striking the right tone

Striking the right tone on social media in 2020

Getting it right on social media marketing is a matter of being sensitive to the challenges your audience is facing, and staying true to your brand values.

By now, you’ve probably already amended your customer communications. You’d have sent a COVID-19-related message to your mailing list to update them of your plans and to assure them you’re here to help. By and large, these emails have struck the right balance of pragmatism and sincerity. This is impressive given there’s no playbook for any of this.

Your focus to-date has likely been on the operational aspects of how your business, team and customers are affected and how to adapt to the constantly shifting situation.

As you start to gain clarity on what undertaking business looks like for you in this strange new world, it’s vital to revisit your social media strategy.

No matter which sector you operate in, social media marketing will increasingly require your business to communicate with candour, level-headedness, and above all: compassion.

When this is all over, people will remember whether you acted like a dodgy salesman or cemented yourself as their trusted provider.

Press pause

If your social media posting is automated, review your scheduled content to ensure that the messaging truly embodies your values and brand proposition – as it stands today.

The collective sentiment right now is vastly different to what it was when you originally created your social media content and so naturally it may no longer be fit-for-purpose. The audience you’re targeting have very different needs and wants than they did pre-pandemic.

#FOMO makes way for #gratitude. #YOLO is replaced by caution. High-quality and value replaces thoughtless consumption. Supporting our local tourism industry replaces aspirational holidays in Positano. Greed hasn't been good for a long time, and financial security is sexier than ever. This is all good news for customer-centric finance brokers, who naturally have the customer's best interests at heart.

It's particularly important to revisit any calls-to-action. If they're sales-based, make sure they don't sound like you're launching a going out of business sale. Sure, your 'ad' about refinancing may plant the seed in the customer's mind that they should look into whether they have the right loan product, but if you've not presented yourself as trusted adviser, they'll simply look for another broker - or head straight to the bank.

Slow it down

Successful businesses adapt, and it makes sense that given online traffic has increased around 60% since self-isolation kicked off, and that digital is now one of the few means to reach people, businesses have become more prolific with social media posting.

It’s so important that your business’ increased social media presence doesn’t come across as panicked, out-of-touch or opportunistic. When you suddenly ramp up from posting weekly to several times a day there’s a risk that you won’t have had a chance to ensure it accurately reflects your intent, values and brand persona.

Get some perspective

Before communicating with your audience, consider what they might be going through. Spending a lot of time with industry peers or on LinkedIn can fuel a sense of urgency. It looks as though everyone else has already started lemonade production and perhaps you’re worried demand will dry up.

A lot of business-minded people are talking about ‘being a victor not a victim’ and ‘riding the wave of opportunity’. This is fine – and we understand the impetus to be proactive. After all, we are all terrified in the face of so much uncertainty, no matter how much we lather on the bravado.

Do step out of this bubble, though. Consider, for instance that 30% of Australia’s workforce are made up of healthcare workers. These people are not on LinkedIn – being otherwise preoccupied saving lives – and no doubt many of them would bristle at the thought of taking advantage of the current situation for financial gain. The challenge they are facing has been likened to “going into battle with paper shields and toy guns”, although to be fair, they are still employed.

Tone is important, but intent is everything

We’re all running businesses, and so there is of course a financial imperative to what we do. We use social media to let people know how our products and services will help them, with the hope they’ll part with their hard-earned cash. No one likes to be sold to, and people will become increasingly cynical of this over the coming months, with businesses making more noise to vie for people’s attention. Getting the tone right is crucial to connecting with people in an authentic and engaging way.

We suggest undertaking a branding exercise to solidify your brand persona as it relates to each social media channel, keeping in mind your LinkedIn voice will likely be different to your Instagram voice. You may have already done this but it’s worth revisiting given the new (and unimproved) environment.

Whatever your brand persona, it needs to align with the experience your customers can expect to receive. A sure-fire way to achieve this is to be clear on your intent. What’s guiding your decision to undertake social media marketing? How does this gel with your overarching purpose?

Bad news is there’s no magic formula for getting it right on social media, and even the most thoughtfully-crafted post can be misconstrued by an audience. Great news is a well-defined rationale or intent statement is the best litmus test for whether you should publish that next post. Treat it as your North Star (and don’t panic post).

Find out more about how Social Broker helps broking businesses develop a distinctive brand the resonates with the ones who matter.

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