So much of what we do every day has changed in the wake of COVID-19. While we’ve heard the word unprecedented more times than we can count, it’s with good reason. These are absolutely unprecedented times. Knowing what the best direction is for your business right now can be challenging. However, that’s when we turn to data to help make those difficult decisions for us.
In the first month of the COVID-19 outbreak, Facebook and Instagram saw a 40% increase in use. What many of us theorized came true. When people are stuck inside, they will absolutely turn to social media to fill in the hours of their day. While this pandemic has had an impact on business, we are finding that it has also presented many businesses with the opportunity to develop creative solutions. In the end, being creative and adapting to the ever-changing state of our current reality will put your business in a better position to weather this storm, and come out of it stronger than ever.
To help expedite the creative process, we’ve outlined 4 ways your brand can pivot your business’s social media strategy that you can start to implement right now in order to increase engagement and generate more revenue.
1. Adopt Empathy in Your Messaging
Long before the onset of COVID-19, psychologists and market researchers alike have agreed that empathy is one of the best tools a marketer can utilize in their messaging strategy. In fact, Mary Beech, EVP and CMO of Kate Spade New York, says, “We forget that the best marketing isn’t about the brand; it’s about the customer.”
Adopting empathy in your messaging might seem like a no-brainer. However, consider how we’ve changed from just a month ago. Consumer priorities, needs, and wants have shifted. It’s important to do your due diligence and to research the changes happening in consumer behavior. Not only will this keep your business prepared, but it will also allow you to create tailored and impactful posts for your social channels.
The idea behind messaging in this way is to eliminate the brand as a barrier to gaining a deeper connection with your consumers. By showing compassion and empathy in your messaging, you position your business as a place of comfort and support in troubling times. This positive association will allow you to remain top-of-mind during the pandemic, as well as long after.
Another benefit of approaching messaging in this way is that it remains sensitive to the situation at hand. There have been quite a few marketing blunders that have come out of COVID-19. Positioning your business in this way allows you to consume information as it is available, especially as it changes day-to-day, and react in a thought-out way. You also open up the door for your community of consumers to share their own voices, which will only aid in your research of their changing purchasing habits.
There are very few businesses and markets that have avoided being affected by COVID-19. Part of the empathetic messaging from our first tip comes into play here as well. Now is not the time to appear combative with your competitors. A better, more palatable approach, is to stand in solidarity. Collaboration is a fantastic way to achieve both of these items. Not only are you creating a new experience for your consumers, but you’re also supporting a fellow business in the process.
Collaboration can come in many different forms. For example, many small businesses join together for social media-based giveaways in order to gain brand recognition and channel followers! An important note before engaging with this type of content is to make sure you know the brand you’re working with, and that their business practices align with your own.
Not all collaborations need to be a giveaway. Many times, collaboration can come from a limited stock of the product or if supplies aren’t guaranteed. Guacamole, secret sauces, and cook-at-home meals have made their way into local HEB grocery stores here in Austin, TX. The catch here is that all of those products are from local restaurants right here in town!
We could go on and on about the fabulous job HEB has done at keeping people safe during this pandemic, but the important thing to note here is that there was a need and two businesses worked together to fulfill that need. Better yet, they both benefit and the consumer can spend more time enjoying the local restaurant food they love, from the store they love, all while following the CDC parameters of social distancing.
3. Try Out a New Channel
You’ve probably seen the surge in brands and celebrities turning to Tik Tok to pass the time during their quarantine. While it’s amusing, it’s also not a bad strategy to try right now. Across the board, social media engagement and metrics are surging as people have more time on their hands. This means that there’s an opportunity to experiment with new channels and the content native to those channels.
Whether you’re wanting to branch out to Pinterest, Youtube, LinkedIn, or Tik Tok, there are a ton of resources and trends that can lend themselves to any brand. However, keep in mind your audience and bottom line. Experimenting with trying a new channel should absolutely not come at the expense of your current active channels and following.
If you are considering trying a new channel, make sure the data backs up your decision making. Data on your target demographics can let you know if the channel you are considering is the right one. Is your target demographic women 25-45 with an affinity interest in gardening? Pinterest might be a great option for your brand then!
Trying out a new channel can also mean resurrecting neglected channels. If your brand’s Twitter account has been sitting untouched for a few months, or even years, consider picking it back up if data supports the opportunity.
Another note to point out here is to make sure you fully understand the extent of what the channel requires. Youtube, for example, requires a fair amount of video content and posting in order to be a successful channel for lead generation. If your business doesn’t have the bandwidth to take that on at the present time, another channel may be better suited for your capabilities.
4. Use Social to Keep the Lights On
In the wake of social distancing and stay at home orders, these limitations have put a strain on businesses. However, social media offers a number of tools that can allow businesses to keep up with generating service revenue, even when face-to-face contact isn’t possible.
First, use your social media to transparently articulate new hours, differentiated services, new corporate policies, or any other pertinent information. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook offer direct message capabilities that can help mitigate customer complaints, questions, and issues.
While you may have your own process for dealing with those issues, social media offers communication through a platform that your customers are likely already familiar with. Plus, since many people can access a profile or page, it offers the opportunity to train more employees on customer service in order to keep up with an increase in outreach.
If your business has had to cease operation, social media may offer you an outlet to keep business going! Live video and personal consultations have steadily become a normal part of quarantine. Spas are conducting live facial tutorials, hairdressers are talking people through an at-home trim, and photographers are even doing webcam photoshoots!
Creativity is key here and social media channels have been more than helpful in assisting with the difficulties facing businesses. Instagram has added new buttons for curbside orders for restaurants, and Facebook is offering limited grants for their advertising.
The most important thing to remember is that in the wake of this pandemic if you can continue to post, do it. Unfortunately, many businesses have already closed as a result of COVID-19. Going dark on social media can send a message of closure.
Creating a strategy for continued posting, even if it’s drastically reduced or content differs greatly, is better than no posting at all. At the very least, communicate with your customers candidly about the state of your business, if you’ll be taking a break from social media for an extended period of time, or any other major change so that your customers can remain vigilant for your return.
Times are challenging. There’s no denying that. However, if we look at our current circumstances as an opportunity to try something new, we might just come out of this knowing more about our business and our customers than ever before. Know that you are not alone and that there are resources out there to help you and your business.
If you’re looking for more information to assist your business during this time, head over to our Marketing Resources menu to gain access to our Lead Generation Calculator, Website Analyzer, and to Download our Free 2020 Social Media Guide!