It’s 2020 and we are in the middle of a global pandemic, Covid-19. Offices, restaurants and bars, small businesses, anything deemed nonessential, is shut down. Everything in my social feeds, as well as the news broadcasts right now, is related to the virus. States are issuing stay-at-home orders, pushing people ever more toward their devices in a search for information and connection.

I usually don’t write about events in the news, nor do I include dates in my articles, because mainly I want this information to be evergreen rather than tied to a specific event or time.

This is different.

I want to be able to look back a few months, or a few years, from now at this article and marvel at how far we’ve come, or about how little we learned.

For the past two weeks brands have struggled to maintain relevancy in this new world, where most of us aren’t thinking about what to wear, or what car we want, or what new gadget is on the market. Most of us have had to pivot; evaluate content, campaigns, and even strategies we long ago scheduled. In this new world, almost nothing in our scheduled queues is relevant, and worse, if it goes out, makes us to look obtuse. For many, this is a wake-up call to consider even more carefully our audience and what they care about, which we should have been doing all along.

Here’s the tea. If you’re struggling to use social media to maintain a connection with your audience or drive them to a new online version of your business, take a pause, and consider these things.

Pause your Social Media Ads

Unless you are selling a helpful and useful product in this landscape, pause your ads. Keeping them running may waste precious marketing dollars and, worse, make you look uncaring and out of touch. I’m really not interested in those cute boots or that new pencil skirt right now. Are you?

Start Running Social Media Ads

I know what I just said, but if you have a helpful or useful product now this is a great time to run ads. More people than ever are on their devices all day long, so your audience just increased by a huge margin, and you have less competition so your costs may decrease.

Here’s a few things people at home care about and are probably purchasing right now.

  • Educational materials for parents suddenly homeschooling their children Hint: consider Pinterest ads for these!
  • Streaming services
  • Household supplies
  • Alcohol – did I need to say that?
  • Online meeting software
  • Timely information or news

Pivot your Organic Social Media Strategy

Did I mention people don’t care about your product right now? Pause all organic posts that are insensitive to people’s feelings in this environment. Instead, share content that helps them escape, dream of better times to come, or keeps them informed. Cheer on our healthcare workers, our transportation industry, and the people on the front line helping to keep us all safe. Say thank you to your team.

These are emotional times, and people need and crave emotional connection. How can you do that? Why haven’t you always been doing that?

Optimize your Website and Landing Pages for Conversion

If you are selling a helpful and useful product, you might not be used to selling it online. Services, businesses and educational professionals are having to pivot to an online version of what they always did in person. Make sure your online presence is easy to navigate. Take a look at your website and make sure you have clear paths for conversion and clear calls to action. Add lead capture forms, banners for special products and clear, easy to follow steps. If you are in the business of information, give some of it away for free. Built trust and authority now and you’ll see the payoff in the long term.

Check Your Analytic Data

I have always said, the audience will tell you what works. When was the last time you looked at your website analytics or your social media analytics? Too busy? Now is the time. Are people engaging with your content? When and where are you losing them? Do you see more website traffic but no conversions? What channel is providing the most traffic? Is your social media engagement mostly positive, or are you getting negative comments? Listen and learn, and change what isn’t working.

The Future Of Marketing

Who would have thought a few months ago we’d be facing this? The future in uncertain. It always was. I choose to look at this as an opportunity to focus on what matters, and change what isn’t working. A bonus? We’re getting back to how social media was meant to be used in the first place! Brands that can successfully navigate this crisis will be stronger in the long run, and probably improve their relationship with their customers too.