Practice social distancing, not customer distancing! Businesses across the world are following it up rigorously across all possible channels, to stay relevant during the corona inflicted lockdown. With major economies across the world forecast to go into a tailspin amidst a prolonged global slump, it’s a fight for survival among major brands across all industry domains. In the current crisis scenario, only the fittest will survive.
Does it make sense for brands to continue with traditional advertising, being fully aware that the buyer’s psyche has been severely dented by the global crisis? No, it doesn’t and more and more brands are prioritizing social listening to build a stronger emotional connection with their users during these times of crisis. Social distancing has pushed back individuals to their own secluded virtual worlds with increased screen time and social media usage. Brands are pitching in to be in sync with the changing scenario and be a part of social discussions rather than being completely left out. What can be more significant than a major cab-hailing app thanking people for not booking and riding in cabs and encouraging people to stay indoors? Any brand which has invested in social listening understands the importance of #stayathome and has evolved accordingly.
Any business which is not practicing social listening is virtually running down a blind alley. In today’s social media-dominated world, carefully understanding a target audience is more important than identifying it. The pandemic induced social distancing has given an opportunity for businesses to open up to their clients across various social media channels and engage with them through feedback, discussions and monitoring direct mentions involving specific topics and keywords. Social listening is the art of having an ear for conversations on social media about brand, trends, industry, and competitors. An exhaustive analysis of this valuable insight will go a long way in formulating a future marketing strategy. Consumers, in the long run, always prefer a brand that listens to them and has a more humane approach towards marketing.
In the middle of a prevailing health and economic crisis, business is more about retaining users and keeping them engaged and entertained. Engagement on social media through well crafted content which easily communicates with clients is the need of the hour. Brands need to be both sensitive and responsive, as every small move and message gets significantly amplified through incessant sharing and re-tweeting. Brands which appear to be genuine, authentic and concerned about consumers find it easier to expand their loyal base through messages about social distancing and staying at home. Engagement with an audience on social media is a process in continuity and creates a win-win situation for both a business and the consumers.
As per latest figures available from Hammerkopf Consumer Survey, in the last week of March 2020, social media usage clocked an 87% jump in the first week of lockdown with users preferring communication over Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter as a viable alternative to social communication. Popular messaging app Hike, witnessed a 33% increase in traffic in the first two weeks post Lockdown. While the increase in screen time on Instagram has gone up by 25%, Tik Tok has witnessed a staggering increase of 72% in ad content by influencers. With this unprecedented user density across all channels, social listening has assumed prime importance in brand buildup and marketing.
In these times of crisis, it is however imperative for companies to play their part in social healing and not to use their weight and presence on social media for aggressive marketing. With a major clientele at home in their pyjamas, brands have to be more realistic than ever and shed their pricey million dollar approach. Various businesses across the world are encouraging their employees and clients to share their lockdown stories and unique experiences unheard to the world before. Restaurant chains are whipping up hashtag discussions on trending lip smacking delicacies, retail outlets are reaching out to clients with essentials delivered at home. Online education portals have ramped up their social presence across all forums in a bid to connect with locked out students who can login to a world of exciting courses through interactive content streamed live. For airlines, travel and tourism industries however, social interaction amounts to dealing with frayed tempers and harried customers clamoring for refunds and rescheduling.
Amid social distancing in the face of a pandemic, users across the world, isolated in their homes are craving for connectivity. The effectiveness of brand communication is dependent on the strength of its consumer feedback loop. It is important for brands to figure out where its audience is spending time and interact with them through Tik Tok brand challenges or live games built around brand campaigns on Instagram and Youtube. To the masses stressed out with the prolonged impacts of loss in regular income and livelihood, brands need to reach out with the basic message – We Care. It’s of paramount importance to reach out with the right message, across the right channels, at the right time.
Everyone loves to be in a huddle, especially at the times of crisis. With their huge social media presence, brands and businesses should make every effort to reach out to isolated consumers with warmth and comfort. In times of Social Distancing, Social Listening has the power of showing the way forward!