They always said trouble comes in threes.
As if a global pandemic, a crashed economy, and a much-needed struggle against racial injustice weren’t enough, this year has now thrown in a bonus challenge for social media managers: the president’s effectual banning of China-based video platform TikTok from the American market.
Beloved by teens and brands alike, this short-video platform hosted a plethora of content and was becoming a priority for businesses eager to catch the fancy of a youthful market.
This, understandably, has jarred many social media managers. Tiktok didn’t seem like the next big thing in social media strategy. It already was the big thing. And from all accounts, certain to remain so for the foreseeable future.
But if there’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s that the future truly is unforeseeable.
So how can we plan social media campaigns when our customers’ world might be completely different in a month?
How can we invest resources into any platform if, like TikTok, it could vanish tomorrow?
How can we pivot on a dime?
With these 5 chaos-proof social media tips:
1. Focus on 2-3 American platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
Of course, it’s still essential to keep up with these social media giants’ internal changes in ad algorithms, media formats, user experience, and regulations. But these U.S.-based platforms are most likely to stick around for the near future, so it’s pretty safe to invest time and resources in them.
To maintain flexibility, monitor which two platforms perform best with your audience, and focus on those two. Even if one collapses (God forbid), you’ll still be able to maintain an effective presence online with the other.
2. Schedule for two weeks out — but not more.
Two weeks in March and the world’s largest economy was in hibernation.
Two weeks in May and Illinois commerce resurrected from a two-month-long quarantine.
Two weeks in June and millions of Americans saw that they could no longer ignore the need for racial justice.
Your customers’ problems may be completely different in a month. Schedule for two weeks out, but no more. This will give you enough time to modify your strategies in case of further world-changing events.
3. Skim Local & National News Headlines Daily
It only takes 5-10 minutes, and you probably do it already. This practice keeps you up-to-date on any events and developments that will affect your social media strategy.
Also, note what sticks: news-followers quickly saw how George Floyd’s unjust death ignited continuing protests and racial justice initiatives across the nation.
Finally: when you see the entire nation’s sustained attention on such matters, consider creating a thoughtful statement on social media. It doesn’t have to be long, but customers will see that you care about widespread struggles and aren’t dismissing them in favor of promoting your brand.
4. Review Planned Content Daily
This activity also takes only 5-10 minutes. It’s also the most important step to keeping your posts relevant.
After your news-skim, add, remove, and modify upcoming content as needed. For example, if your district just announced students would attend class in-person this fall, replace the funny remote-schooling meme you scheduled. Ditto if you have a back-to-school-2020 meme scheduled, but your school just announced a switch back to distance education this fall.
5. Include “Evergreen” Content
Evergreen content is content that’s always helpful no matter what. For example, parent/student study tips are always appreciated by schools and people are always looking for tips on buying a new home.
Many brands can make a good impression with occasional inspiring stories, especially ones that offset the slew of bad news too often in customer’s feeds this year.
Customers also appreciate links to industry-related cornerstone content, and (usually) customer success stories.
These perennial favorites give you a strategic backbone that you can rely on. (But check them daily anyway…just in case!)
As the pirates of the Caribbean said of The Pirate Code, your strategy is…more like a guideline.
Certainly, create your two-week plan, but know that it may not be the plan tomorrow. It’s not a rule-book to follow at all costs when we’re all navigating the storms of 2020.
With these tips, you can pivot efficiently with a 2020 strategy that resonates with your audience.
No matter what comes our way next.