The Motion Agency

COVID-19 Social Media Best Practices: How To Approach Organic and Paid Social Content Strategy


Brands, marketers and agency partners have all reset expectations on what success looks like during a pandemic. Every week, we chip away at moves to make and highlight resources we trust to help navigate your social reputation. And every day, we work with our clients to dissect the importance of their entire social strategy, not just certain posts, to better quantify what’s working – and helping to rule out what content (or platforms) aren’t.

In past issues of our weekly newsletter, which all focus on how to adapt your social and content strategy in the wake of a global pandemic, we’ve talked at length about what it takes to socially survive during the novel Coronavirus. Specifically, how marketers can properly score and attribute success to social content that’s more than likely sandwiched in-between posts having to do entirely with COVID-19.

To be truly effective in these current times means plotting out and reshaping what successful content means to your brand – and more importantly, your audience. With success coming in every way, shape, and form on social, we as marketers need to rethink not only what success is but how we get there.

Read on for Motion’s proprietary V.A.L.U.E. model to better understand organic social success and your audience. If you’re seeking a better understanding on how to pivot your paid social approach, our thinking extends to agency initiated B.T.C. and B.T.B. models.


VOLUME

What does your weekly cadence look like across your enterprise channels?

Are you compromising quality of messaging to outpace the competition or publishing just for the sake of it? If so, look at the volume of content you’re distributing and try dialing back by 25 to 50%.

While everything you’re deploying should be audience-first—providing value to your audience or allowing them to mentally break free from their monotony—any and all posts you’re deeming essential should only be hitting your channels at critical engagement times.

Each platform has a key time to post. Learn it. Take advantage of it. Monitor your content. Adapt if needed. Odds are your publishing tool is curating reach, impression and engagement metrics on past published content to help you uncover your own best time to post on social.


ACTIONABLE

You’ve published content that checks all the right boxes. Kudos to you! So, now what?

Well if that content truly checked the boxes, you’ve given your target audience something to do after or while they’re consuming your content. Posts, videos and images published to brand channels during the pandemic need to be actionable.

Think of actionable in marketing terms: Where are your posts directing your users? What’s the desired action you want User A to take? Is it the same as User B? What about User C?

Now more than ever, your content should be inspiring your audience to do something, not just consume the content and move on. You’re fighting for brand visibility in a cluttered newsfeed, so make sure you’re delivering more than just snackable content.


LINKABLE

Does your post link to a cause, message, person or subject audiences are familiar with and can relate to?

Linking content makes it timely, topical and more likely to garner intended engagements. Keeping that in mind, linking content to what your audience wants to see, not what you’re used to showing them, can help your brand stand out and be seen.


USER-GENERATED

The world (and your followers) understand the new norm has caused a slightly less polished experience on social, and really in all production value —and that’s OK.

Right now, it’s about sincere, authentic messaging over big budgets and high-production pieces. Capitalize on the shift: Ditch the propped studio shots, CAD drawings and Photoshopped stock imagery.

Instead, source creative from the front lines: Ask followers for selfies, videos, and other content straight from their iPhone library. If you haven’t already, tap into influencers for a subtler approach to branded content. This raw, genuine content will resonate with your audience and feed their need for real, human connection.


EMOTIONALLY CHARGED

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again.

If your content is truly rooted in broadcasting an audience-first message, odds are you can tailor that content to be a heart-felt experience. During these times, audiences across platforms want to feel something from social, not just use it as an escape.

Social media usage rates are skyrocketing for a simple reason: Content is resonating on much deeper levels than ever before. Take advantage of this by elevating your usual posting mix and placing bigger bets on fewer pieces of content.

Check this box by using music, copy treatments and strong imagery and video to capture what’s critical: emotion.


BALANCED

Being balanced in your paid approach means taking a look at your organic footprint, too.

If your channels are pumping out audience-first messaging, but your ads are conversions- or web traffic-based with branded, product or service messaging, that shows a hole in your messaging arch.

Paid ads should be synonymous with the organic “look and feel” on your channels to create a balance within your target audiences’ newsfeeds, whether your content is promoted or not. You can find balance by refocusing your paid social objectives to capturing engagements and video views and reaching wider audiences, instead of seeking to drill into lower-funnel conversions

Keep the CTA in place so your content is actionable for audiences but think hard about where you’re driving traffic. If it’s a user experience that you haven’t pushed audiences toward organically, it may look disconnected from your broader messaging approach.


TARGETED

Your targeting is crucial, not only for how your intended message and action will resonate now, but how your content is consumed post-pandemic.

Monitor your engagement, quality and conversion rankings. Test wider layers of lookalike audiences if you can. Appeal to your built-in page audience first, then expand to prospecting new eyeballs.

All of these targeting tactics should be at the forefront of your strategy when putting budgets to work across platforms.

Invest in the right targeting parameters now and dive deep into audience insights to better position your brand for success in the short term and after the pandemic.


CANDID

Keep your content truthful, straightforward and frank.

Appeal to the souls of your intended audience and figure out what will capture their mindshare. If you can, redefine your brand guidelines to personify it, moving away from corporate monotony. Take a leap toward repositioning your social footprint to show your candor and candidness where relevant.

As mentioned above in User-Generated, social audiences are showing more engagements with content that’s real, raw and authentic, not baked in an agency oven.

A genuine approach to ad creative can (and likely will) yield your campaign more success now than it would have three months ago.


BENEFICIAL

Are you providing value to an intended business target? Are you offering a discount? A free trial?

Or a seamless experience to a new platform? Content that’s placed at the right time, in front of the right business audience on the right platform does more than just provide value. It shows your target that you, Brand, understand the world they live in and want to offer a solution that’s beneficial to their day-to-day business roles.

When the pandemic hit, many of us marketers saw an influx of business modules and tools that miraculously were offering discounts via paid ads to leverage their surface. Was that a sales-based power move? Sure.

Was that a smart approach by a tool to capture our mindshare, convert our thinking and engage us personally based on our jobs? Absolutely.


TAILOR MADE

This is where B2B advertisers can really differentiate themselves from B2C brands, which often can appeal to the mass consumer.

For B2B advertisers, tailor your content in every single way to your audience.

That means copy, creative, CTA, off-platform destination, retargeting, etc. should all have a brand-new pandemic-based user journey. Your customers are expecting the same mass funnel flow of advertising. So give them a new journey.

Offer new tailor-made touchpoints to your customers, consumers and professional targets to give them a digital experience built by them, for them.


BONDED

This global pandemic is not only the largest scale case study for brands’ responses to an unprecedented crisis.

It’s laying the groundwork for a second case study: Consumer and customer brand loyalty after the pandemic.

When advertising across social in a B2B environment (arguably a B2C environment, too), make sure to bond with your target, not just use them for a conversion metric.

Consumers and customers alike will be using brands’ responses to the COVID-19 as an RTB for purchases and interactions in the future. Use this time to build brand equity and an army of new brand loyalists.