Economic downturns are hard for everyone, including marketers. Nearly everyone feels more hesitant about spending money, and most have less to spend. In this guide, we will walk through how these challenges affect social media marketers and how they can adapt their strategies to weather the storm and deliver for their business.
What a difficult economy means for social media marketers
When people buy less, businesses shrink their budgets. For a social media marketer, this means less time and money to spend on content creation, paid advertising, engagement, and more. You might find yourself changing your goals or even wearing new hats during economic downturns. Make sure to take care of yourself and support your coworkers during these challenging times. Hard times are temporary, but with the right techniques and strategies, marketers can rise to meet the challenge.
Since money is tight for your audience, competition will be stronger. An economic downturn is not the time for experimentation, but rather a time to refine what you know to be working, to further differentiate your brand from the competition. Rely on data-driven social media insights, not instincts, and if you do not already, make sure you have a strong system in place to measure and report on your work. For more support with this, watch our on-demand webinar, Digital marketing metrics that matter.
Ultimately, your audience is looking for help. It’s important to understand that they are making decisions during a hard financial time based on a hierarchy of problems, not all of which have clear solutions. Your task is to show that your brand can help by positioning its products or services as these solutions.
How every social media marketer should adapt
Across every industry, social media marketers need to focus on the effectiveness of all stages of the funnel and shore up their weak areas. It’s not enough (and not advised) to spend all of your money on paid ads. The same stages of marketing still apply — in fact, they’re more important than ever: raising awareness, cultivating consideration and engagement, and, ultimately, driving conversions. Here are a few insights to help you increase efficiency and effectiveness at every stage of the funnel during difficult times, even when you are short on budget and time:
- Keep your social network profiles complete and up to date. Many consumers may never visit your website, so social is your chance to make a great first impression and communicate important information.
- Determine which of your networks are best for brand awareness, especially for paid efforts, which ones allow you to target best, and which are most cost effective for you.
- Keep all social media interactions with customers and fans consistent with your brand’s voice, and make sure your team follows your guidelines for when and how to respond to comments and direct messages.
Consideration and Engagement
- Use social media management software, like Khoros Marketing, to find brand mentions and brand-related keywords, reply, and join the conversation.
- Encourage two-way conversation by posting open-ended questions on blog articles and social posts, incorporating social polls on your website, and responding politely to social media comments from fans and critics alike.
- Always ask customers for feedback, comments, and especially success stories. Amplify great stories across all relevant channels.
- Include calls to action on all shared content — whether it’s a link to more great content, a request to share the content on social media, or an offer to get in touch.
- Drive your audience to your conversion points in multiple places across your social channels. Always work to capture additional information about people engaging with your brand on social media.
- Retarget people who abandoned their cart either through social advertising, like Facebook Dynamic Product Ads, or through email.
To learn more ways to improve each of these areas, read the Social media trilogy: awareness, engagement, and conversions.
Special considerations for B2C and B2B marketers
The Khoros Strategic Services team works directly with leading brands in every industry to solve their most challenging social media marketing issues. They’ve provided some B2C and B2B-specific tips to adapt in a difficult economy below. For 1:1 support, reach out to the Strategic Services team here.
- Many B2C brands can benefit from increasing their usage of digital marketing, which allows for more targeted outreach. Consider shifting some of your investment from radio and TV to paid advertising on other key platforms where your audience is found.
- Travel and hospitality brands are among the hardest hit during economic downturns, as consumers have less money for nonessential expenses. While promotional discounts can help, also consider the cause of the downturn. If people aren’t able to prioritize travel, you can share aspirational content for when travel resumes, or instead focus on how your company is addressing the situation and supporting relief efforts.
- Consider promoting a cause for social good, such as holding a fundraiser or donating your goods, services, or a portion of profits to those most in need. This will strengthen brand loyalty amongst your customers.
- Social media is one of the first places consumers go to ask questions, so it’s critical that your front line teams are armed with the resources they need — especially in an economic downturn. Be sure to provide them with messaging, content calendars, and points of contacts across departments, in case of escalation.
- Automate process and prioritize when possible. In a downturn, B2C companies typically have to shift priorities on short notice and without ample resources. The more efficiencies you can build beforehand will help you better prioritize when you need to most. Carefully review all resources available and determine which are mission critical in a downturn.
- Continue to build trust in your brand. Brand recognition and trust is critical in being able to weather an economic downturn. While marketing priorities typically shift during difficult times, it’s important not to lose focus on what’s most important to maintain loyalty. If you shift your focus away from key brands or groups, you might have temporary success during the downturn, but your long term growth will change. Be true to who you are as a brand even when times are tough.
- Determine where your best opportunities for growth are and focus on relevant audiences. In a downturn, groups and regions are affected differently. For example, it might be best to focus on regions that are struggling less or those where you already have the most market share or visibility. Segmenting these audiences and catering your marketing is key.
- Listen to the market and adjust accordingly. Economic downturns and crisis situations shift quickly, and your approach might need to do the same. Establish a social listening strategy and use data to adjust your marketing strategy. This is a good practice to have at all times, but it’s especially important in a downturn.
- Consider adopting a stronger, account-based marketing strategy for top accounts who are in a position to buy. Targeting social media ads at a number of contacts from the same account can help your brand to stay top of mind in a crowded and competitive field.
- Measure success. It’s especially important during an economic downturn to show how marketing efforts drive value to the business. Establishing your benchmarks, setting your goals and KPIs, and constantly reviewing your tracking plan are important parts of a holistic strategy.
How Khoros can help
Khoros is a trusted social media marketing partner to the biggest brands, including General Motors, BBC, and National Instruments. Using our social media marketing software, leading brands save money by making social media operations more efficient and earn money by accelerating sales through social marketing. To learn how we can help your brand, request a demo today.