Now is the absolute WORST time to stop your digital marketing efforts.
Let me rephrase that.
Now is the BEST time to build stronger & more significant customer relationships!
Hear me out. This global pandemic situation we are all dealing with just flat out sucks. Especially the whole “social distancing” part. I personally thrive on social interaction, so sheltering in place feels more like I’ve been grounded indefinitely.
In all honesty, my concerns didn’t come from fear of contracting COVID-19 or running out of toilet paper. (Seriously. Who started that frenzy!?) Heck, I didn’t even squirm with too much anxiety when I watched the stock market taking a nosedive over the course of a 24-hour period. But when the process of school and business closures began my initial thought was, “Oh crap, this isn’t going to go well.”
I worried about the direct effect on not only my own business, but those of my client’s, friend’s and associate’s as well. My true passion is helping other small businesses grow and thrive. It hurts my heart to see the profound impact this pandemic and the resulting government-mandated closures has had on fellow small businesses.
...It’s also possible I am slipping into a state of delirium from the mental overload of trying to play substitute teacher, PE coach, lunch lady, nurse, and janitor to my new 1st and 3rd grader co-workers. I know I'm not alone in this. Stay strong my fellow multi-tasking parents!
So, if I have concerns about my fellow entrepreneurs why the heck am I telling you it would be absolutely insane to freeze your social marketing?
Two words… SOCIAL MEDIA
It’s more powerful than you can even begin to imagine.
Times like our current scenario are a great opportunity to engage with your audience. Not only is everyone now scrolling social platforms 24/7 while they shelter in place, but they are also trying to fill the void of those social interactions we are all now missing out on.
D you know what that means for you as a business owner? You have the attention of a broader captive audience who is primed for engagement.
Now, hold on a second.
The type of engagement I’m speaking of is NOT about making a quick buck. To be frank, I don’t advocate ever using social marketing with a “fast cash” mindset. Social marketing should be used for relationship building.
Times of crisis like this are a great opportunity to create a more meaningful connection with your potential customers. People are uneasy, anxious, restless and just out of sorts. It’s even fair to say society is grieving the sudden and slightly drastic change of our daily lives.
Be a source of support and show them you truly care about them as a person. Even though we are isolated physically, we are very much in this together. Establishing that type of communication creates a much more loyal bond between business and consumer.
Below I've compiled some tips for empathetically engaging you audience through social marketing not only during the COVID-19 pandemic, but during any crisis.
Keep people informed. Communicate in response to the crisis as it pertains to your business.
Avoid bragging. Remember, many people are currently not working and genuinely worried. Air on the side of humility.
Watch your tone. It would be in bad taste to promote a “COVID-19 Sale” or other tactless messaging.
Be positive, but not ignorant. Don’t meet a grim cultural moment with a grim brand tone. Times like this are when your brand strategy can be incredibly valuable.
Be personable. Offering well wishes or happy imagery can be refreshing for people to recall normal life.
Encourage interaction. Poll your audience about their current Netflix binge-worthy shows. Ask about what they’re up to in their spare time. Offer video conferencing, etc.
Highlight how your brand can help. Clarify your brands potential unique value proposition and share it.
Create helpful or inspiring content. Educate, entertain and motivate people during their difficult times.
It’s vital to business more than ever that you connect with customers on a deeper level. Strive to build strong relationships and learn their needs. Do all you can to engage them. In return, you have the potential to gain more returning customers and referrals.
Heather Dudley of Marketing Bonfire has been assisting small to mid-size businesses handle the planning and execution of the various strategies that most effectively find your audience, engage them and ultimately turning them into valuable customers. Get the voice of your brand and your key message out to the right audience.