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10 Ways Your Social Strategy Should Change in a Post-COVID World

Twice a year since 2008, The CMO Survey has asked CMOs across the country about their marketing strategies and what trends they’re noticing. In June 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a special edition of the survey was sent out, focusing on the impact of the pandemic on marketing spending, performance, jobs, and expectations for the upcoming year.

In some respects, the past year has been a boon for marketers. Social media spending went up 74 percent between February and June of 2020, driven in part by savings on traditional channels like OOH and radio.

The survey also found that ROI on social media marketing was at a historic high. Though the impact of social media on overall company performance had remained relatively flat since 2016, the first half of 2020 saw a dramatic increase of 24 percent.

Looking forward to 2021, how should you continue to ride the sudden uptick in the effectiveness of social media and leverage the new optimism of a post-COVID world? Harvard Business Review has some suggestions.

1. Run Experiments

The CMO Survey found that improvisation was high during the pandemic, but it was accompanied by a decrease in formal experimentation. Marketers are trying new strategies to follow trends, but they’re not conducting the experiments in a structured way or collecting enough data to draw useful conclusions. Social media platforms offer incredibly detailed data and analytics capabilities — use those tools to improve your strategy.

Social media platforms offer incredibly detailed data and analytics capabilities — use those tools to improve your strategy.

2. Play With New Channels

Social channels are constantly evolving and adding new features, some of which might be incredibly useful to your marketing plan. Instagram Reels joins Snapchat’s approach of low-production-value, fleeting video content. Facebook now offers gift cards. TikTok introduced business accounts. CMOs need to keep pace with the newest channels and how they might fit into their channel plans.

3. Integrate Social Media

We’ve talked before about the importance of an integrated marketing plan. Consistency in your messaging and branding will help your brand stand above the crowd — and net you some significant cost savings, too. According to the survey, however, CMOs rate their social media integration a 4.2 out of 7. If social media continues to become a larger factor in the marketing world, integration will be crucial.

4. Invest in Top Talent

Many companies delegate their social media content to someone who’s already playing another role, but that kind of multitasking is on the way out. As the value of social media increases, so does the value of the person planning and executing it.

5. Stay Flexible

The social media world changes quickly. In response, CMOs rated “ability to pivot as new priorities emerge” as their most valued skill when evaluating marketing talent. From the talent you hire to the tools you use and the strategies you employ, you’ll need to stay on your toes when planning your social media campaigns. Companies that make a habit of planning their posts months in advance were caught out by the COVID-19 pandemic — don’t let the same thing happen to you.

6. Work with Influencers

Influencers can offer a significant boost to your social media marketing efforts, adding authenticity and reach to your brand image. As online traffic and social media influence increase, brands will need to focus more energy on finding the right influencers to connect with their audiences.

7. Choose the Right Platforms

Unless you have an enormous marketing budget, there are simply too many social media platforms to maintain a productive presence on all of them. This year, take the time to look closely at engagement and conversion on all of your platforms. Don’t be afraid to cut the ones that aren’t helping you reach your audience.

8. Reduce Friction Between Social and Conversions

When someone clicks on one of your social posts, where does the link take them? The difference between a smooth transition to the next stage of the purchase funnel and a rough one can be the difference between gaining and losing a customer. Make sure every department in your company — marketing, sales, social, web dev, etc. — is on the same page to create a frictionless purchase process.

9. Adapt Your Content to the Times

In 2020, we saw a mad scramble by brands attempting to avoid the appearance of insensitivity to the COVID pandemic. Commercials featuring large indoor parties were re-shot or scrapped altogether, while stock photos of masked office workers sprang up overnight. While you don’t want to seem out of touch by ignoring the pandemic, your customers are also tired of hearing about it.

Instead of focusing on the virus, play off of the newfound optimism that has accompanied widespread vaccine rollouts. People know that a return to normalcy is getting closer, and they’re looking forward to all the things they’ve been missing.

10. Find the Right Agency Partner

There was a time when you could delegate your social media activity to one or two team members in your office, but that time is long passed. The social media landscape is complex, nuanced, and rapidly changing, and unless you have the resources of Nike or Apple, an in-house social media department isn’t likely to be the most cost-effective option.

If you’re in need of guidance on how to improve your social strategy, speak with us at Madison Taylor Marketing. We have the experience and focus to follow trends in your industry and in the social media landscape, crafting strategies and content optimized for maximum engagement with your customers.

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