How to Develop a Post-COVID-19 Digital Strategy Now

By Hana Bieliauskas
April 30, 2020

Originally published by PR News.

It's not news that the social media landscape looks much different than it did even a few weeks ago. Don’t expect to flip on that now-paused 2020 social strategy switch when businesses reopen. While nobody knows when the country will be back to business as usual, it’s advisable for organizations to plan and implement digital activities now that will set them up for future success. Below are a few things to consider.

Short-Term Activity

Stop scheduling social media content, or do so a few days in advance only. Similarly, be sure you know what’s in the queue in case it needs to be changed owing to current events.

Many digital pros recommend making sure your content is not tone-deaf. That’s always good advice. It’s even more important in this moment.

What’s critical, though, is understanding strategies behind when and how to engage appropriately and effectively.

The Long Road and On-The-Fly Content

For example, considering content strategy on a day-by-day basis likely will work as this moment is fluid. We don’t know what is going to happen or what the next day may bring.

Being aware of sentiment and the economic climate are essential. While we can and should plan for what we think will happen and the content we assume people may want, reality is that things will continue to change instantly.

This means social content must change to maintain relevance and appropriateness. Expect to continue preparing and sharing on-the-fly and last-minute content for months.

Invest Now for Long-Term Success

For the most part, business looks bleak. That can’t last forever. As such, think now about how to implement digital tactics that will pay off later.

Now is not the time to go dark on social media or freeze ad spending. Instead, consider how to be meaningful and memorable to retain, grow and expand followers and customers tomorrow.

For example, share compelling content to keep your company or site top-of-mind with homebound audiences. Museums are offering free online tours. Restaurants and local businesses are promoting gift cards. Fitness studios are giving away online classes and renting weights and other equipment. Media outlets are taking down their firewalls. The theory is you will remember and support these businesses in-person later.

Act Local

Expect parts of the country to open and relax restrictions at different rates. For communicators, this means thinking and acting hyper locally when it comes to digital advertising and promotion.

For national or regional brands, carefully consider messaging and audience targeting. Americans’ day-to-day situations will differ dramatically depending on where they live—what people can do, purchase or attend will not be uniform. Relevant brands must localize and regionalize their approach to succeed.

An Opportunity

People are relying on digital tools and platforms to communicate and stay connected. The number of conversations online is at an all-time high. Just as the world changes its behavior and innovates, so, too, must brands.

Creativity, relevance and messaging are more critical at this moment. Those who fail to change will be left behind. Planning for the unknown is challenging, but it offers opportunities for those who are prepared to embrace them.