Using Social Media For Your Business
In times of crisis, we are forced to adapt and reinvent our way of living — the same goes for businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic caused one of the most difficult economic conditions the world has seen in decades. Social distancing and other health protocols brought countless operations at a standstill, pushing even the most established brands to bankruptcy.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) suffer the most from the current climate. Businesses in travel, hospitality, beauty, and manufacturing are especially likely to bear great losses.
Apart from its economic impact, COVID-19 has altered consumer behavior significantly. With people stuck at home, we now live in an unprecedented time where our primary touchpoints are online.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram saw a 40% increase in usage. This makes it all the more imperative to have a strong online presence and stay connected to your audience.
Amid the pandemic, the best social media practices require you to:
Rethink Your Social Media Plans
What was relevant before the spread of COVID-19 may not be so relevant now. Thousands of people are grappling for survival, so releasing ads as if nothing is wrong will make you seem insensitive and out of touch.
Stop and re-evaluate your social media plans, chances are you have to put some content on hold. Posts with overly-positive themes should be avoided, but don’t wander too far into the opposite side of the spectrum. Simply acknowledge the situation and aim to soothe some of the anxiety.
Do this by assessing your customers’ immediate needs. Tailor your posts to provide real value and be on the lookout for ways your brand might be helpful in this time of crisis.
Now is also a good time to look at the bigger picture and determine what you want out of social media in the long run. Is it only a means to improve conversion rates? How would you design resilient social media strategies in the future?
Being sensitive in the time of COVID cannot be stressed enough. The pandemic is not a marketing opportunity. Although it’s important to keep your business afloat, you have to do so while practicing tact and empathy.
Adding lines like “in light of the pandemic,” “in response to the coronavirus,” and “we know things are difficult right now” go a long way in showing you recognize it’s not business as usual.
Actress and fashion designer Kristin Cavallari did a good job on this front while promoting her jewelry brand. In an Instagram post, she stated that while “it feels strange to promote” her products, she’s willing to do everything to make sure all 100 of her employees are provided for.
Remember that everything you put out will have to come with an extra layer of care. Think twice before posting memes and capitalizing on real-life situations. It is your goal to be as human as possible while gently promoting your brand to stay top of mind.
Be Transparent and Communicate Clearly
Over-communicating is always better than under-communicating, especially while navigating through uncertainty.
The most important thing you want your customers to know is how your business is ensuring their safety, as well as your staff’s well-being. Inform them of the protocols you have in place to keep your products COVID-free. If you offer personal services, detail how you sanitize your store and emphasize how employees adhere to health protocols.
You should also communicate how your business’ operations have changed if it affects product and service delivery. Post your updated business hours and help people understand how they would go about their transactions. That is, indicate your cut-off times and be clear if people need to set an appointment or if they could simply walk into your physical establishments.
There is no need to tell your customers everything, but if it’s relevant to how they would interact with your brand, be sure to keep them informed. You should also give them ample time to adjust and react to your new policies by being quick to share your decisions online.
Give Support And Roll Out Relevant Content
While a lot of social media strategies pre-COVID were focused on customer acquisition, today’s context calls more for customer retention and support. That said, it’s crucial to know how exactly your brand can be of help.
Loom, a video recording app, upgraded its platform and made their product free for students and teachers. This was a brilliant response to education’s shift to online learning.
Of course, not every business is directly involved in providing solutions for the pandemic. Rather than forcing your brand to fit into that conversation, stick to what you have to offer. Highlight the role of your products or services in people’s lives and package them in a way that’s appropriate to the times.
Disney, for example, leveraged on being able to give people a fun distraction and released Frozen 2 early on Disney+.
Support can also come in the form of new content that educates or entertains customers. Use your creativity to produce concise and digestible videos, podcasts, or infographics that meet your consumers’ needs.
You can release content on how to adjust to the new normal or post tutorials related to your brand’s expertise. If you do it right, you can seamlessly segue into advertisements.
Stick To The Facts
The fast spread of the virus planted fear in people around the world. As a business owner, you have a responsibility to help curb the panic. Your patrons are going to be looking to you for additional information so it’s only right to be meticulous of facts.
Share news or advice only when they come from reliable sources. Before adding any data to your posts, double-check their accuracy through research. If you’re unsure of how true the information is, it’s best not to include them at all.
Spreading fake news can easily destroy brand trust which is not easy to rebuild. Be vigilant of biased reports and have an eye for identifying credible sources.
Support And Keep Your Team Informed
As crucial as it is to reach out to your audience, it is equally vital to stay connected to your team. Check your employees’ situation and discuss roadblocks to their productivity. Keep in mind that we are all dealing with a global pandemic and it’s still very much unclear how to move forward.
Create a separate group chat for concerns unrelated to work and encourage members to air grievances. Additionally, be sure to keep everyone up to speed on your new social media plans and other pertinent matters concerning the company.
These unusual circumstances mean there is no tried and tested formula for a good social media strategy. Nevertheless, you need to take action. What you do now will define your brand’s relationship with customers even long after the virus is gone.
Be smart in looking to improve conversion rates, but remain sensitive and empathetic in promoting your business.