Let’s face it, this is the first time any of us are facing a pandemic and it is certainly a first for those of us in marketing and managing social media for brands. While our farmers and producers in Ag continue to ensure that there is enough fresh produce on shelves for Americans, marketers must work to feed people inspiration and happy thoughts to keep morale in check.
Social media has become, whether we like it or not, the heartbeat of interpersonal communication. Across various social media networks, people talk about their morning workout, show photos of their breakfast, lunch and dinner. On social media we are invited into the most intimate of events in people’s lives with proposals, weddings and births. To say that social media has become a central part of our world in 2020 would be an understatement. So it is no surprise that during the pandemic, social media continues to be the place where people share what is real and what is now happening under their roof.
The team at DMA Solutions has been extremely sensitive to the realities that COVID-19 have brought to the table, particularly for the brands that we manage on social media each day. In close observation over the past two weeks, we’ve kept a close eye on and made note about how shoppers have responded to and engaged in general with food brands.
Here are some findings we thought might be helpful as you approach the next phase of reality in the coming days:
Social media consumption is on the rise
Obvious.ly examined 260 of its own campaigns including over 7.5 million Instagram posts and saw a 76 percent increase in daily accumulated likes on #ad posts over two weeks. Q1 Instagram campaign impressions also increased 22 percent over Q4.
People are getting their news on social media
Yes, people are seeking food (and life) inspiration on social media right now and they’re seeking developing news. According to Pew Research Center, they found that over half of US adults got news from social media often or sometimes in 2019, up from 47 percent in 2018. As people continue to be concerned with the news that they find in social media news feeds, they will also turn to connect with friends, family and brands that they trust.
Grocery purchases on Apps are on the rise
Now is a great time to work with your retail partners to discuss their individual app purchasing approach and how your product’s brand distribution might play into a social media advertising campaign. According to Apptopia, when comparing average daily downloads in February to Sunday, March 15, Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt have seen surges of 218%, 160%, and 124% respectively.
Following are ideas as you prepare content to connect and comfort your shoppers as news about COVID-19 continues to develop:
Trial various forms of content to see what resonates with your communities
Over the weekend of March 21 and 22, we ran a social media advertising experiment on Facebook with one of the brands we support. We promoted two posts, one with inspirational recipe content and one that outright acknowledged the new normal life at home providing an activity book for people to share with their school aged children at home. Both performed well and experienced a higher than normal level of engagement. For reference, a post that was boosted last month for double the amount of money had less engagements than the activity boosted post where we empathize with reality.
Memes are all the rage
Memes that generally poke fun at life these days are gaining steam across social media networks. As I type this blog post, nearly 75 memes have posted using #quarantinememes and shared on Instagram in the last 25 minutes. At a rate like this, the trend is certainly picking up steam, giving our industry a chance to play along and have some fun with shoppers during this time.
Consider the developing quarantine culture
I mentioned earlier that the DMA Social Media team is paying close attention to surfacing trends and habits forming with shoppers on social media. We’ve identified that “realness” is in and “perfection” is out. People are posting photos showcasing their quarantine experiences which are less than what we usually perceive as “picture perfect”. Feel free to encourage this realness with your brand’s own new reality. Consider using hashtags like #quarantine to connect to this growing group of people that is currently over 2 million posts strong.
Essential work and communication
Showing essential working farming culture and remote realities can be intriguing to people during this time. Now is the time to express our industry’s gratitude to those shoppers choosing to purchase fresh fruits and veggies and show them that now, more than ever, we are here to keep shelves full of their favorites.
Communicating with shoppers and buyers at this time in our history is like fishing in a barrel given the amount of time people are spending on social media in the coming weeks as all eyes are focused on food supply and what’s for dinner.
Consider how your brand fits into these realities and simply be present to be helpful, serve and guide happiness in a world that needs fresh food marketers and advocates now more than ever.
We understand that all of this can seem daunting at first. But our team at DMA Solutions is here to help you navigate these choppy waters. Fill out this form and one of our marketing experts will contact you within 24 hours to schedule time for us to help you - for free.