30-second summary:

  • Now is the time to connect your audience to show who your brand is and why you’re valuable to them, through the power of social media content.
  • Gone are the days of posting “just to post”. Have a purpose – be a human.
  • Social media is where your brand can spread its wings as real people and share data-driven advice, what you see in the industry, and how you’re overcoming challenges, and how your audience can too.
  • Make quality imagery a non-negotiable in your social media marketing strategy to catch your audience’s attention and encourage them to share your content.
  • The main point of social media is to connect with other people. Right now, connecting with people virtually has never been more critical.

According to a Statista survey on in-home media consumption as of March 2020, 44% of people worldwide are spending more time on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others). 

This is higher than 36% of people spending more time on computer/video games and also 35% spending more time reading/listening to books and music. 

Why does this matter for your company? 

Well, social media is no longer just a fun way to pass the time or a boring place where you share your latest blog link with no reason why it’s valuable. 

Now is the time to connect with that heightened audience that is filling their days with social media content. Hello, screen time. 

I’ll break down four ways that you can create the most impact for your audience using your social channels, focusing on building your brand in times of unforeseen crisis. 

1. Create images with a purpose

As silly as it is, when we think of the companies that we know and trust, they typically have impeccable branding and design – and usually an Instagram aesthetic to boot. 

Laugh if you want, but when their social media profiles look more professional overall, this can seem more credible. 

For example, Aveeno is one of the most trusted brands of 2019, according to BrandSpark

Social media content example 1

Notice

  1. Their beautiful imagery that is displayed so nicely next to the other images. 
  2. How they use similar colors, so they don’t clash.
  3. They SHOW their followers that their products are natural by bringing fruit, plants, etc. into the photos. 

Why does this matter?

Aveeno’s audience is women who want to feel and natural look their best. It makes sense to have beautiful images with pleasing colors, with a mix of a real photo of a real woman as well. 

This woman also happens to be a healthcare worker, which shows that Aveeno has a supportive voice during the challenging time of COVID-19. 

They also include “natural items” next to their products letting their customers know they can be trusted to only offer the best ingredients for their clients’ skin. 

Additionally, Hubspot is one of the most trusted SaaS brands, according to research conducted on Nextiva Blog

Social media content - Hubspot exampls

Notice

  1. Hubspot’s quality of minimalistic brand design with their images and stories. 
  2. The breathable space around their text so it’s easy to read and the variety of post designs without it being distracting.
  3. Their empathetic copy, which is critical during a time of crisis.   

Why does this matter?

Gone are the days of posting “just to post”. For HubSpot, their audience is businesses looking to grow. Their goal is to provide valuable social media content while showing they are a team of humans as well. 

Notice how they give actionable advice through their copy, while still incorporating branded imagery and design. They also show data-driven infographics that provide their audience insight they can use right away to move forward during these uncertain times. 

They also do a favorable job of being human and using mindful copy. We’re in a global pandemic. People don’t want “just” stats. 

Additionally, add a powerful call-to-action in your caption that works with design to tie it all together. 

2. Tell a story you’d want to read

It’s a repeated phrase you might hear often, “Social media is so over-saturated; my company doesn’t need to be on there.”

However, social media is where your brand can spread its wings as real human employees share data-driven advice, what they see in the industry, how they’re overcoming challenges, and how their audience can too. 

For example, for my company, Directive, a performance marketing agency for software brands, we have been focusing on providing data-backed insight to help software marketers keep pushing forward. You can see an example of a LinkedIn post we shared below:

Copy:

Directive copy example

10-Image Carousel below to tell the story through copy and design. Here are 4/10:  

SEW Image 4

You can check out all 10 slides for the complete story here: 

Why does this matter?

This shows how it’s important to us that SaaS marketers feel encouraged to keep moving forward and find new ways to meet their quarterly growth goals. We want to offer them support in the best way we know how to. 

We also show in our last slide how we can help educate them further, when the time is right, rather than making a pushy sales pitch. 

See below: 

social media content example - Directive

3. Bringing your designs to life

So you know what you want to say and have great design ideas you think will connect with your audience – but then you remember that you’re not a graphic designer. 

What do you do?

Do you have a graphic designer on your team?

If yes, read here. If not, move to the next question. 

For me, I have a graphic designer on my team who is busy with clients but has room to help me create two pieces of design content a week. (We tested and two posts a week was the sweet spot.)

This way, I use Asana to assign her a task that shows exactly what I am looking for, what my inspiration is, who the audience is, any specific colors, I’d like to use, and the thoroughly edited copy for the design. 

I assign the due date, which is the day before I aim to post, so I have time to edit the design and leave any comments. I make sure she has three days to make this happen in case her client-work gets busier. 

This strategy has been incredibly beneficial, and we make what we have work every week.  

Are you the only “designer” available?

Don’t stress. When you don’t have access to expensive graphic design tools, you can still produce quality posts. 

DIY design

Canva has been around for a while, but often, their free version is underrated. Here, you can build off already existing templates or bring your own vision to life. They also have templates with the exact sizing for each social media platform.

 Canva social media templatesYou can upload your own logo, photos, and more into impressive graphics and make sure that the colors and branding match what will meet your audience’s needs. 

Turns out, you can do it all!

4. Communicate with humans

It’s critical to remember that sometimes, your words are enough. Check out engagement on one of Dave Gerhardt’s (the CMO from Privy.com) latest LinkedIn posts below:

LinkedIn post on Dave Gerhardt’s profile

Notice

  1. There’s no image at all. 
  2. He doesn’t use fancy “corporate” language. 
  3. He received over 1,000 engagements by telling his audience what he could not help them with. 

Why does this matter?

There is a way to build your brand without having a design on every single social media post (besides Instagram, of course). The main point of social media is to connect with other people. Right now, connecting with people virtually has never been more critical.

Remember:

  • Social copy that doesn’t resonate with your audience won’t work right now.
  • Social copy that doesn’t provide empathy won’t work right now. 
  • Over-“salesy” social media content or any form of salesy-content won’t work right now. 
  • Communicating with humans in a real way and showing how your brand can help them will work right now. 

Let’s help each other

Moving forward, while your current social strategy may have worked impeccably for the past five years, the next year might look slightly different. You may need to make some changes. 

Challenge yourself to work your creative muscles. What new designs might meet your audience’s needs right now? 

Is there a message your audience needs to hear? Do you have an already existing piece of content that is perfect to benefit your followers during this time? 

This is your time to grow. This is your brand’s time to flourish.

Ashton Newell is the lead digital PR strategist at Directive, a performance marketing agency specialized in the software space. When Ashton is away from her day job, she spends her time teaching yoga, cheering on the ASU Sun Devils, and drinking numerous cups of coffee. She can be found on Twitter @ashtonmeisner.



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