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Social Engagement in a Pandemic: How to Keep Your Social Media Audience Engaged During Covid-19

Home » Blog » Social Engagement in a Pandemic: How to Keep Your Social Media Audience Engaged During Covid-19

The novel coronavirus has changed virtually all aspects of our lives in one way or another. One of the most important changes is in how we connect and communicate with other people. In a socially-distanced world, social media has become a lifeline for maintaining human connection.

As more users turn to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to connect to their loved ones, social media engagement for businesses and marketers hasn’t been so successful. In fact, social engagement per follower declined dramatically on Instagram (0.99% to 0.82%) and Facebook (0.06% to 0.05%) between January and May 2020 during the height of the outbreak.

If your social engagement rates have plummeted during the pandemic, you might be wondering what you can do to stop the bleeding. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, I’ll go over some of the top tips, tricks, and tactics to boosting your engagement rates during Covid-19.

1. Post Less Frequently

There’s evidence to suggest that posting less frequently and with greater intention can lead to a boost in engagement rates. Data collected by Rival IQ found that during the “new normal” a boost in engagement occurred after brands started posting less frequently (25-50% less) and made emotionally resonant posts instead of generic ones.

In other words, make each post count. Don’t rely on basic promotional posts or filler content to stir up conversation or likes. Instead, use your platform to provide valuable information or emotionally impactful communication with your audience.

2. Optimize Your Posting Schedule

When you post to social media matters. Before Covid-19, it was typical for brands to maximize their engagement per post when they posted during the middle of the day on Wednesday (11 am until 1-2 pm). However, in the post-Covid social media environment, new studies have found that peak engagement hours are between 10 am and 11 am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday, and 11 am sharp on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Source: SproutSocial

The worst time to post to social media for maximizing engagement is on the weekend or during evening hours on weekdays (after 6 pm). Of course, the timing of your posts should be optimized around the time zone in which the majority of your audience resides. If you primarily sell to New York residents, for example, then you should post between 10 am and 11 am Eastern Standard Time on weekdays.

3. Deliver Value, Not Empty Rhetoric

These days, consumers are overwhelmed with corporate advertising and social media posts brands relaying how they’re “there for them” during our unprecedented times. The message, for many, has become stale. If you follow suit and recreate these kinds of posts, no matter how well-intentioned they may be, you will probably find a drop-off in engagement. 

To keep your engagement levels high, concentrate on delivering value. Make sure every post communicates something essential or useful. Don’t waste your audiences’ time or attention. 

If you’re going to post about Covid-19, cite reputable sources to back up every data point used. Use hard facts and figures to substantiate your claims, and take a value-neutral, apolitical stance. 

For example, “All of our employees are now required to wash their hands every hour. UNICEF reports that handwashing for 20 seconds reduces the likelihood of transmitting Covid-19 by 40%” is an excellent data-driven and value-oriented social media post that’s likely to garner high engagement.

4. Make It About People, Not Branding

Save the logo spam, product marketing, and corporate-speak for another time. Instead, focus on telling personal stories that your audience can relate to and connect with. They don’t have to be sappy or emotional. Simply post photos of you and your team members going about your day at the storefront while wearing masks and practicing social distancing. 

Posting photos of real people persevering through the pandemic is often enough to spark optimism in your audience. Over time, your audience will associate your brand with positive attributes such as responsibility, prudence, and resolve.

5. Experiment With New Formats and Themes

Now is the time to change things up and get experimental with your social media presence. Try running a video content marketing series and experiment with running interviews, reviews, or walkthroughs that your audience can find real value in. 

If video content doesn’t sound right for your audience, try boosting engagement by not sharing videos or links. Lately, we’ve found that our text posts that haven’t included any visual media or links have performed better than those that do. 

6. Double Down on PPC Advertising

The outbreak of Covid-19 has seen corporate marketing expenditures decrease across the board. As a consequence, there’s been a 9 percent reduction in cost-per-click on Google Ads within the retail sector. This is a golden opportunity for social media marketers who want to capitalize on discounted click-throughs. 

Savvy marketers would do well to increase their PPC advertising spend while their competitors sit on the sidelines. Driving clicks to your social media content can provide the spark you need to boost social engagement while capitalizing on discounted PPC advertising rates from Google and Bing. 

Putting It All Together

Tell personal stories, get experimental, time your posts, and ramp up ad spend. This is the basic formula for driving engagement and captivating your audiences’ attention during the downslide brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Need to boost your social engagement in a hurry? Consider hiring professional social media marketing services to take your social media game to the next level. Plus, outsourcing your social media management to third-party professionals means you’re left with more time to dedicate to core business operations that drive your bottom line.  


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