One could say that social media has mainly played a negative role during the pandemic, with it being the cause of much miscommunication and misinformation, resulting in fear and panic.
The spreading of fake news is one example. But we must remember that billions of people around the world have also used it to connect with friends and loved ones, and to keep in touch with what is going on in the corona world around them.
In addition, governments and businesses have shown support to their consumers and employees by trying to provide as much factual information as possible about what is happening.
Is content still king?
Content overload has indeed been prevalent when it comes to social media, which is not always a bad thing, as there is some content you just can’t get enough of. During the pandemic, social media has been a good distraction; many people have turned to it to find entertainment or even to create amazing content that brings comfort and laughter to others.
Whether through storytelling in skits or showing real-life hacks and situations that expose the common (but understated) quirks of humanity, Covid-19 content has achieved relevance and relatability on social media.
Some may think that the idea of content is king is overrated, but it still proves to be true – ask the millions of ‘influencers’ who have learned it (and brands that have mastered it) during the pandemic. With platforms such as TikTok – and the newest player in the game called Reels – user-generated content is bigger than it has ever been. Both of these platforms have become hang-out spots for content creators to express themselves and their creativity, letting normal people take centre stage.
Creativity, humour and the coolness factor
Content is still king and the new generation of content creators aren’t wasting any time or opportunities. From simple make-up tutorials to entertaining brand spoofs,this group of young, creative people don’t need paid media to boost their posts for reach and engagement; they just know how to produce quality content that resonates with their audience and gives the people what they want.
These cool kings and queens know how to grab the attention of an audience and challenge the traditional ways of advertising and content production. You can simply be sitting on your couch with a creative idea and a camera, and that’s all it takes. Going off-script is nothing new for these guys and gals. It’s their way of personalising brand messages to create relativity and authenticity in their delivery.
With TikTok being a highly competitive platform and new trends popping up every day, the key idea is to stay relevant. The trick? Producing content that includes any of these factors: humour, how-to tutorials, or something that inspires awe. I mean, who doesn’t like to laugh, learn how to do something new, or watch something cool, right?
Whatever you do on social media, someone is always watching the content you create. Some TikTok creators choose to take a reactive approach to creating content. With all the craziness in the world, there is just so much to talk about.
For example, some talk about what’s happening around them, while others react to what brands and celebrities are saying or doing. Parodies thrive, which is why content creators are winning and, with apps like TikTok and Reels, you’ll often find yourself watching people lip-sync to user-generated soundbites, popular music, or even famous speeches.
The content brands should be creating
Now that we agree that content is king, there are two things brands need to consider:
Firstly: Create content that elicits an emotional response and makes people want to do something after encountering it. For example, by making the product so appealing that it is Instagrammable and people want to share or engage with it, without the brand having to feed them a call to action (CTA).
Secondly: Diversify content, and don’t restrict it to a specific target audience because your product may have a different appeal to other target audiences. Don’t create content that is only skewed to a specific gender or age group, or that generalises how your product is used by the consumer. An enlightening example would be sportswear, which is not only bought for sporting activities but has been fused with fashion.
Therefore, it is vital for brands to continuously research consumer behaviour and remain in touch with how their products are being used. This will enable brands to create relevant social media content and highlight the sentimental associations that consumers have with their products.
Anathi Kumalo is a content producer and social media manager at Grey Advertising in South Africa. She did a marketing communications degree at the University of Johannesburg.
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