How brands can navigate through and connect with their Instagram audience amid coronavirus
Our need to socially distance despite the importance of in-person communications amidst the unprecedented event we are all facing is no doubt compounding the ongoing uncertainty worldwide.
As we adapt to this new practice to help flatten the curve, the concept of connection is evolving, and the role of Instagram and social media as a whole is now more critical than ever.
Many are shuffling through various social platforms searching for updates, and sharing their feelings regarding the coronavirus/ COVID-19 conundrum. Some resourceful individuals have taken to Instagram, forming meaningful connections, providing much-needed encouragement for others, and are partaking in Instagram trends that have emerged as a spinoff of the pandemic. How exactly should companies participate during this unprecedented event – that’s so much more important than their brand?
Before you can help others, it’s crucial that you stay safe and up to date with the World Health Organization (WHO) and your local department of health so you can swiftly make adjustments when changes concerning you or your customers arise.
Act with empathy
To avoid appearing tone-deaf, assess the content you’ve scheduled/ intend to post. Though scraping planned content, especially announcements, can be inconveniencing. No brand wants to convey that their contribution exists to draw attention to themselves. A global pandemic is not an opportunity for fearmongering marketing. Instead, provide value by considering how your brand can be helpful during these challenging times. If you’re unable to help, try sharing a post expressing compassion. Or a message regarding safety measures you’re implementing and any impact on your organization’s operations.
Though no tried and tested social media strategies exist for brands to implement when the crisis is a global pandemic, several brands have innovated the way they extend their offerings through Instagram. In doing so, let’s explore some ways in which you can learn from these brands across various industries and best encourage a feeling of connection amongst your audience during this time of coronavirus.
Considerations for realtors in the time of coronavirus
Amid concerns of contracting COVID-19 from open houses, showings, and other traditional in-person real estate operations – particularly in areas where real estate hasn’t been considered an essential business – consider doing Facetime conferences with sellers and buyers, and virtual tours through Instagram live and other mediums.
Take, Ideal Properties Group, for example, they’ve launched live virtual listing viewings dubbed “Showings on Demand” allowing prospects to make an appointment for a virtual showing instead of an in-person viewing.
Another consideration would be changing marketing campaigns to adjust to changes in consumer behavior – sellers downsizing, savvy buyers and investors taking advantage of lower interest rates and seeking out opportunities amid the uncertainty, etc.
How restaurants and Instagram influencers in the food niche can adapt during coronavirus
Large corporations like Walmart, have invested heavily into online grocery shopping, we’d expect to see a shift towards this being the norm as consumers are encouraged to stay at home to decrease their risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
Even before government-mandated shutdowns restaurants proactively turned to food delivery services to provide ‘contact-free’ delivery. Now more than ever, consider supporting existing clients’ transactions through online food delivery orders by means of Instagram DM and other avenues like a store website. If not already, also through online third-party delivery platforms, from the likes of UberEats to Postmates.
Brewdog offers a great example for businesses alike. After the shut down of their UK pubs – due to being considered a nonessential business – they decide to use resourceful thinking, and launched 102 online bars replicating their pubs worldwide. In these online bars, patrons can communicate, listen to music, and participate in home beer brewing masterclasses.
On a local scale, consider offering gift cards urging customers to support your local business – OpenTable is an excellent resource for doing this as they’ve waived their Gift card fees to help restaurants in the time of coronavirus.
Instagram influencers in the food niche can make the most of the now evolving habits of their audience being home self-isolating, by creating content around homemade recipes. Intern presenting the opportunity to create direct to consumer offerings like recipe tutorials in the long term.
What gyms, personal trainers and fitness related brands are doing
With concerns growing around contracting the coronavirus from frequently touched gym equipment – as more places consider gyms nonessential – look into moving offerings online, offering virtual group workouts and personal training through Instagram Live or other video conference mediums with precedence on non-equipment based workouts.
Gyms and Instagram fitness influencers have started proposing their online programs, in some cases for free, during quarantine. Undoubtedly, increased engagement by virtue of these offerings is a coeffect that reciprocally benefits influencers.
While gym chains are proactively encouraging members to take advantage of their online fitness classes, brands like Peloton have found themselves in a more favorable position compared to their counterparts with physical fitness centers.
Les Mills, which offers on-demand digital fitness solutions is a perfect example of this. As part of its membership, they’ve opened up their digital platform for free to club partners and schools.
For Instagram influencers that have concentrated on gym workouts or general exercise content, consumer behavioral changes could create new opportunities to focus on home workout and fitness content.
Modifying your eCommerce brand strategy
Despite a more than 50% global increase in active users on Facebook-owned platforms since COVID-19, both Facebook and Google have acknowledged that the pandemic will impact their revenue from ad buying.
This rare combination of increased online activity and decreased ad-buying competition – primarily from, according to Gary Vaynerchuck, big spenders that have been buying ads at a short term loss with the intent of growing customer acquisition – has contributed to decreased CPMs for brands that have continued marketing.
With more persons that didn’t traditionally shop online, now doing so because of coronavirus induced lifestyle changes, eCommerce brands – especially those with an essential offering – should analyze their ad campaigns and adjust to changes in consumer behavior.
Fracture, for example, a photo decor eCommerce brand has chosen to double down on spreading positivity through their content. They’re prompting followers to focus “on the moments that matter” alongside notifying them of their organizational changes to ensure employee safety.
Now more than ever, with the rise in orders for eCommerce subscriptions and one-off products, it’s time for brands, especially Brick and motor retailers that aren’t omnichannel, to consider expanding their shopping experience through Instagram Shopping alongside other avenues like a web store.
Instagram Influencers – adapting to coronavirus
With concerns surrounding Instagram Influencer ads not resonating during this time of coronavirus – especially macro influencer campaigns for consumer discretionary goods – consider long term monetization options like using your influence to drive attention to your own branded offerings.
Instagram influencers, fortunately, can reach their audience on the avenue they’re primarily resorting to in search of updates and connection.
Since COVID-19, influencer marketing agencies have reportedly seen increased ad impressions and sponsored posts engagement. Content-wise this presents an uptrend in growth for influencers, with those in the fitness, food, and comedy niche benefitting most.
Take The Body Coach, for example, who aptly took to producing content around exercising at home, alongside creating PE classes to ensure children out of school, as a result of COVID-19, can still exercise.
Through influencers, brands can encourage consumers to continue to benefit from their offerings while at home. Influencers should assess their content to avoid coming across insensitive during these unprecedented times – focusing on conveying a positive message that stimulates a connection with their audience.
Adonts, for example, a creator who’s worked with the likes of Dior, Valentino and Hermès posted a funny non-promotional Instagram Story which received upwards of 6,000 shares – showing that “people crave [this kind of] content.”
Despite COVID-19 impact on travel, studies show – according to an Izea report analyzing the possible effects of coronavirus on influencer marketing – business travelers are roughly 2x more likely to make travel reservations while confined to their homes due to Coronovirus compared to frequent travelers. On that account, if you’re a travel influencer, consider moving in synchrony with consumer changes, by concentrating on business travel-related opportunities or branded offerings at this time.
With influencer marketing agencies noticing above-average campaign engagement as more persons stay at home, Influencers are best positioned to captivate the attention of consumers, and refer online stores to shop at, home workout programs, home recipe offerings, and other emerging and essential products/ services.
Final Thoughts: Considerations for your brand and connecting with your Instagram audience during coronavirus
Most importantly stay safe, and up to date with reputable sources for information. Once you have, consider how you can help, and maintain a connection with your audience and existing customers.
It’s now more important than ever to consider adjusting to consumer behavior and innovating.