How can one sum-up a year like 2020? A year that changed everything we thought we knew and created a new global reality in just months. For many businesses, especially small companies, the pandemic was a tough blow and they will struggle to recover. But this was also a year of unpredicted business opportunities for those who could foresee the trends created by the 2020 reality. Looking back, there are a few lessons that we should all learn from what happened during the last 11 months:
1. Be Digital
It was obvious way before 2020 that we are all being swept by a tidal wave of online shopping and businesses must invest in their digital presence to remain relevant. But as this year comes to a close, it’s clear that every business, be it an international furniture wholesaler or a neighborhood grocery store, must embrace online activity. Businesses that didn’t go digital yet or haven’t fully completed the transfer, have a serious problem. If potential clients can’t find you in Google Search, contact you on social media, examine your products online, and get them delivered to their doorstep, they’ll probably go to your competitors.
This year, digitalization happened at an especially fast pace for businesses that offer services and not products. Personal trainers, hairstylists, tutors, therapists, and other service providers, found themselves in an urgent need to find a way to provide their service without physical contact. It’s an enormous challenge for professionals who never even considered developing digital products, but also an opportunity to reach wider audiences and evolve in new ways.
2. Make Video Content
In 2020 we all spent more time in front of screens than ever before in human history. With millions of people quarantined at home, consuming video content has become our main source of entertainment, information and human connection. This means that there is simply no more excuse for businesses to put off creating original video content. On social media, various video formats are the most effective way to get the attention of your followers and reach new audiences.
We recommend beginning devising your video content strategy by analyzing the types of content best suited for your brand, audience, and platform. Short and dynamic clips will work for TikTok or Instagram Reels. Longer videos that present an evolving process belong on IGTV and YouTube. Another important format to remember is Live Video – a great way to reach your followers and engage them directly.
3. Show Empathy
It was always true that brands should be extremely sensitive in their marketing efforts, but this year it was especially vital to be empathetic to our customers. The pandemic has erased boundaries and made us realize that we’re all in the same boat. It’s crucial that you use accessible, empathetic content that’s rooted in the current reality. Make sure that your materials are up to date with the situation. Be wary of stock photos that show a life that we’re just not living right now. And beyond everything, show real interest in the needs of your customers and you will be rewarded with customer loyalty and free positive promotion.
4. Work with Others
The pandemic has made it clear how much we need each other to succeed. As businesses, we can also gain from cooperating with others. It’s a great way to get exposure, win new audiences, and combine the reach of both businesses to create something greater than its parts.
Cooperations don’t have to be cross-promotions where it’s clear from the start what’s in it for both parties. Especially in these times, it makes a lot of sense to promote others just because you like what they’re doing or are inspired by them. There are numerous ways to do this on Social Media: from mentioning other accounts to creating gift guides. Instagram has even added a dedicated “recommend a small business” sticker in the Story creation menu.
The main lesson that can be learned from the last year is the need to constantly evolve and change. Always keep reinventing yourself. Take nothing for granted. Assert the real needs of your audience and offer them the products they need. Consumption patterns across the globe have changed due to the pandemic. Make a point of following these trends and understand how you can fit in. Only those who will be able to adapt to the unbelievably fast pace we live in will be able to make it through 2021.
We don’t know what will happen next year and what challenges it will bring. But even if we will see the end of the pandemic this year, there are many aspects of our lives that will not return to what they were before. As business owners and marketers, we must consider all these changes and understand what we must change to be ready for the next year.