Retail brands are seeing increased value in every ‘like’, ‘share’ and ‘follower’ on social media, especially amidst COVID-19 that saw people spending more time online. According to GlobalData’s weekly COVID-19 tracker across 11 countries between May 12-17 2020, 43.7% of consumers globally are spending more time on social media due to the coronavirus outbreak.
And brands need to capitalise on this increased social media activity to promote purchasing and build shopper loyalty in a time of significantly dampened demand for non-essential goods.
“Social media will play an even more important role in marketing post-COVID-19, as many retailers are slashing marketing budgets to preserve cash to cope with the crisis, especially those that previously relied on traditional forms of marketing such as television and billboard adverts. Social media is a far cheaper method, especially if brands can leverage user-generated content and rely less on sponsored posts and collaborations,” observed Emily Salter, retail analyst, GlobalData.
However, retailers need to approach social media with sensitivity and strike the right balance with the number of posts and messaging. Although retailers need to convince shoppers to choose their products over others available, they should ensure that content is not too heavily skewed towards purchase-focused posts as they will have a significant number of followers who do not feel financially stable enough to buy non-essential items as unemployment rates have soared globally.
“Retailers need to focus on aspects beyond products – such as elements of their brand identity that resonate with shoppers, the positive actions they have taken during the crisis and building engagement to foster a sense of community. And this may prove easier for smaller independent brands. These are all elements that shoppers will be able to relate to whether they are in a position to purchase items or not, building brand loyalty and influencing shoppers’ choices in the long-term.”