Anticipating Social Media Marketing Post COVID-19
Many Aussie businesses have managed to stay afloat by rapidly adapting to the COVID-19 situation.
Among them, many have used social media marketing to engage their existing customers and communicate how they’re responding to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. Others have used social media to raise brand awareness and launch new products through appropriate and carefully crafted campaigns.
But what does social media marketing look like after COVID-19? As a social media agency in Melbourne, we make a few daring predictions about the future of digital marketing.
The digital evolution since COVID-19
With more people working and studying from home since the outbreak of COVID-19, typically in-person activities have shifted into the digital realm. While this was already happening pre-COVID, the outbreak has seen a more rapid update of digital activities.
During COVID-19, we’ve seen more people:
- using video calls to keep in touch, work or study
- using mobile apps for business or pleasure
- playing online and in-app games
- using contactless and online payments
With this boost in digital activities, it’s no surprise that social media usage has also spiked.
Facebook had an 11% increase in its daily active users in Q1 of 2020. In the same period, Facebook had a 10% increase in its monthly active users. As far as user behaviours go, messaging across all Facebook apps has increased 50%.
But these spikes in digital usage have been survival strategies. To what extent will these trends continue post-COVID? Let’s make some educated guesses…
Will everything be digital after COVID-19?
Some imagine that a post-COVID world will be a “return to normal.” Many long to get back to pre-COVID habits like eating at cafes and restaurants, socialising with family and friends, and attending events and cinemas.
But in some ways, we do know our lifestyles will never be the same.
Businesses have been forced to change business models during COVID-19 to survive and it’s likely that many businesses may never go back to pre-lockdown business models. We expect increased demand in flexibility for working arrangements which will undoubtedly impact the way we consume and communicate on a wider scale.
A study by McKinsey showed that the speed of recent digital adoption has vaulted us 5 years into the future. Businesses as diverse as grocery stores, banks, schools and doctors have started delivering successful online services when there was no special demand before.
But even if businesses resume in-person services, their new digital capabilities will remain and, likely, the demand.
Thomas Frey, a Senior Futurist at the DaVinci Center in Colorado, looks at current technology and trends to help companies predict what’s coming.
“This is pushing us to do more things virtually,” Frey said of the COVID-19 outbreak.
For example, whilst schools have returned to in-person learning, they would have the capacity to go virtual during extreme weather or other similar events.
Similarly, workers who return to offices may be better equipped to argue for more days working from home, instead of having to take holiday leave, rostered time off, or even half-days. This might mean that instead of heading into the city or other more central business districts, workers can stay within their own locality and support local businesses there. An increased demand for local businesses could mean more small businesses entering the social media marketing space with a special focus on real-time targeting.
When it comes to retail, Frey predicts that consumers will prefer to order online so businesses will have to use experience innovation like live entertainment or specific offers to increase foot traffic at physical stores.
He also predicts that the legacy of COVID-19 will see more goods traveling directly to the consumer, rather than the other way around.
“Think of the meat counter at the grocery store coming to your driveway so you can pick out what you want,” Frey said.
While people like Frey may expect COVID to leave us with more online businesses and services, there are some signs that we may be getting ahead of ourselves.
According to one Forbes author, the internet may not be ready for us. Even if we wanted all our services to have increased digital capacity, the infrastructure may need longer to catch up.
Forcing businesses to go online quickly has resulted in disruptions to internet services, crashing websites and difficulties with online payments and refunds.
Prediction about social media marketing after COVID-19
While the future is uncertain, one thing’s for sure—digital will be a bigger part of our lives. People and businesses will have more capacity to use technology than in the pre-COVID era. This can only mean ongoing opportunities for digital marketing, with its ability to communicate, market and sell to customers.
Just as COVID-19 has inspired innovation in business, so too has it triggered more creative campaigning on social media. Brands have successfully used social media to engage existing audiences on a deeper level, raise brand awareness and even sell new products.
This has expanded our awareness of what is possible in digital marketing, even during a crisis.
More responsibility and trust
Brands have also had to be sensitive and tactful in their online communications. They’ve had to craft messaging with attention to government orders and health advice. They’ve had to be supportive of people’s hardships, while also giving customers uplifting content to cheer them up.
We predict that in a post-COVID world, people will continue to hold brands accountable for the tone, accuracy and ethics of their content. As a social media agency in Melbourne, we’ll rise to the challenge.
Conclusion: Anticipating the future
Since social distancing kicked in, our lifestyles have evolved on a daily basis and will continue to do so rapidly in the aftermath. It’s crucial for marketers to keep on top of these changes.
As a social media agency in Melbourne or around the world, you’ll need to utilise data and trends to understand consumer habits. If we continue keeping our ear close to the ground, we can apply these insights to make stronger impacts on both digital and physical worlds.