By Lauren | November 13, 2020 | 0 Comment
2020 has been a ride. This was definitely not the year I was expecting when the clock struck midnight, and I rang in the new year on the other side of the world in Uganda. Who knew how much life would change this year? And how much history would be made.
As a social media professional, 2020 has definitely been a rollercoaster. From having to pivot and adapt at multiple times throughout the year, with contingency plan, after contingency plan, not really knowing what tomorrow would bring, let along next week/month/year. Through it all, here are five of the most important lessons this year has taught me (so far).
The biggest thing about 2020 was having to pivot, then pivot again, and again, and again. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were in lockdown for 2 weeks, which wouldn’t have a major impact on our strategies and plans for 2020. Then 2 weeks turned into months and we had to start to rethink everything without even really knowing if, and when, things would change again with the pandemic.
What a lot of people (outside of the marketing world) don’t realize, is how much time, work, and planning goes into creating one social media post for a brand. We usually are planning months in advance for the content we are going to create and put out. And once it’s created, it’s pretty hard to make a new budget reappear to create something new. I made so many contingency plans for clients throughout the early part of the year. Then just when we thought we were in a good place, the government would make another announcement that would change how we did work, especially when it came to production (photo and video shoots), and we’d be back at square one.
The biggest thing I learned through all those changes and shifts, was how resilient I (and my team) was. In these circumstances I was thankful for clients and everyone understanding the difficulties, it helped that everyone in the entire world were facing the same issues. As much as it was frustrating, and a lot of putting in work only to have to do it again, I think any professional in my field, and beyond, who made it through 2020 successfully will be prepared for anything.
As a brand, I couldn’t stress this enough in 2020. Every brand should have a crisis communications plan in place. If there’s one thing 2020 taught us, it was how so many people didn’t. I know we couldn’t predict a pandemic, but when it came to matters like the Black Lives Matter Movement, your brand should know where they stand, and/or how they want to position themselves. If they don’t already know, they better figure it out in record speed when things like this happen.
Naturally your comms plan is going to change, grow, and adapt. However, you need to be able to adapt, and pivot when something unexpected strikes, and you need to be able to do it quickly or people will notice.
People are always ready to attack a brand when they say or do something wrong. They’re almost waiting for it to happen. In 2020, we saw a lot of this. Brands continuing to post insensitive content during the #BLM protests, or not posting at all with their support or stance. Or even worse, brands continuing on with regular scheduled programming without addressing what was happening in the world.
This year has been a limbo of: When should I post? What should I post? Should I post at all?
As social media managers, it’s our job to educate brands on the current state on social media, and give our recommendations, but at the end of the day, it’s up to the brand on how they want to proceed, which can put people in really sticky, and awkward situations. You may feel really strongly about providing a stance, or what that stance should be, but the brand you’re working for may feel different.
Production came to a halt during the pandemic. We were no longer able to have sets, with a dozen people working in close quarters. In fact, we weren’t allowed to produce content at all. This forced us to get creative on how we could capture content with the restrictions. At the beginning of 2020, I never thought I’d be attending a photo and video shoot that is entirely directed via Zoom. With talent being responsible for their own hair, makeup, propping, and everything in between.
If there is a year over any other that we really saw the value of content creators and influencers, this was it. I’m thankful for having the option to work with people who already create content on their own, at-home, to help fill gaps, and produce relevant content for brands when we can’t. This year has really shown us that nothing can stop you from creating content if you’re willing to adapt and accept that your strategy may be thrown out the window.
All in all, the most important lesson we learned in 2020 was to be okay with change, and embrace it. Humans are very resilient. Even on the toughest days, where you felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel, you figured it out. 2020 has taught us how to bounce back, to not fear change, to accept that there are so many things out of our control. I think at the end of all this, we’ll only come back stronger and more prepared for whatever the world throws our way next (but hopefully they give us a little break before that happens).
What are some of your biggest lessons you’ve learned in 2020?