time on our hands, think about how your brand can create content that will connect with your audience and be truly useful to them.  From an entertaining TikTok video to an information rich blog post.

Whether you are a food store who shares exciting recipes to try under lockdown, a clothing boutique sharing styling tip videos or a sports retailer sharing at home workout ideas. Creating a killer content marketing strategy will help connect with your audience in a very real way.

Think about Nike’s latest play inside campaign. As part of the campaign Nike have been sharing free, useful exercise at home tips, healthy eating video content plus tons more.

The takeaway is to think about what your brand can offer your audience in order to offer them real value during this time.

For more help, check out our guide to a killer content marketing strategy in 2020.

 Next Steps – use Report Central’s key insights to shape your marketing strategy during COVID-19

 

Although this is a tough time for everyone, there are ways brands, businesses and marketers can adapt in order to stay connected with their audience, build trust with consumers and continue to trade during this time. We hope you found our key marketing insights useful. For more help with all things digital marketing during the crisis get in touch with Report Central today.

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