In the latest indication that the market for digital advertising is struggling in the face of the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic, Facebook disclosed in a blog post that the social network has “seen a weakening in our ads business in countries taking aggressive actions to reduce the spread of Covid-19.”

The term omni-channel entered into the digital arena some 15 years ago as B2C woke up to the fact that they now have to cater for more than a couple of consumer touch-points. From my experience some companies translated this term almost literally and took it as having to be omnipotent, which meant that most of the time the marketing teams were distracted from the activities and channels that provided the most return. 

Which is where the migration from marketing being a key component in driving product and market innovation towards becoming just the communication department.

Whilst social media platforms have been around for many years, it also seems that businesses are only just working out that shifting their 'advertise and promote' thinking into what is a 'social' environment isn't cutting it. In fact its simply pissing people off more than those stalking re-marketing campaigns your agency said would produce a great ROI. 

What they didn't tell you, or show you was the 98% of people who they annoyed and probably managed to damage your brand integrity.

Recent studies have documented a situation in which a little more than 10 percent of consumers who make purchases on the Internet trust advertising, while the opinion of friends from social networks for almost 80 percent is decisive when choosing a particular offer.

When I talk to the C-Suite, one of the questions I ask is for them to tell me what the last 3 adverts they saw on social media were about and what they did after they saw them - now I know this is a rhetorical question, but each and every time the answer is the same 'We can't remember the ads, so of course we did nothing'.

I then ask them why they think other people would behave any different than them........

It's illogical, it's utter nonsense, yet these are the people who pre-Covid signed off huge ad spend budgets, payed lip service to the results in board reports and meetings and started to scratch their head when sales are going down the toilet.

Post Covid one things for sure those budgets won't be as freely available as they once were as they'll more than likely be used to keep the business afloat and hopefully keep you and your team in a job.

Customers, just like you and me feel much more free to express themselves on social media than in the office. 

Therefore, they can ask questions that interest them, as well as express their opinion, which is very important for any company who wants to grow in accordance with the wishes of customers.

Being social isn't all about you and your intrusive adverts. Its about joining in with conversations, creating new conversations, looking for and involving in like minded communities, or creating communities that are aligned to your values. 

Every day, and especially as this crisis kicked in the number of people who literally live on social networks is growing, and that growth currently sits at 3.8 Billion+ people worldwide - some 60%+ of the world's population are on various social media platforms. 

And, of course, they want to get advice on their familiar territory. Social networks are a comfortable area for discussions. 

But - You have to learn to be social first and be able 'listen'!