3 Key Takeaways from Social Media in 2020
From layoffs and lockdowns to uncertainty and unrest, we’re probably all ready to close the book on 2020 and never talk about it again. But as much as we’d like to pretend that last year’s surreal whirlwind of events never happened, we’d be remiss if we didn’t admit just how much 2020 taught us. And for those of us in the world of social media marketing, it taught us a heck of a lot.
We wrote social content from our kitchen counters, figured out how to stay connected while staying apart, and learned to shift our strategies at the drop of a hat. And despite all the obstacles, brands that rose to the occasion on social media became all the more successful.
So, although we’re gladly leaving plenty of things behind in the year-that-shall-not-be-named (I, for one, may never wear jeans again), there are three key takeaways we’re definitely incorporating into our social media strategy this year.
Social Media Lessons We Learned from 2020
Be prepared to pivot.
“Reading the room” has never been as critical as it was last year. A time of global pandemics, social justice movements and political turmoil, 2020 taught us the importance of shifting your strategy to meet the moment. Whether that meant pausing campaigns to make space for larger conversations, changing the tone of your posts or sharing different types of content entirely, pivoting was essential to success on social media.
In the weeks following the COVID-19 outbreak, Wendy’s (famously known for being snarky on Twitter) decided to play nice and skip the jokes, focusing instead on providing its audience with special offers to sweeten their mood. Alfred, a West-coast coffee brand that had to temporarily close its brick-and-mortar locations, shifted its content strategy to share tutorials like “how to make matcha at home” to bring the coffee shop experience to its customers.
Focus on community.
In 2020, nothing was more important than proving you were there for your audience. Because of the pandemic, many people experienced layoffs and furloughs, were stuck at home for extended periods of time, and had increased feelings of stress, boredom and loneliness, among other challenges. But brands like Anheuser-Busch’s Busch Beer, which launched a weekly gameshow on Facebook Live to raise money for bartenders who were struggling financially, showed their audience that “community” was more than just a buzzword. And to cheer on local heroes, Orlando Health celebrated National First Responders Day with a post thanking them for their service amidst the pandemic.
With the way social media algorithms are changing, more posts don’t always equal more engagement. Taking a listening approach will help identify what your audience is saying and what they care about, allowing you to create content that will really matter to them.
Don’t be afraid to take a stand.
Last year, brands played a major role in supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement after the death of George Floyd sparked nationwide outrage. Central Florida based architecture firm Dix.Hite took to Instagram to voice support for social justice and went further by promising to continue learning and broadening their perspectives. Ben & Jerry’s, a well-known advocate for causes like marriage equality and climate change, posted a bold corporate statement on Instagram that called for the dismantling of white supremacy. LEGO also took to social media to support the cause and shared a tweet in which the company pledged $4 million “to supporting Black children and educating all children about racial equality.” Both brands went viral for taking strong public stances and received widespread praise from their audiences. The lesson? Consumers want to support companies that share their values and will reward those that speak up for what they believe in. In fact, 70% of consumers say it’s important for brands to take a stand on social and political issues. The key is remaining transparent and authentic (read: not participating in performative activism).
It’s safe to say 2020 threw us all for a loop, but we’re entering this new year with more resilience, adaptability and a newfound perspective––especially when it comes to social media. So, bring it on, 2021 (but maybe give us a little break first, okay?).