Creating marketing content during a crisis is a delicate subject for small business owners & entrepreneurs... after all, how do you sell to an audience who is not in a buying mood? It's a touchy subject, but it needs to be discussed. During this time of rapid global change, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected small business owners in many unexpected ways. Above the obvious economic impact, now more than ever, micro-companies are struggling to create appealing yet vigilant social media content that can help keep their business alive. That's why we created this free lesson teaching you the top 7 best social media marketing practices during coronavirus!
1. Acknowledge the change & humanize your brand
It's no secret that COVID-19 is occurring and affecting everyone around us. Now more than ever, your audience is craving human to human interaction, making it the best opportunity for you to humanize your brand while also building credibility & trust! Create a social media post addressing how the virus has impacted your business and your employees, or just give them a sneak peek on all the changes you're going through.
Here are some other ways you can humanize your brand with social media during this time:
Create a post introducing a team member: show your audience you have real people working behind the screens
Organic comments: scroll through your feed of supporters and leave genuine & organic comments under their most recent post
Share an industry-related joke: we could all use a laugh
Show your face: introduce yourself to new followers & show who's behind the screens
Share UGC (User Generated Content): show your audience that you have real humans who enjoy your products/services plus flatter your customers by sharing their pictures.*bonus points: establishes social credibility (view pictures below for references)
*brownie points for dog pictures
2. Restructure your content
What was relevant just a couple of months ago is now old news. Review your content strategy and ask yourself: is this still relevant? Does this strategy still work for my audience? Is it time-sensitive? Most likely your business will have to take on a different content approach in order to stay relevant. For example, if you are a company whose content is typically centered around large gatherings, one-on-one meetings, or something that is not readily available in this current climate, it's very clear that you can no longer promote what was once normal to promote; it's time to change your content strategy!
Here's a couple of content topics to inspire you while you restructure your social media content:
Screenshot a real customer 5-star review: publicly thank your client for the kind words *bonus point: establishes credibility, trust & social approval
Behind the scenes: show your workspace and ongoing projects/tasks.
Instagram takeover: invite an ambassador or customer to take-over your Instagram for a day
How did your business begin: tell your story!
Why does your business exist: talk about the value you bring or the solutions you solve
Answer FAQ: answer frequently asked questions about your service or products
3. Provide an escape
Everyone is tired of all the "unprecedented time" quotes. After you notify your community, at least once, about the changes your business is going through due to the pandemic: move on. There is no need to make COVID-19 the guiding topic of every post you produce. Diversify your social media feed by posting content that isn't directly related to the pandemic but is still relevant; it'll give your audience a much-needed break from all this virus talk.
4. Connect with your consumers
As we previously mentioned, your audience is desperate for some human to human interaction, which means they're more likely to participate in a conversation with you than they were before the stay-at-home order. Start interacting with your crowd in ways you might not have explored before. Amidst all of this, you might have a greater opportunity to create an emotional connection with your consumers. Here's a couple of different ways you can connect with your audience during COVID-19 by using social media:
Instagram Stories Poll: This is a favorite for every social media guru! Here's your overall return out of creating polls on Instagram stories: 1) You give your audience a voice by being able to take a vote on your poll 2) You make them feel a part of your community as they immediately get to see the poll results and see what percentage of your community voted for each option 3) It feeds good data to your algorithm! Every time a user interacts with your content (ex.: clicks on your posts, visits your profile, or even votes on your Instagram stories poll), they are telling Instagram's algorithm that they like your content. This then puts your account in good standing with this user's data, meaning the next time you post on Instagram, this user is more likely to see your post on their feed.
Follow back: Social media isn't always about the numbers... it's about connecting & relating to real people and communities (that is what social means anyways). Therefore, don't be scared to connect & show appreciation by following back some of your consumers. After all, where would your business be without them? This doesn't mean you have to follow back all of your followers... you can still be selective and make it special! For example, if you have this super big fan that always reacts to your Instagram stories or is always commenting on your posts or sending you direct messages with questions: follow them back! It's a non-verbal way of saying "hey, I see your support, I appreciate it, and I want to keep this connection going". Now, their posts will pop up on your feed, giving you the chance to engage with the user and their content. And every time you engage with their account, the user will receive a notification with your name attached to it, making sure they never forget about you.*brownie points: this is a great way to foster brand loyalty.
Get on a new social media platform: there are so many social platforms right now, to the point where almost every customer is active on more than just one platform. There's TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Linked, Instagram, Snapchat, Alignable, and way more! For example, let's say Suzie is active on Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok & Instagram... but your business is only active on Instagram. This means whenever Suzie is online but not on Instagram, she's no longer connected to your business; but if you were also active on another platform Suzie also uses, you're increasing your chances of staying connected with Suzie. So, if there's a social media channel out there where your business is not currently active, embrace the free-promotion and the opportunity to expand the connection you have with your audience and create an account on a new social media platform.
5. Hold off your ads & promotions
Now is not the time to create transaction-oriented content. Consumers are shifting their buying motives, and it's important that you listen. Consumers are experiencing low tolerance towards advertised products; perhaps it's time to put a pause on all your promotions and pay attention to the shift in the market; sell something that can provide some sort of value. Everyone is being safe with their money right now, and they're not trying to find random reasons to spend their cash on. To add value to your consumer in the coming months, think bigger than a promotion. Focus on providing a solution to their needs.
6. Connect with an influencer or a similar business
Reach out to a local artist or a local small business, and see how you can come together (remotely) to create something refreshing for both of your audiences while at the same time promote your businesses to new people. Be it a zoom interview, a Facebook live, an Instagram takeover, or even just a repost can help you diversify your content, show support, and put out good online karma for your business!
7. Do not stop!
Your community wants to hear from you... don't ghost them. It's important that your brand stays present and active. Post daily, diversify your content, stay online, stay creative, comment on pictures, repost, share, go live... no matter what you do, just don't stop! Your consumers are online all the time now; this is truly the best time to invest in the online presence for your business so your brand doesn't stay out of date.
Most importantly, if you need help, search for it. Either be it through a YouTube video or a google search... you can always find a way to solve your marketing problems. Just make sure you're creating valuable content that focuses on connection rather than transaction! If you need personalized marketing help, our social media guru's offer custom social media marketing support starting at $25. Stay creative!
Author: Sabrina Araújo Chamberlain
Co-Author: Sydney Ferreira & Colleen Carroll