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Talk Social: 24th March, 2020

Communications become digital-first: the opportunity and the things to consider

With Vodafone reporting a 50% rise in internet use as more people work from home, the coronavirus has clearly impacted on how people are using digital.

As nationwide self-isolation becomes a reality, consumer behaviour is evolving, with brands adapting to answer the needs of an audience, primarily online. 

While the needs imposed by working-from-home, home schooling and boredom represent opportunity, brands need to consider a few things to leverage this skillfully:

  • Know your brand: This is not about looking at what others are doing and copying. It’s about understanding the role your brand plays in people’s lives and how you can be useful during this crisis.
  • Keep up to date with what’s happening: With things changing so quickly, ensure your messages are up to date. Sometimes it’s better not to say anything at all.
  • Be thoughtful about tone of voice. Depending on the context, it may be necessary to evolve your tone of voice. Now might not be the best time to be sassy or sarcastic but understanding and the right kind of humour can go a long way. 

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Facebook cracks down on all ads in quest to reduce misinformation  

In its quest to reduce misinformation, Facebook is rejecting all adverts that include words associated with the virus or symptoms, no matter how innocuous. Using bots, it is detecting words ranging from the obvious “isolation” to “sore throat” and rejecting them immediately. Currently there are no guidelines on what is and isn’t accepted which means advertising brands will have to be: mindful of the language they use; recognise that they won’t be jump on a lot of the trending hashtags, from a paid-perspective; and – most importantly – be ready to revise copy, depending on the verdict from Facebook’s automated approval process.

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Brands diversify their offerings to support home-schooling parents  

On Monday, The Body Coach launched an online initiative designed to keep Britain’s children active. Live streaming a 30-minute PE lesson at 9am, the celebrity personal trainer Joe Wicks was joined by 806,000 households keen to kick off the first official day of home schooling with a fitness lesson. 

Explaining why he launched the series, he said: “…When the schools closed, there is no PE. Don’t worry (parents), I’ve got you. I’m going to take this over. I’m going get your kids moving, fit and energised, positive and optimistic.”

Wicks is just one of a number of professionals diversifying his core offering to help parents home school their children during coronavirus self-isolation. This includes Paul Wilcox of We Are Adventurers who has created a series of daily challenges to keep children engaged, curious and active. Using films broadcast on Facebook, he provides parents with access to the lessons he and his team normally deliver face-to-face. 

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Facebook and Amazon drive business through supportive employee and customer measures

Amazon plans to hire 100,000 new workers in the US and raise pay for employees in the UK, US and Europe to meet the surging demand for online orders during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The company plans to increase hourly pay by £2 in the UK, €2 in the EU and $2 in the US until the end of April, at a cost of $350m (£286m), as it hopes to attract workers who have been made redundant from the travel and leisure industries. In the US, these jobs will be in Amazon’s warehouses and delivery networks.

In the meantime, Facebook has announced the launch of a $100 million program to help small businesses that are dealing with the slowdown in operations due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). These grants will be available for up to 30,000 businesses in more than 30 countries and are designed to companies seeing a major drop in business.

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We’re still a nation that likes to party

Houseparty – described as a live-streaming app – has seen its popularity soar since the whole of the UK began isolating. 

Google-trends shows an exponential growth in ‘houseparty app’ as a search term in the last 30 days – with more than one million downloads to date. 

The video-chatting app has a number of features, including games you can play with up to eight of your friends at a time. 

It’s the pub/cafe equivalent to the likes of Slack, Zoom and Google-hangouts and is a great way to socialise – from a safe distance. 

Play the trivia-quiz, Heads-Up or Quick-draw for a socialising/ entertainment fix with friends or loved ones.

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