How Social Media Marketing will Emerge Post-Covid-19

How Social Media Marketing Will Emerge Post-COVID-19

For additional information on the current state of social media marketing during COVID-19, please reference the previous posts:

As politicians, health experts and business leaders begin to debate how and when to loosen social distancing restrictions, our social media agency has begun to discuss how social media usage and, therefore, social media marketing is likely to look post-COVID-19 when our collective national lockdowns lift.

If we’ve learned anything in the last 60 days, it’s just how unpredictable the world can be, so we recognize that this is a somewhat speculative effort. But let’s start with some excellent research from our friends at GlobalWebIndex which shows how people have already adapted their shopping habits by moving offline to online:

GlobalWebIndex Chart: Online Shopping Increases

What We Expect to See Post-COVID-19

Shopping Behaviors

A lot of this online shopping will stay online. After all, Walmart’s mobile app shot to #1 in the app store, meaning that a lot of people discovered the convenience of BOPIS (buy online purchase in-store) and curbside pickup. That’s a behavior that will likely continue, at least for a reasonable percentage of shopping trips.

If so, this will fundamentally alter shopper marketing. With less in-store foot traffic, the value of end caps and shelf talkers may decrease and the importance of brand/product identification will increase. Getting someone to select your product in an app is very different than getting them to pick it off the shelf.

The devastating impact of Stay at Home orders on small businesses and, sadly, the likely empty storefronts we’ll all see, may make it clearer to people the importance of supporting small, local businesses. This could somewhat shift the dollars going to large brand retailers over to smaller retailers.

Increased Ad Spending

There’s significant debate about whether the economy will recover in a V shape or a U shape but a big influx of ad dollars, particularly on social (where brands can move more quickly) will likely push up CPMs and CPCs and lower return on ad spend versus what we see today.

If this spending continues into the fall when campaign spending will peak, then late Q3 to early Q4 may be a very expensive time to run ads.

We’ll also likely see an acceleration of dollars move away from traditional television ad spending. A recent Media Post article showed that brands were less enamored with television advertising even before the pandemic.

Media Post Chart: How advertiser sentiment of TV ad value has changed

This echoes what I heard in a podcast earlier this week where Sir Martin Sorrell predicted that dollars would shift to digital even faster than they had been prior.

Personal Communication

We’ve already documented the dramatic spike in usage of video communication platforms such as Zoom, Teams and Hangouts. This week Houseparty, another video chat app, reported a 70x increase in downloads leading to 50 million new users during the pandemic.

While we don’t expect current levels of video calls and messaging apps to continue once stay at home orders are lifted, we do expect them to remain above pre-pandemic levels. The experience of talking to your loved ones and friends “face-to-face” in this way is very positive.

One challenge for social media marketers is that these direct communication apps offer brands fewer opportunities for marketing than traditional social channels. Alternatively, this could open the door for more advertising opportunities if the apps change their structure.

Work Environments

Many businesses, including ours, are learning to function 100% remotely out of necessity. While I personally believe the energy of face-to-face brainstorming is still hard to replicate, the rest of the experience has been positive.

In addition to rethinking office space leases as they come up for renewal, brands are likely to continue to invest in Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and their competitors, and be more comfortable with full or partial work from home scenarios.

Personally, I welcome the energy I get from being in the office with other people, but this has taught me I can be productive at home as well.

What Do People Expect to Keep Doing Post-COVID-19

If that GWI research we mentioned earlier is accurate, fitness brands may come out of this pandemic stronger than ever. 85% of global survey respondents indicate they are exercising during the COVID-19 crisis and 40% plan to continue doing more after we return to normal.

GlobalWebIndex Chart: Permanent behavior changes expected post-covid-19

While only 15% of people surveyed plan to continue spending more time on social media, that’s an impressive figure considering just how high social media use during COVID-19 really is.

Making predictions here in mid-April for how we’re all going to behave in May, June and beyond is difficult, but these trends above seem to make sense.

Brands Should Be Planning Now

Assuming your team is still in place, brands should be developing their post-COVID-19 plans now. From communicating reopenings and safety procedures to relaunching paid and organic social media, brands need these plans ready to go when the time is right. While you’ll need to adjust to the situation as it evolves, having thought through scenarios now will give you the best chance of getting it right when the time comes.

If you’re looking for a social media agency partner to help you adjust your strategy or start ramping up execution when the time is right, we’d love to help. Contact us using the form below to schedule a consultation with our team today.

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