Our worlds have become smaller, our relationships with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues more intense since Lockdown 1.0 and our time on screens is accepted as harder work and more wearing than real life.
So, in Lockdown 3.0, almost one year on from that fateful March day in 2020 when the UK was ‘sent home’ - does this mean how we will communicate and really engage with people will change significantly?
Social media will remain a strong channel to engage with from an efficiency point of view, however, how the social media giants behave now – whether they are publishers or free speech communities - will create the future relationships we have with them. There has been too much recent ‘concern’ over the platform’s role in manipulating how we see the world and our world leaders, to retain their trust without hard work on their own policies, ethics, and governance, to be sure of how our ongoing relationships will shape up with them. They need to restore trust in several places and become more transparent over their policies.
While geotargeting is a useful tool, the role of micro influencers in our lives is significant and set to become more powerful in targeting these local communities. We think that because these are real people who have built content, followers and feeds based on their own genuine values, beliefs and lifestyles. They represent a way to reach a very engaged community with similar likes and dislikes or with people who aspire to be like you! And whilst these people are making a living from the value of their communities, they have carefully set their own brand values and have clear parameters and represent a credible authentic route to engage with your audience, once you know exactly who they are. So working with Micro influencers can work very well. In fact, we think micro are far more powerful and authentic than macro.
Local PR, usually with the freesheet, ‘property porn’ lifestyle glossies are a great way for local business to feature in a targeted community level way. Working editorially with the glossies and re-informing this across targeted digital play can be highly effective.
The old-fashioned door drops and canvasing can also be impactful, although caution and care needs to be applied with regards to sustainability and of course COVID safety.
And our new national can in fact be regional. Given the way our worlds would like to unlock and be released, then the regional perspective on many things is highly geared around the COVID lockdown release programme. Constant monitoring of the regional situation leads to a greater pride in your home and family regions and so stories that are relevant on this level and are positive are likely to be attention grabbing and stand out in a sea of grim and grey.
Our local community has become more engaged and influential. Word of mouth therefore remains a highly effective and possibly the most powerful way for businesses, brands and services to engage with local like-minded groups. Routes to reach these places are difficult to manage, but often come from a combination of social, news and local media, as well of course as community networking sites such as Nextdoor, WhatsApp and Facebook Marketplace.
For those looking to test the water with PR, we are offering flexible packages to help get your comms positioning right over the next few months.