Using a data-driven insights strategy on social media to communicate effectively in uncertain times

If you are a brand looking to find better ways to connect with your consumers in the face of the pandemic, you may want to take a close look at your data and social strategies. With so much uncertainty in the world, brands need to be transparent and genuine with their content and how they communicate with consumers.

Research showed that people have wanted both information and positive/feel-good content from brands as they navigated through the early months of the pandemic, for example. 

As consumers spend more time at home – either under lockdown rules or as they come of restrictions – they are consuming more content and information than ever before. Some of that will be content to entertain them. Some will be to re-engage consumers in preparation for coming out of lockdown. And some will be to reassure consumers, who want trust and security from brands. The most important thing is to listen, to understand how your consumers are feeling and how are their needs changing as the crisis evolves. That will inform how a brand engages with people to help them feel safe, reassured and in control.

It is an uncertain time for all of us, including brands.  

During lockdown, many of us dealt with a range of feelings, including loneliness and anxiety as we got used to our new lives. We had to manage work and family commitments without our usual support networks and social outlets to release the pressure.

We’re facing a slightly different set of challenges as we emerge from lockdowns and see a changed world. 

One of the most significant challenges is uncertainty. Restrictions vary from region to region. 

In the UK, Leicester is still locked down as cases have been spiking in the area. Several American states are reintroducing restrictions – such as Nevada closing bars – due to surges in infections. And in areas that are lifting restrictions, some businesses are finding it difficult to attract customers back and some people are expressing reservations about shopping and dining out.

Have consumer expectations changed? 

Businesses need to plan for a time when consumer confidence returns. But their worlds could have changed, and with that, what they want from a brand. To understand this, brands are turning to data-driven social strategies to inform their engagement campaigns.

Social listening, surveys, social performance analytics, and a brand’s own data are some of the tools that brands typically use to help them make decisions based on consumer interests. Of course, those decisions rely on asking the right questions. 

What are the right questions to ask?

To fully understand what consumers want from you, these are the questions a brand should consider: 

  • How are consumers feeling today? What are their main concerns, fears and expectations?
  • Is their behavior changing over the course of the pandemic, and if so, how?
  • Has the purchasing behavior of a brand’s consumers changed as a result of the pandemic?
  • What social channels are consumers using the most to communicate with brands?
  • How would consumers prefer the brand to communicate with them, and how can a brand respond to that preference?
  • What can brands expect to happen next? 
  • What can the brand learn from its competitors?
  • How is the brand’s content performing – is it resonating with its audience? Campaigns designed for people sheltering-in-place / in lockdown may need to be reassessed as safeguarding advice changes. 

It is by listening to consumers that brands will really understand what they want. And once they know that, they can engage with them effectively to inspire confidence in the brand.

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