Comfort in change is dynamite #coronavirusSA
by Vikash Gajjar (@VikashGajjar) With digital and social media evolving every day, we need to become comfortable with change and the rate thereof. Covid-19 proved that much, but it’s easier said than done.
A lifetime ago
1 January 2020 seems like a lifetime ago. Remember those “The year of 2020 vision. Happy New Year!” posts that dominated our timelines a mere six months back? Yeah, 2020 has shaped up differently than we imagined and, just like it’s taken a whole pandemic for businesses to finally adopt a WFH way of working and to finally measure success based on output rather than bums-in-seats, it’s forced advertisers and marketers alike to adopt a more agile way of working.
The speed of change in digital and social media is something that we’ve always needed to become comfortable with. Every month there’s something new to learn, something old to unlearn. Every day, news feeds become increasingly cluttered. Competition for attention is greater, resulting in the ability to stand out becoming even more challenging.
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As brands’ consideration sets have increased due to the coronavirus, those that focus not only on the public but the private as well and are willing to adopt an agile way of working, have a greater chance at winning. Like everything in life, quality will always trump quantity. The onslaught of the covid-19 pandemic also resulted in an infodemic — too much information and too much branded content, the majority of which was subpar in quality.
We need to focus on doing a little less but doing it so brilliantly well, instead of doing so much that could result in mediocre wallpaper that no one really cares about.
Engagement is both public & private
In 2019, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the future would be private. It’s a statement that goes against the grain of what traditional advertisers would have us believe: advertising should be seen by as many people as possible. While that may be true, it doesn’t mean that the same piece of advertising needs to be seen by everyone.
According to a report by HootSuite and We Are Social, only 52% of brand discovery online happens in public news feeds. That means that a whopping 48% happens off-feed, in private threads or messaging apps. Consumers want more-intimate, -personalised experiences. For marketers, what this means is taking brand engagement off-feed and into private one-on-one conversations with the consumer. Tailored offers or personalised responses to queries will go a long way in converting potential leads, allowing for a clearer, more-defined, -seamless customer journey to take place on social.
Strategies should be agile
The rapid pace of change in digital requires advertisers and marketers to be agile, to be willing to change at the right time, not at a set time every 12 or 24 months. This is often the case with brand or digital or content strategies. At the beginning of each year, we define our digital and social goals, and then develop strategies that will help us achieve them. Then we stick to these like a fly to sugar.
While brand and comms strategies often take time to be implemented, digital and content strategies should be able to change if and when the digital landscape changes. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to always be right all the time, but the beauty of digital is that it allows us to make mistakes — to change as we learn — at a relatively low cost. As the world changes, consumer behaviour on digital and social changes, so we should be able to tweak and amend our digital and content strategies to ensure that we’re always intercepting our consumers on their journeys, which are incredibly fluid.
The death of the always-on monthly content plan
I’ve had a gripe with content plans for a while now. When I first started working as a social media copywriter, always-on content plans were great. And they worked! But, now, they become wallpaper at best. Social media advertising operates at its optimum when it mimics the behaviour of its audience. Think about Twitter: relevance wins. Tapping into newsworthy and trending topics of conversation wins. A whole entire month or two in advance, when we’re pouring over clever copy and beautifully designed images and videos and Twitter, how can we tell what will dominate the news cycle in come live date in 30 or 60 days? How can we guarantee that we will, in fact, be relevant? That we will be heard, that we will be seen?
We need to move away from crafting always-on content plans, where a brand must post at least twice a week in order to ‘have a presence’ because, in reality, no one cares. One perfectly timed and culturally relevant organic post has the potential to do more than eight beautifully crafted posts that are scheduled a month in advance. Quality over quantity, always.
Digital and social media give us the opportunity to do so much that it’s often difficult to not want to do it all at once. The key to doing it right is to know when, why and for whom.
That’s how we win.
- #CoronavirusSA: Customisation & agility’s forced democratisation — Vikash Gajjar
- #CoronavirusSA – Special Section
- #OpenForBusiness — Radar
- #CoronavirusSA — Radar
Vikash Gajjar (@VikashGajjar) studied a year of accounting before realising he was meant to work in a more-creative field, so he swapped balance sheets for (what was then) 140-character tweets. . An awarded copywriter for almost half a decade, he is now a digital-creative-turned-strategist at M&C Saatchi Abel.
This MarkLives #CoronavirusSA special section contains coverage of how the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and its resultant disease, covid-19, is affecting the advertising, marketing and related industries in South Africa and other parts of Africa, and how we are responding. Updates may be sent to us via our contact form or the email address published on our Contact Us page. Opinion pieces/guest columns must be exclusive.