Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the way in which people are consuming media has changed. There’s been a surge in the usage of streaming services, online shopping sites and tuning into live TV since lockdown and social distancing measures were introduced in the UK. According to the Global Web Index, 80% of consumers in the UK say they are consuming more content since the outbreak of coronavirus.
However, audiences are also expecting to see a certain dialogue from brands to reflect the unprecedented situation we are all in.
Along with the general public, businesses have had to adapt to the new norm, from how they operate day-to-day, to their communications strategy. It’s understandable for any organisation to be cautious about the content they put out in the public domain at this time, whether it’s on their website in the form of blogs and articles or on their social media channels. But businesses shouldn’t stop altogether.
Spending more time online
With a huge percentage of the population currently working from home or on furlough leave, people are faced with more free time than they have been used to. This means your audience has more time to scroll through Twitter or actively search for information and advice and, ultimately, engage with your content.
One of the campaigns we have been working on for a consumer client includes a series of video case studies which we film and produce on a monthly basis. Over the last 18 months, these videos have performed very strongly on social media, generating thousands of views across their channels. We filmed and edited the latest video before social distancing measures were introduced but it was released in April, once the lockdown was in place. It has attracted almost double the amount of views compared to the last years’ worth of videos, as well as a huge amount of impressions and engagements and generated an extremely low cost per view. Furthermore, in terms of positive social media comments and likes it was one of the most successful videos to come out of this campaign so far.
Changing expectations of digital content
The type of content audiences expect to see has also changed. For example, we are all getting used to seeing news reports and even documentaries featuring interviewees speaking via Facetime or Zoom.
Although businesses usually prefer to upload slick, professional-looking videos, releasing lower quality content has become normal. Because of social distancing measures, videography teams like ours are unable to pack up their kit and head to a location for a shoot.
Filming videos on your phone or recording a Zoom call is now what audiences expect to see from businesses and many are being praised for doing so. Celebrities that are well known for a TV show or band are reuniting on Zoom and recording it for fans to watch as well as jumping on trends posting on their social feeds. Many of our professional services clients are adopting this approach by posting video updates their team members are recording at home, and we are currently working up a video campaign with another client for social media which will be self-shot by the people it features.
What do consumers want to see from brands?
Twitter recently conducted a survey to find out what users expect to see from brands’ online presence during the coronavirus pandemic.
It found that 64% of respondents said brands should continue advertising as normal (if they are still operating), with 55% agreeing that seeing ads on social media gives them a sense of normality. Although, only 7% said brands should continue to use their normal tone of voice.
While it’s important to try to operate your business as normal as possible, it’s also crucial to adapt your communications strategy to the new social climate. Altering your tone of voice and potentially the nature of your communications will help ensure your brand isn’t being seen as insensitive or ignorant in these unprecedented times.
The survey also found that 70% of respondents said brands should boost positivity and share positive stories, while 89% said brands should provide reliable and accurate information and 80% said brands should show how they are supporting their employees.
Clearly it’s important to audiences to see positivity from businesses during an uncertain and scary time for many, as well as providing accurate information and expert advice in their field. We have assisted many of our business clients in creating and posting a range of content – organic and promoted – with crucial and helpful information in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, which have seen a huge amount of shares and engagements on social media.
Changes to search behaviours
Google has recently published information on how search behaviours have changed during the pandemic. Breaking them down into five categories, Google has seen spikes in searches for:
- Assessing critical information, such as home deliveries and mortgage suspension
- Connections and relationships such as ‘with me’ videos and multiplayer games
- Adjusting to changes in routine, such as DIY and exercise equipment
- Praising everyday heroes
- Taking care of selves and others, such as virtual activities to ease boredom, anxiety and uncertainty.
Businesses can use this information to help create new content that will be relevant and interesting to their at-home audience, not only to help relieve boredom, but to keep them up-to-date and engaged with their brand.
DCA has a team of experienced content creators who can help businesses with content ideas, editorial opportunities and social media strategies as well as crisis comms. Talk to our team on 01752 858901.