Tips From a Freelance Social Strategist: How to Adapt Your Business During Covid-19

We sat down with the awesome social strategist and consultant Rebecca Bond to talk all things social –– adjusting your clients’ social strategies, the future of the industry, remote work, creating videos and more!

Watch the full video interview here, or read on for our highlights! Some answers have been lightly edited for clarity.

Let’s dive right into our conversation!

As a social media strategist and consultant, are you seeing any trends or patterns in how your clients are responding to the crisis?

The big thing we’re seeing is how many people are taking what they do online – even businesses that you wouldn’t expect to be able to do so. My eldest daughter is turning eight next week and we had a big party planned, which obviously is now not possible. So we thought, well, why not do it virtually? There are already a couple of people who’ve taken their party planning offerings online. Something you’d never expect!

And we’re seeing that everywhere, really –– a lot of my clients are taking their face-to-face training online; conferences are becoming virtual events. We’ve seen that with Atomicon20 [an event originally due to take place in Newcastle, UK, but was streamed online, with resounding success!]

I’m also seeing brands position themselves as thought leaders, by helping to answer people’s questions with members of their teams: accountants, solicitors hosting Q&As.

And how are you adjusting your clients’ social strategies during this time?

People are focused on how they’re going to keep their heads above water now, so a lot of things we had planned now seem insensitive in light of this.

There’s a real trend now for positive news – people want to celebrate the good things people are doing to help others. So there’s a big trend for social media showing community and comradeship, giving people a window back into what the real world can be like!

Now more than ever, it’s important that social strategies are focused on showing your customers that you get who they are, and you get the situation they’re in.

People don’t want to see marketing for in-person events when you’re not allowed to go and see people at the moment. Judge the tone, and give people the reassurance and information that they’re needing right now.

What advice would you have for freelance social media managers?

There’s a lot of anxiety and uncertainty right now, and people having hours cut back or losing clients. I’d say just to try and hold tight, try not to let it overwhelm you, and make sure you take advantage of the support available to you.

Here in the UK, the government has announced support for the self-employed: they’ll pay 80% of your average earnings [up to £2,500/month if you earn below £50,000 annually]. Educate yourself about what’s out there for you, and make sure you get what you’re entitled to.

In terms of work, there are businesses that are booming right now. As before, it’s about proving your worth.

Social media usage is up 30%. Now’s the time to be convincing people that they should be ramping up their social marketing, so they’re in the most visible place possible ready for when people are ready to start spending their money again!

The crisis will eventually end, and businesses that have invested time in building communities will come out the other side, quicker.

How do you think this crisis will impact the future of work?

I hope [we’ll see a big change]! We still hear reports of companies being unwilling to let their staff work from home, but that position is becoming more and more untenable every single day.

I think we’ll see a lot of people having their previously-denied flexible working requests accepted because suddenly all of the infrastructure has been put in place. There won’t be much of an argument to turn it down now!

It’s also a huge cost-saver and great for the environment: think of all the people who fly to another country for a meeting, stay in a hotel for a couple of nights. With all of those meetings now happening online, maybe people will think of having a virtual catch-up first before jetting off to the other side of the world.

Can you share your top remote working tips and tools?

  1. Have really good broadband. 😉
  2. Have a reasonably comfy office chair, and a large desk so you can spread out. Don’t try and use the kitchen breakfast bar, preferably go somewhere you can have some privacy, if you have children!
  3. Lark is a new video conferencing tool and project management tool all in one that sounds
  4. Trello, for project planning and staying organised.
  5. And of course, Slack, for communicating!

As a SmarterQueue user 🙌 can you share the benefits of using it during the crisis?

I love SmarterQueue, and I’m not just saying it!

Evergreen recycling brought me to it in the first place and the latest launches, Inbox and Engage, just make it even better. It now takes me a fifth of the time that it used to, to get my social media scheduled for all my clients.

It’s so easy to be able to pause your Queue, as well. We turn a campaign Categories on and off, as and when we need to –– this is great for times like these when you need to tone down the self-promo.

And now that you can engage with content you find, you can do everything in SmarterQueue. It’s fantastic. It means that I can search for relevant conversations and put in keywords or accounts and retweet or comment straight from there, and all my stats stay in one place.

Do you think Covid-19 will have an impact on how we use social media in the future?

For business owners, I think we’ll see a shift. People are getting more comfortable going live.

I think social media platforms are having to catch up and enhance the tech to keep up, there have been a few glitches on some platforms. I think we’ll see a return to Youtube as the platform of choice for many social media managers.

Do you have any tips for people who are nervous about going live, or doing more video? 📹

Just do it!

What’s the worst that could happen?

If you’re really nervous, you don’t have to go live. Pre-record it, so you can edit it.

Subtitling is also really important as lots of people consume video without sound on their mobile. And make sure you’ve got a decent video editor: there are lots of really decent free ones. I use Movave which also has a phone app.

Remember, people aren’t looking for perfection – they want something real and authentic. Don’t worry if you fluff your lines: keep going and carry on!

You can find Rebecca on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Suzie Ryan

Suzie is a Content Marketer for SmarterQueue based in London, UK. She loves helping brands and businesses find their voice through content and storytelling; and is particularly fond of the creative possibilities of social media as a platform. When she’s not writing, she’ll be found somewhere in North London, seeking out the bars that serve G&Ts in goblets. 🍸