COVID-19 has drastically transformed our lives. In the wake of the pandemic, people are frantically trying to make sense of the new restrictions and changing social norms, as well as trying to live amid a raging pandemic.
But it’s the businesses that have been hit the hardest. The number of people shopping for products has dropped dramatically due to social distancing and lockdowns. They are grappling to come up with innovative ways to survive in the days ahead.
Most brands simply believe that transferring their services online is enough. However, they must take things a step further. Businesses will need to reassess marketing tactics and learn how to reconnect with customers during the pandemic crisis.
In all the pandemonium, social media marketing is offering a simple and effective solution.
Social media as a valuable tool during the COVID-19 crisis
According to stlblackbiz.com, nearly half of businesses aren’t using social media. If you don’t happen to have a social media account, now’s the time to invest in social media marketing.
The COVID-19 pandemic is allowing you to interact with your customers online actively. Amid isolation, social media is helping to build and maintain connections with consumers. It means that you will need to share and communicate quality messages more than you may have done before the pandemic.
Above all, you will have to listen to what your audience wants and show empathy in your posts. Thus, your social media marketing strategy will require more creativity.
While it may seem overwhelming to invest in a new channel of marketing, the importance of a strong social media presence can no longer be overlooked.
The crucial question now is, “How can you market your business on social media appropriately?” In this blog, we have identified ways for you to promote your business on social media while adding a level of sanity to the current crisis.
1. Choose the best platform
This advice is for every new brand that is coming on board the social media bandwagon. You don’t have the money to maintain a steady presence on all platforms right now. So select one or two forums that align with your audience’s preferences and the type of content you want to post.
The good news is that people are generally interacting more on all social media platforms. Mark Zuckerberg reported that WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger usage has more than doubled since the start of the crisis. According to campaignlive.co.uk, Instagram impressions increased by 22% between Q4 2019 and Q1 2020, while TikTok engagement increased by 27% from just February to March.
More importantly, know what each platform has to offer. For instance, Sofie Pavitt, a New York-based esthetician, knew that in light of social distancing measures, she would need to find new ways to engage with her clients and provide services.
She was able to compensate for canceled in-office appointments by offering clients virtual guided facial tutorials as well as hosting guided facials via Instagram Live.
2. Plan a content schedule
People are hungry for online content. They’re engaging more with platforms than they’ve done in the past. Sproutsocial.com has the proof for you.
Consumers will interact more with names that they trust. Now’s your chance to step out in the crowd. So this means that you’ll have to focus more on providing useful, meaningful posts regularly.
Outline a content calendar for the coming month or the next couple of weeks at the least. It will help match content with what your customers want as well as keep you organized.
3. Make a positive impact
Being stuck inside the house and watching the news about the fast-spreading virus is making people feel depressed. It’s time to add a bit of positivity to the current situation. Create content that not only engages consumers but also makes them feel better.
Lululemon, an activewear and lifestyle brand, is doing just that. It has always pursued efforts to cultivate a community around itself. In the time during the virus, Lululemon has further extended its support to the community.
It has launched a series of virtual workout classes, meditations, and mindfulness practices for its customers. So although people can’t gather in-person to exercise, they can do so online.
4. Show you care
You can take it a step further. Is there something that you are doing to support the frontline workers who are fighting COVID-19? What policies have you enforcedat your workplace for the safety of your employees and customers? Or, are you offering something to the local community to help people get through these difficult times?
Look at how BN3TH, an underwear brand, is using its social media platforms to extend community support. While the BN3TH Instagram page is actively maintained with new posts about the products and replies to customers, it is their posts showing empathy and gratitude during this public health crisis that is sealing the deal.
This is a fine example of adding the element of empathy and support in your marketing campaign.
5. Turn to micro-influencers
Econsultancy.com states that 87% of US marketers are predicting an increase in customers utilizing online services during the outbreak, with 75% predicting growth in ecommerce. But you will need to influence the audience.
Begin by building trustworthy relationships with your customers and identify those who can get your product or service some more attention.
You will need to dig through social media platforms to find creators and influencers that fit your brand’s vibe. By integrating their content into your platforms, you can significantly increase your target reach and ROI.
Notice how Pura Vida Bracelets was able to leverage Rachel Brathen’s (@yoga_girl) 2.1 million Instagram followers. The brand works out an agreement with the influencers, either as a ‘trade for the product’ or paid collaboration for photos, posts, IG stories, IG live, and giveaways.
And for content creators who have less than a 50K audience, Pura Vida trades ‘product for photos’ to leverage these micro-influencers. Similarly, by seeking out micro-influencers, you can scale your approach to fit your business.
6. Provide better customer service to keep your customers happy
People are frustrated more than ever because of the pandemic. They want their problems to go away. Customers, therefore, expect companies to handle their queries immediately. Thus having a social media customer service strategy is a crucial factor in keeping your customer happy.
And when you make the extra effort to resolve their issues, consumers notice. So it’s essential to maintain a strong line of communication. It brings you one step closer to building more meaningful relationships with your customers.
Brands like TWLOHA go live to answer questions, share stories, and connect with the community. Sometimes, face-to-face conversations can be a better way to communicate with a larger audience than posting pre-filmed videos. More importantly, it helps to humanize the brand.
Businesses are adapting to COVID-19 regulations. Explain to your customers how your company is pivoting. Keep information about your business up to date, whether on your website, Google My Business listing, your social media page, etc.
Make it easier for your customers to obtain accurate details about your brand, such as whether you are operating brick and mortar locations, timing, online shopping options, delivery charges, etc.
Even though times are changing, your current strategies can help set your business up for what’s in store for the future.While the core business principles and brand image are the same, your marketing strategy can adapt to the circumstances.
The current situation is an opportunity for you to learn and apply ways to promote the brand, communicate, and build relationships. When the pandemic is finally over, your customers will be more excited to continue interacting with your brand.
But for the moment, we need to focus on staying safe and healthy.