How communications changed over lockdown

Honest Communications, a specialist garden and home PR agency, social media management, content creation and communications agency

Life will never be quite the same. The shared experience of a global pandemic and lockdown totally changed, and continues to shape, how we live, work and communicate. Here at Honest, comms are our thing, so we’ll be exploring how they have shifted over the last few months in this blog post.

Social media

One of the big communications changes we have seen during lockdown is the enormous increase in social media use, with engagement up by 25%.  People were confined to their homes and looking for a sense of community and kinship, so it’s not surprising that the use of social media skyrocketed. It provides a link to the world outside and over lockdown, people really craved that connection.

With businesses, shops, restaurants and showrooms closed, keeping some semblance of customer service open and active has been vital. Social media has been a way for companies to keep customers informed, interested and to stay in their minds for when they are ready to spend again.

Those businesses who used social media to reassure customers, engage with them and build relationships will feel the benefits as we muddle into the new normal. Going through difficult experiences together is bonding, so the audience businesses have built over lockdown will be loyal and invested in what happens next.

Making the most of it

Some stand-out examples of companies using social media over lockdown to great effect were Psycle, The Loaf and Tesco.

Psycle is a spin, yoga and barre studio in London. With its studios shuttered, they began running a schedule of classes every day, for free. They posted the schedule on Instagram in the morning, then used Instagram Live to run the classes, before uploading them to IGTV. This strategy was generous and meant that people anywhere in the world could take part. Now that studios can reopen, Psycle will be at the forefront of people’s minds and customers will want to reciprocate its generosity by attending classes in real life.

The Loaf is our favourite bakery, based just up the road from us in Crich, Derbyshire. Over lockdown, they posted on Facebook and Instagram daily, starting the caption with ‘Day 1…etc.’ The team shared stories from behind the scenes, highlighted different products and communicated where and how they could make deliveries. This daily ‘checking in’ made the business feel personal, almost like a friend who shows up every day with comforting baked goods! The Loaf have used social media to keep customers in the loop about its ever-changing ways of operating.

Tesco took to Twitter with its #FoodLoveStories campaign to engage with an audience who were cooking more than usual. The Food Love Stories campaign preceded lockdown but turned out to be the perfect way to connect with customers during the pandemic. People shared recipes and photos using the #FoodLoveStories hashtag – it was a much-needed bit of feel-good on Twitter that will have created some warm and fuzzy feelings toward Tesco.

Longer conversations

With many people having more time at home, it’s been a great time for brands to bolster their website content with blogs. Blog posts allow for more detailed communication with audiences and give a chance for brands to really show off its personality and values. Blogs can be used to have a longer conversation – if a social media post has got a high level of engagement, it might be a good idea to write some blog posts around the topic as it clearly resonates with your audience.

Instant news

Even newspapers were using instant communication to report news over the pandemic, with live blog style commentary running constantly. With people checking news websites frequently, and hitting refresh to get the latest, this more open style of communication meant information was shared as events happened, rather than written up afterwards in long-form articles, although of course these were written too.

News Twitter feeds were also very popular, as they are used to disseminate updates instantly.

What’s next?

The last few months have shown us that timely communication is vital, and even more so when we can’t see people face to face. When things change quickly, having a near-instant way of reaching audiences is a huge benefit for brands. The advantages of being able to communicate with an audience instantly are enormous and allow comms strategies to be agile and adaptable. The power of social media is undeniable and businesses who don’t already use it are missing out on an important channel of connection with their customers.

Has lockdown made you realise you need to raise your social media game (or kick it off completely)? You might have seen competitors putting out updates to customers and getting great engagement and wishing that your business could do the same. It’s not too late! We can help.

We create, build and maintain social profiles for a variety of businesses, and we know how to use them effectively. If you want to harness the growing power of social but you need a hand, you know where we are.