According to a report shared by the market research firm Nielsen, social media activity experienced a whopping 50X surge in India in wake of the global pandemic, COVID-19. Also an important finding was, whenever Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi addressed the nation and made announcements related to curfew or lockdown, the intensity of the social media activity witnessed a huge jump.
In the first week of lockdown, Indians spent more than four hours every day on social media leading to an 87 percent increase in its usage in comparison to a week before lockdown. The positive side of this sudden increase in digital consumption of social media is that a lot of awareness campaigns were triggered on social media which helped people across the country to know about the essentials of the lockdown as well as the precautionary measures to be taken during this time.
In addition to the surge in social media usage, television consumption, rate of internet browsing, and online video streaming, also saw a rise. This shows how people are glued to the technology surrounding them. Additionally, every company has introduced the concept of work from home and is finding new ways to interact with employees and clients to ensure that there are no business losses. Extensive research has been done on project management softwares, client auditing, digital strategies etc.
Given the current situation and the extensive use of digital channels and platforms, it becomes important that we, as brands, utilise this time to keep our presence strong in the digital space. This is the time when you can create long-lasting relations with your target audience, building trust and loyalty.
Let’s look at the guiding principles of social media marketing amidst this pandemic situation:
- Listen & acknowledge: There are enough examples in the market highlighting how a brand can communicate with its customers in such times. It is very important to listen, understand and acknowledge what we are going through. Show your target audience that you stand united during this situation and share quality information with them. Help your audience learn new things and cope with this lockdown in your own little ways on digital.
- Keep posting: Your target audience is now more active on the digital channels given that we have been locked in the four walls of our home for our own safety. For many, digital is one of the major ways of passing time and keeping sane. Post regularly; videos, blogs, memes, stories – keep them coming. Use your channels to update and engage your followers.
- Use content to help serve your consumers: To be very honest, people do browse the internet more than browsing news channels. Here comes the importance of content marketing. It doesn’t matter whether you are a shoe brand or a retail brand. Your aim should be to produce content creatively, talking about the brand while empathising with the current situation. For example, Indigo Airlines changed their advertisement designs in a way which spoke about social distancing. Flipkart has been helping people through its exciting email marketing strategy where it shares one interesting activity you can pursue for each day of the lockdown. Similarly, find something that your brand can resonate with in these times and share them with your audience. This will not only drive engagement for your brand but will also improve your customer’s loyalty.
- Utilise your digital prowess to raise funds: There are a lot of people who are unfortunate and do not possess the money or the means to survive this tough time. Your business can start a fundraising program for such people or provide support to an NGO and invite people to contribute for the same. This way you won’t just be giving back to your community but will also be helping a lot of people during this crisis.
Thus, you see, even when the economy is on the decline and people are firm believers of social distancing, digital and social media is giving us an opportunity to do some good. It helps us to stay connected, provide help and be present for each other, including our target audience.