It’s a tough question that many businesses are struggling to answer at the moment – “how do you market your business on social media during the Coronavirus pandemic?”. As people across the globe are beginning to adjust to the country-wide lockdown and social distancing measures, businesses and social media managers are tweaking their campaigns and coming up with creative ideas to market their products and services.
Staying connected is more important than ever, with people and businesses relying on social media platforms to stay in touch with friends and family. Facebook and Instagram have seen a 40 percent increase in people using their platforms because of COVID-19, with views on Instagram and Facebook Live videos doubling in a week.
But it’s definitely not business as usual, even on social media. Instead of hiding away in the corner, businesses need to re-think the kind of content they’re posting and take advantage of the fact many more people are logging on to stay connected.
Now is the time to communicate
In these uncertain times, many businesses can’t afford to stop selling and therefore can’t afford to stop marketing. This includes posting on social platforms.
With this huge increase in time spent on social, now is the perfect opportunity to develop deeper relationships with your customers and audience. But let’s face it, you can’t continue with the type of posts you were publishing before at risk of seeming ignorant to what’s currently happening in the world. Equally, you can’t expect to post a tonne of information regarding the pandemic if it’s not relevant to your brand.
With the world changing by the day, and sometimes by the hour, it can be difficult to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong to post. This makes planning ahead a seemingly impossible task.
So, what can businesses do?
Embrace this time on social media and make your brand as human as possible
Mix this new human element with your usual marketing and selling messages and voila! You’ll have a whole new social media strategy to sink your teeth into. Don’t forget, this is new to all marketers, they don’t teach you how to market your business on Facebook and Instagram while facing a global pandemic in university, or even on the job…
Listen to and acknowledge what’s happening in the world
Don’t ignore it or pretend it’s not happening. Sticking your head in the sand and hoping it will all magically go away is the answer to absolutely nothing. Recognise events with a well thought out message from your brand. Even just acknowledging to your followers that times aren’t normal but you’re here, you’re listening, and you care will go a long way.
If you’re a small business, turn a static post into an Instagram story or IGTV to explain first-hand how your business is adapting, and how your customers can still get their hands on your products or services. Yes, things may have to be digital for a while, but you can be marketing and building brand advocates in the background, even if you can’t sell physical products.
Don’t stop posting
Now is not the time for your brand to go silent. Stay connected to your followers, just like you would your own friends and family. If you can’t sell products and services at the moment that’s fine, focus on sharing content that aligns with your core brand values instead.
Use your captions to evoke the senses and dreams of what could happen once the pandemic is over. Wording like “dreaming” and “date night at home” can be used across many brands, from travel and tourism to kitchen suppliers and building merchants. Think beyond COVID-19 by drip-feeding inspiration and start planning for the future.
Empathy is everything
Whether you’ve been directly or indirectly, the outbreak affects everyone, regardless of background, ethnicity and social status. Think outside of your situation, as you may have customers or clients who have been affected completely differently to you and your business.
Offer your followers compassion. Always be kind, and consider what you’re writing, as the tone and context may affect someone who is experiencing COVID-19 in a totally different way.
Remember that some of your followers have lost their jobs, are caring for a loved one, are working hard on the front line, are trying to work at home with three children, or might even be sick themselves. Think less of a hard sell and more of an overarching positive message, with a little bit of promotional stuff woven in for good measure.
Navigating COVID-19 isn’t easy for anyone
No one prepped us for this. No one taught us how to react on social media. Learn from brands around you and develop your own pandemic strategy. If you’re still open but working behind the scenes, think of this as a great opportunity to show your followers how you’re doing.
If you’re a travel business, why not encourage your audience to have a mini break at home? Inspire them with an experience like travelling from your home office space to the relaxing surroundings of a makeshift “drive through” movie night in. Who doesn’t want to curl up on a mountain of duvets and cushions with some popcorn and a good film?
Fitness and wellness business? Take your workouts, skincare routines and wellness rituals online. After all, video performs incredibly well across Instagram and Facebook, so use this time as an opportunity to curate a bank of content for your followers.
Remember, there is no rule book on what you should be doing and posting during a pandemic. Don’t be too hard on yourself or your business, you won’t be the only one that’s struggling! Take some time out to consider your new messaging. Create some content. Get yourself a new schedule and away you go. If you need a helping hand on creating a social media strategy to see you through this tricky patch, get in touch with our team.