REFLECTING ON 2020
At the beginning of 2020, I had many expectations.
I expected to move to a new country. I anticipated the exchanging of culture, ideas, and languages with new friends. I dreamt of the places I would travel to. I imagined the Instagram pictures I could take.
Then, 2020 happened.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I expected normalcy to return within a month or two. Even so, I stewed in anxiety day in and day out, wondering how we’d manage through this time of difficulty. Not to mention, what would the future look like?
I believe these fears plagued the rest of us Social Media Marketing Agency employees, too. How can we build a brand, sit in the uncertainty of its future, yet envision a meaningful relationship with our audience?
As 2020 has taught us, the art of the pivot yields a steep learning curve. When a curveball is thrown, we must dodge to the right, stumble a bit, until we walk gracefully in a new direction. The same goes for social media strategy. As we start from Square One, we employ a new strategy, tweak it, then yearn for excellence.
Truth is, we cannot know what the future holds for us: we can only prepare. As hard as this year has been, we have learned a lot about social media. Its influence is twofold: social media has the power to connect us, and it has the power to spread useful information all around the world. With this in mind, we consider the following crucial questions: What worked in 2020? What completely fell flat in 2020? Where do we go in 2021?
WINNING STRATEGIES FOR 2021
In my personal life, social media has acted as a lifeline. In the most dismal of days and in the most mundane of days, I turned to my platforms to connect and engage with family and friends. This brings us to our first winning social media strategy for 2021: Engage, Engage, Engage!
No matter the circumstance, we all want to feel heard. We want to feel understood, to feel noticed. Have you ever commented on a public figure’s Instagram picture, and received a comment in return? How did it make you feel? If I can take a guess, I’d say it made you feel connected. The individual’s social media people did not engage with you randomly. They engaged with you to draw you further into their brand; to let you know that your voice matters.
The point is, the more you engage with your audience, the more connections you make. The more connections you make, the more successful your brand becomes. Even as the future feels uncertain, you can be certain that communicating with your audience will make an impact!
- Create Story Content
Like all of us, I’ve had many stories to tell during 2020. Some were sad, and some were happy. Some were downright ridiculous! I often turned to Instagram and Facebook stories to let my friends know what I was up to, and what shenanigans I had gotten myself into. If you work in a Facebook Marketing Agency or Instagram Marketing Agency, ask: what stories does your brand want to tell? Make them known by creating story content!
After all, how many times have you spoken with a friend and they began a sentence with “I saw on your Instagram story that…”? This is a perfect example of social media being used to connect and relay information. Don’t be afraid to tell stories to your heart’s content: the more stories you post, the more connected your audience becomes with your brand.
- Keep Your Messaging Consistent
Social media was abuzz most of this year with messages regarding COVID-19. Throughout the year, our understanding of the deadly virus changed rapidly, therefore we were inundated by the erasing of old guidelines and quick scribbles of new ones. I found myself irritated by the constant change in messaging. Now, I understand when dealing with a new virus, we don’t have the luxury of consistent messaging. But when it comes to building a brand, we can and should keep the messaging consistent.
As we venture into 2021, consider: what does your brand represent? What do you want your audience to take away? We know that social media is the first impression of a brand, so make it count! An internal meeting with your business will ensure everyone is on the same page on messaging. From here, engage with your audience on social media so your followers never second-guess where your brand stands!
- Dabble in Video Content
As I reflect on this year, I think about the sheer amount of words I read in articles and social media posts about the pandemic. It wasn’t long before the words would blur, and my attention would divert to something more interesting. Words are pivotal in social media. But when you focus on just words, you ignore other types of content- like videos! This year, how can you create video content to get your audience engaged with your brand?
When I think about promotions that I’ve seen, the ones that stand out the most are succinct, impactful videos: the ones that offer a clear message, drama, and a desire to learn more. Yes, writing can be the glue that holds our social media together, but consider how videos act as a sequence in a story. In 2021, make it a goal to give your audience full access to the story of your brand.
- Check Analytics
Many of my mornings in 2020 began with a leisurely perusing of COVID-19 graphs. Did these graphs stress me out? Yes. Did they inform me? Yes. Did they let me know how I need to move forward? Definitely.
I know- just the word “analytics” may make some of us yawn. But when it comes to social media, checking analytics is imperative to understanding where you are in building your brand. It helps you determine what is working, what’s not working, and how you can move forward when strategizing content.
LOOKING TO 2021
As 2020 comes to a close, I recall the expectations I had for this year. While some goals went unrealized, I look to 2021 to realize and exceed the goals I make.
Managing expectations while stepping through a global pandemic is stressful, especially when you’re communicating a brand through social media. Just when you thought you had your plan down to a science, a curveball was thrown. You had to pivot your focus, switch up content, do a lot of guessing, and hope your brand landed in a good place.
At the end of the day, we’re all on a wave of change, including social media. But when you prioritize audience engagement, consistent messaging, diversity of content, and reading analytics, you can expect 2021 to be a winning year for your brand!