Without a doubt, 2020 has been like no other year, and it would be far fetched to suggest that any company has been able to remain “business as usual”. This year has rocked us from our cores and has shaken all of our familiar branches. 

Ironically, during this time of “physical distancing”, we are more connected to one another than ever before. Social media usage has skyrocketed, and we have observed social media users utilizing these platforms in new ways. 

I will be the first to tell you that in the midst of everything, Social Media Marketing and what it “was” before COVID-19, has completely changed. Who would have thought a global pandemic was all it took for 30+-year-olds to start learning choreographed dances for Tik Tok?! 

It’s understandable if you feel lost in this chaos, or confused as to what your brand should or shouldn’t be doing on social media right now. By no means am I suggesting that your brand should take advantage of this situation, but rather use this opportunity to effectively engage with consumers and create real and authentic relationships. Continue reading below for some of my insights into what the “new-norm” for social media marketing is, and how your brand can best adapt to effectively engage with your consumers in 2020.

Usage

When everything started to slow down in the middle of March, social media began to ramp up. It does not take a social scientist to predict that staying home, cancelling events, and implementing physical distancing regulations would lead to a huge increase in people’s screen time. Approximately half of social media users reported using social media more since the coronavirus outbreak, and we have seen this directly correlate to an increase in our organic engagement and reach. 

As things have begun reopening and we have started to get back to our “regular” routines, we have seen a slight decrease in these numbers. This decrease was anticipated, yet engagement and impressions still remain high. I predict that users will continue to have higher screen times as long as social distancing regulations continue. 

Paid Ads

As for paid social ads, many companies have scaled back on their media spends. Facebook has reported that 89% of advertisers say they have adapted their budgets in response to COVID-19, and 45% have shifted budget among media types. This decrease in media spend means a decrease in competition in ad auctions. At Flipp, our clients have experienced a significant decrease in their cost-per-click rates and cost per 1000 impression rates on Facebook, which is in line with the industry trends. According to Gupta Media, Facebook CPM rates are at an all-time low, dropping for the first time below $2.00 USD. With this in mind, now more so than ever, it is important for brands to be utilizing social ads if you don’t already do so. 

Platforms & Placements 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the rise of mobile taking over desktop usage. As users are spending more time at home, and less time commuting – we are seeing this change. According to the New York Times: Facebook, Netflix and YouTube have all seen user numbers on their phone apps stagnate or fall off as their websites have grown. This is important to consider when optimizing content for certain placements. 

Video has been the reigning champion of content for quite some time now, and COVID-19 has only amplified this. Video engagement has increased across all outlets and I expect this to continue for the foreseeable future. With over 800 million daily users on Tik Tok and Instagram releasing “Instagram Reels” – as much as we want to fight it, the future is 15-second videos.

Another thing to keep in mind is optimal posting times. As our work/life schedules have changed, the times that users are engaging on social have changed. Sprout Social has analyzed these new trends and put together a useful new guide for optimal posting here

Content

Social Media has been a very powerful tool and has played a vital role in keeping us connected, informed and engaged during the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Movement. During this time we have seen many users look to social media for information and to use their own platforms to spread awareness. 

Customers have been very vocal on social; calling out brands, influencers and celebrities, to be held accountable and to be better. What is vital right now is for brands to stop, reflect, and reevaluate. Ask yourself, “is what I am sharing tone-deaf to what is currently happening in the world?”. Something that might have been created with no harm intended, might now come off as offensive. With people more engaged on social media than ever before, now is especially not the time you want to accidentally offend someone online. 

Consumers are looking for empathy, kindness, and to make real connections with brands. They want to feel a part of a community and to align themselves with a brand. According to Sprout Social’s #BrandsGetReal findings, nearly “91% of people believe in social’s power to connect people. More specifically, 78% of consumers want brands to use social to help people connect with each other”. Connection is the new currency and people who feel connected to a brand are more loyal and more likely to increase their spending. 

How do you make your audience feel connected? Users want to see the real people who make up your brand, they want your brand to be authentic and genuine, and they want you to show who you truly are. Consumers have very high expectations and want to gain something from following you. Whether that be sharing information, taking a political or social stance, sharing aesthetically pleasing photography or entertaining content; you have to provide some sort of value to your audience. Staying silent in this day and age will only cause you to lose following. Trying to please everyone will only alienate you from who your target audience is. 

In conclusion, 2020 has been a wild ride and who knows what the future has in store for us. Social media is changing every day and it can be overwhelming to know your brand’s place. At the end of the day, what matters most is that your brand remains true to itself and the people who make it up. You must determine what your target audience wants and how you can be relatable to them. We’ve seen some really cool stuff happen on social media and I am looking forward to seeing what else this unpredictable year brings us on social. Who knows, maybe the President of the United States will trade in his Twitter for a Tik Tok account?! Share with us your thoughts or comments on our social or feel free to contact us. Thanks for reading!

About Flipp

We are a full-service advertising, branding and digital design agency that creates identities, products and online experiences that mean something. Get in touch with us! We'd love to help you reach new customers, strengthen the messaging behind your brand and tell your story across multiple channels in an engaging way.

Let's build something