Are you aware of the amount of content you are consuming right now? The odds are, you have been logging some serious screen time over the past few weeks. Many of us have lost jobs, started remote learning, or are just simply sheltering in place. Regardless of where you find yourself, I imagine you have both consumed and created more content over the past few weeks. And, we are right there with you! We are writing this post to tell you a little bit of what we have learned about creating and consuming content in the age of COVID-19. We hope that this post gives you a better insight into how we create our own content and maybe even give you a few ideas to help ease your anxiety during this strange time.
Creating Content for COVID-19
As some of you know, we actually provide a variety of Social Media Management services for clients. Essentially, we can handle everything from content creation, caption-writing, ad budgeting, content posting, analytics and everything in between. This means that we stay up-to-date on the latest trends and algorithms so that our clients’ content achieves maximum potential. As it turns out, there is no guidebook for curating content that performs well during a global pandemic! So, content marketers and social media managers have been constantly trying to figure out how to write the next best caption for a world in panic. Here is what we have learned:
1. Advocating a message of hope with an optimistic tone performs incredibly well! It might just be that people are tired of hearing messages of despair and like being encouraged through the content they are consuming on Instagram. If you need help crafting hopeful sounding messages, try installing Grammarly on your web browser. Grammarly is an incredibly powerful spell-checker and grammar-checker that will take your writing to the next level. One of the coolest features of Grammarly, however, is its tone detector. When you are typing, Grammarly will actually tell you what your writing sounds and feels like. Check the screenshot below to see how this post is sounding:
Grammarly will let you know when you are sounding too formal or too harsh and will guide you to crafting messages of hope during this stressful time. Your tone will go farther than you could ever imagine. But, be sure to spend time writing content that actually is hopeful and encouraging. Tell your followers that you are thinking of them and that you care. Go out of your way to create moments of joy and thanksgiving! Be real, accept the chaos that is around us, but give your audience a break from the pessimism.
2. Write content that directly relates to COVID-19. One of the most significant factors in creating social media content that performs well has to do with how relevant you are. If something major is happening (like a global pandemic), you should probably say how the company, business, or brand you are representing is dealing with or engaging with the world. If you continue to just post as usual, your followers might not think you are paying attention to your environment, which makes them see you as less relevant
One of our clients, Valley Fir & Redwood, owns and operates a lumber and hardware store. They are an ‘essential business’ and have been able to stay open through the pandemic. After many conversations with the staff, we decided to begin tailoring their content to directly confront COVID-19 and how their business is operating through this season. We changed their paid ads to reflect the services and protocols they have put in place to provide their customers with a safe and hospitable shopping experience. We started integrating messages of hope twice a week to keep their followers encouraged. And, we started reminding their followers once a week that they are open and are willing to accommodate in any possible way to serve customers. As soon as we shifted our strategy, we noticed massive spikes in reach, engagement, and traffic across all of their social media channels. Here is just a quick visual of how their Facebook Page has been performing:
We shifted our strategy during the last week of March (which corresponds to the big blue spike you see). As you can tell, their Facebook Page alone has experienced an incredible surge in engagement across the board. Most notably, their reach (the red section) has seen a massive improvement. Keep in mind: we did not change our ad spending amounts at all…we simply changed the content!
3. Give your followers ideas while they are staying at home. Given that large numbers of people have lost their jobs, are being forced to work from home, are remote learning, or having to provide 24/7 childcare….many are searching for fun or creative projects to do around the house. Run with this! We have noticed that followers are loving challenges and opportunities to share what is happening in their lives at home. Don’t be afraid to provide creative ideas for staying sane while sheltering in place. Encourage your audience to share photos and videos and repost those photos when they do share. Now is the time to really focus on developing a community with your followers. Not only will it help you grow on your social media outlets, but it will also provide some much-needed relief during this stressful time!
Consuming Content During COVID-19
While we certainly love helping our clients create and promote tailored content, we also understand the toll of consuming so much content day-in and day-out. We get exhausted from cranking out content, but we also get even more exhausted from consuming an absurd amount of content every single day. If you are like us, you have probably watched way too much Netflix and have logged way more hours on your phone than before the pandemic hit. All of the consumption is exhausting!
Philosophically speaking, we don’t believe that human beings were designed to sit behind computers and phones all day. We don’t believe that Life surfaces through our devices. Rather, Life happens when we are present with one another and show care for one another. During this odd time where all it feels like we can do is consume content, it is important now more than ever to stop consuming. Research has shown us time and time again the health concerns associated with screen-time and the over-consumption of media. Let’s listen to the experts!
It might sound odd for a company that prides itself on helping clients with their digital content to advocate for our own followers to consume less digital content. But, we care more about human beings learning how to thrive and live healthy lives than promoting our own brand. We want to help our clients and our followers learn to see that Life is best lived outside of the screens. Life is found in sharing laughter and tears. Life is found in honesty and hard conversations. Life is found in board games and gardening. Life is in the trees and in the act of baking bread.