• Alice Violet

3 reasons social media in 2021 is more important than ever

Over the past years, the shift to digital has been revolutionary. We take for granted that anyone can now capture professional photography on their phones and we can stream endless hours of content on the go. Both of these result in consumers expecting immediacy and accessibility from the brands they love, but crucially not at the expense of quality.

In the most unpredictable times of most marketers' career, instantaneous, high quality, tailored messaging has never been more in demand. This is a time when the dusty crisis plan is ready to use at a moment's notice, brand loyalty is being tested with every new closure and how your brand communicates will be remembered.

Social media demands our attention, influences our behaviour and increasingly drives where we spend our time and money. It's vital to harness the platforms properly to become a trusted and safe voice within your industry.

Here are three reasons a solid social media presence is more important in 2021 than ever before.

Get the message out quickly and have the freedom to change it

If you're a marketer or a business owner, it's likely you've needed to get a message out quickly on more than one occasion recently. The bigger your brand the more important it is to get in before negative speculation or conversation begins to build. If there is a lockdown in your area or quarantine locations added to the location of your hotel, you'll want to acknowledge the news and reassure your customers that it's in-hand as soon as possible.

If you need time to decide how to handle the news logistically, posting a holding note will buy you some time. I recommend a post across your channels explaining that affected customers will be contacted individually. This will avoid public conversations and stem customer anxiety. It will also avoid an influx of phone calls to your customer service team before they're ready.

Users on social media know that what they're seeing is the most up-to-date information. Advice on your website needs a timestamp, on social media a post from two weeks ago won't be taken as current advice unless it is pinned or added to your highlights. This means you can change direction and get the message out quickly.

Speak directly to your audience in a personable and human way

Whether a small or large business, showing vulnerability and the fact you're only human is so valuable. Admitting it's been a tough year can lead to less cancellations and brand loyalty. Offering customers a gift voucher or credit in place of a full refund could help you stay afloat until reopening.

A great way of increasing loyalty is by showing the people of your brand. During down-time you can show value and connect with your community in a number of ways. Your chef could share a video of how to create a popular dish at home, your events planner can share the benefits of an intimate wedding or your beautician can share tips on skincare while the salon is closed.

You can also use this time to encourage user-generated content from your audience. 'We miss you, share your best memories with use and we'll re-post our favourites.' Is a simple and effective way to engage with your audience while still exposing you to key demographics - their friends and family.

Get feedback from your audience and existing customers

Social media is the only marketing medium in which your audience will directly communicate with you. This can be valuable in finding out how they're feeling during this uncertain time and what content they want to see from you. This direct feedback in the form of polls, or simply asking questions can help you build a content plan for other platforms such as your emails and printed or digital magazines.

This could also be useful in adapting your business plan. While many offices are closed, is your audience looking for a #WorkingFromHotel location or somewhere to meet their team for meetings or lunches. Create a package which accommodates and encourages this.

What are your tips for social media in 2021? Share them below.