Today, more than any other time in recent history, social media platforms have become the main source of information surpassing print and other digital media platforms. Further the current situation (COVID-19) has acted as a catalyst to the ever-increasing rise in social media adoption.
More and more people are relying on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay up-to-date.
As businesses world over grapple with dropping profits and staff well being, marketing via social media will be key. Why? Because with social distancing and restricted movement, more consumers are now shopping online.
To survive this crisis, your business needs to maintain its customer base. Having an engaging presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media platforms will help you connect your customers and build relationships.
The Key Role of Social Media Marketing
Social media has become an indispensable component in our daily life. Home-bound with little to do — Covid-19 has led to a spike in online media consumption.
The businesses that will survive these uncertain times and continue to thrive afterward are those that remain agile. As such, your business will need to respond fast and effectively to the unique challenges presented.
This period presents a rare and unique opportunity to use social media marketing at its best; to connect and bond with customers in meaningful ways. Customers are looking to engage with brands that do more than just sell.
In this regard, community support is crucial. Practical support such as providing food or sanitizing equipment to those in need will render a human face to your business.
Undeniably, social media marketing also provides you with a platform to brand, sell, and market your products and services. But, this should not be the end-all-be-all for social media.
How Should Business Owners Adopt Their Social Media Marketing Strategies Post COVID-19?
Business owners ought to relate their social media marketing to the ongoing situation. As much as customers don’t want to get reminded about the pandemic wherever they look, brands that ignore the situation seem misplaced.
Having said that, trying to leverage COVID-19 for brand building purposes in your social media posts can be a put-off. More than ever before, business owners need to craft communication strategies that help them connect with their customers.
For example, use social media to deliver helpful messages and engage in valuable conversations with your audience. This can be through providing helpful information, advice, or sharing light-hearted social media posts.
This will help you resonate well with your customers and allow you to come out of the crisis much stronger.
The increase in social media usage is bound to continue long after lockdown restrictions are lifted. It will remain key in determining how businesses engage with their customers going forward.
How to Enhance Your Brand Presence With Social Media Marketing
Since your social media marketing strategy is becoming increasingly important, the following tips will help you maintain your brand presence in the era of COVID-19 and thereafter.
Remember, you need to lay the groundwork now. Hopefully, you are not planning to scramble up a plan once the world settles into a new normal.
It’s not going to be business as usual. Not anymore.
So, here’s how to help your business maintain its momentum post COVID-19:
Enhance Your Online Visibility
When used well, social media is a powerful tool. You can use it to raise your brand awareness, generate leads, determine how the market feels about you, and much more.
This begs the question, how effective is your online presence?
Are you using the right channels to engage with your customers? What are your goals?
- To facilitate sales?
- Launch promotions?
- Market research?
The thing is, whatever your business goals, you need a well-crafted social media marketing plan. This will help you attract, engage, and retain your target audience.
Therefore, ensure that your website, social sites, and content align with your brand image and resonate with your audience.
Connect Emotionally With Your Customers
Always create an emotional connection with your customers. Invite and encourage them to interact with your brand. Inspire them to follow you through the crisis by sharing interactive posts on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
Let your customers become a part of your brand story by involving them in crafting solutions to their challenges. Share behind the scene video footage of activities your business is engaged in as it responds to the crisis.
Businesses that are engaging with their customers and fans at present will remain top of mind. They will be remembered when the markets turn around. How are you helping?
Don’t be Opportunistic
Normal daily routines have changed overnight and work has shifted online. Social media has thus become a critical connection tool.
As a business, this is neither the time nor the place to engage in online self-promoting activities. This would be very distasteful. Instead, use this as an opportunity to help your customers. In one word, be present.
Of course, it’s important to push your brand’s product and services. That’s why you are in business after all. But, you can remain relevant — and make money — while offering value to your customers. Now that’s a win-win by any standards.
Have clear guidelines on the type of messaging you want to convey and the results you want from your social media activities. Note that your audience is watching with keen interest the stance your business is taking and how it responds in these unprecedented times.
One thing’s for sure; the behavior of your audience will keep changing over the next few months. Your brand needs to be consistent in reviewing and re-strategizing its social media marketing strategy — as individuals adjust to #new normal and new challenges arise.
Remember that consistency builds trust and customers value consistency.
Become proactive in anticipating the future. Businesses that fail to do this risk falling behind or losing themselves in the crisis. Consumers are looking for comfort, genuine connections, and reassurance.
Be the business that delivers on time, offers a note of thanks, smart tips on working remotely, or an uplifting quote. This will go a long way in securing and maintaining your customer base long after the crisis ends.
Some Brilliant Social Media Marketing Examples
Many businesses have provided their customers with free resources to help them cope with the crisis. Others have offered free online content to support students with distance learning or videos on how to keep fit in the confines of your home.
Wondering what to cook for dinner? Hop online for a free cooking class or order a gourmet meal from the nearest restaurant. Bored? Stream a free online concert. The options are unlimited.
On the whole, many brands are doing their best to ease the fear, stress, and discomfort that many people are experiencing. They have tried to be useful — not just entertaining — to consumers stuck at home.
Let’s have a look at some brands that have gotten social media marketing right during COVID-19:
Silverado Resort and Spa: Immunity Boosting Plants
Most hotels are reporting up to a 50% drop in revenues due to canceled bookings owing to travel restrictions. Still, this hotel has chosen to educate its customers on how to boost their immunity using plants.
It has altered its digital content strategy to focus on wellness and added a human element in their messaging. It will endear itself to its customers by helping them keep positive during a trying time.
Ikea: Reconnecting with Your home During Quarantine
What do you do when you are stuck at home and have watched reruns of Money Heist for the umpteenth time?
Ikea has the answer — reconnect with your home. The company has encouraged its customers to keep safe — by staying at home — and find comfort within the home.
Nike: Just Do It — Stay Home
Nike put it plain and simple. The message is inspiring, hopeful, and it drives the message home.
Finally, this is how not to do it:
Corona Hard Seltzer: Launched on February 24, 2020
Note that brands that opt to keep quiet and do nothing may suffer reputational damage once curfew is lifted. This is the time to up the ante in your social media marketing.
Be visible. Be heard. Your loyal customers will keep your business thriving well beyond the end of the pandemic. And once the corona recession is over, they will reward you.
But, if you leave the field open to your competition, guess what you’ll wake up to after social distancing is over? You guessed it; reduced market share.
So, as we stay connected while we remain physically separated, this truth remains. Businesses can leverage the undisputed power of social media to post business updates and support both staff and customers like never before.
This being the first time the world has experienced a pandemic of this scale, the role of social media marketing will continue unfolding. In hindsight, future businesses will learn how they too can respond to such an unprecedented global health pandemic.
While COVID-19 presents a defining moment for businesses to market their services, it’s essential to use responsible social media marketing practices. Nevertheless, stay on top of your game as you seize the most opportune moments for success; one tweet at a time.