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How to effectively advertise on social channels during turbulent times
There is no denying that we have entered an unprecedented period of uncertainty that affects all industries. However, if history teaches us anything, it’s that when uncertain times end, businesses who then prosper tend to be those who have future-proofed themselves most effectively throughout the turbulence.
We are working hard at Space & Time to ensure that the inevitable impact felt by our clients is mitigated by the effective strategies that we put in place for them. In many cases, existing tactics are no longer sufficient, meaning we have to be swift and agile in our decision making.
Is large investment on lower funnel activity still the most effective use of marketing budget? What does success actually look like in the current climate? Do we need to shift KPIs away from footfall and direct conversions, to awareness, onsite engagement & lead gen?
Long term thinking
Hopefully by now, most people are aware of the 2013 study by Les Binet and Peter Field, entitled The Long and Short of it. They have been instrumental in showing that “brand building is the main driver of long-term growth and involves the creation of memory structures that prime consumers to want to choose the brand.”
Secondly, it’s also now widely agreed that growth comes through penetration and the ability to reach as many of the potential customers in your category as possible (according to Byron Sharp's book, How Brands Grow). Ultimately, we have to broaden our horizons and accept that although we may see lower initial conversion rates with less qualified audiences, the volume of people that we effectively impact will be far greater and ultimately more successful in the long term.
What does that mean for social?
We are already seeing that social media and video consumption is rising while more and more people are at home - which is something brands can use to their advantage. These long-term strategies are nothing new in social – in fact, a 2016 Facebook study showed that a reach-optimised campaign was 1.8x more cost-efficient and drove greater total impact than the action-optimized campaign.
However, it is clear, this methodology will become the new norm for the time being.
Actions we are specifically taking with our clients
As suggested, we are continuing to advertise upper and middle funnel activity. While less people might currently be in-market, having a strong pipeline of leads is imperative to take advantage of the latent demand that will inevitably follow this downturn. In terms of channels within the social space, Facebook is still king, but lesser-used platforms such as Pinterest and Snapchat are seeing a resurgence. Also, we are switching CTAs from more immediate “request appointment” or “shop now” to slightly longer term “register interest” or “learn more” (as examples).
What we suggest you do
You can utilise your social pages as an extra weapon in the customer service armoury and focus on the extra precautionary measures in place that are helping keep business alive. For example, where phone calls and face-to-face meetings might not be viable, messenger services are filling the gap in client relationship nurturing.
Ramping up community management where possible, will help make consumers feel at ease. In the same vein, virtual Q&A sessions can also ensure customers are well informed and engaged.
Facebook Live, IGTV and Stories are all functions that can bring to life virtual products and services for those who are unable to visit or purchase in person.
We’re seeing a reduction in CPM across our client accounts as longer term strategies are implemented, meaning that advertisers are actually reaching more of their target audience for the same spend (according to our client data compiled between 11-19 March 2020).
We can’t say for certain how other marketing mediums might be impacted, but it’s clear that digital and more specifically, social, will continue to be ever present in people’s lives. As such, it is imperative that we also remain at the ready to nurture those potential customers for when these turbulent times end. Here’s to that!
Steve Conway, social team manager at Space & Time.
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