Published on Sep 30, 2020
It’s a crazy world we’re living in, right? A lot has changed over the last six months. We’ve seen a global pandemic along with a 3-month quarantine, national social unrest, and many small, family-owned businesses are struggling to survive. We were forced to quickly adapt to the virus and what seemed like a global quarantine. Now, just months later, we’re adapting again to a post-quarantine world with COVID-19 still hanging around.
The bright side is we learned some new statistics about consumer behavior during the quarantine. For starters, with all of the downtime, people were spending more time on their phones which equates to an increase in social media usage. Specifically, messaging apps and social platforms saw an increase of 25-50% as compared to pre-quarantine. 1 in 2 people were doing more online shopping. Meanwhile, brands were seeing a significant spike in social media engagement. Furthermore, small businesses saw a double-digit spike in engagement when posting video.
While that sounds promising, businesses re-opening and many are struggling to adapt to these unique and challenging circumstances. In this article, I’m going to share some simple tactics that you can implement to build engagement, continue to cultivate your online community, and demonstrate that your business cares.
Given the circumstances, many businesses are operating on modified hours and like restaurants may be open for carry-out or delivery only. Many consumers go to Facebook first to identity a business’s hours of operation. If they are incorrect and a consumer shows up when you are closed, it’s a good way to lose business, and possibly to your competition. And, if it happens frequently, it could come with a negative review. It’s perfectly acceptable for your operating hours to change, however, it should be updated immediately and posted to your social media profiles, Google My Business, and your website. While you’re there, I recommend double-checking to ensure your address, email, and phone number is also accurate.
Looking back at it, we all have some fun, funny, and unique quarantine experiences. Working remote wasn’t all easy or glamorous, it came with a unique set of challenges and sometimes barking dogs. The majority of your followers are connected with your business online because they care about your service, product, and or people. The best way to cultivate stronger relationships is to get vulnerable and talk about the challenges your business is facing or has overcome. Your customers want to hear from you, so don’t be afraid to get in front of a camera and talk about some of the positives and the negatives your business has seen during this pandemic. Because we can all relate, this may be one of the most powerful forms of content you can post in the current economic climate.
In business, nothing is more important than your customers and your employees. Both are likely the reason why your business has achieved a high level of success. It’s likely they are your greatest advocates so integrate them into your social media strategy regularly. Share testimonials or just say thank you.
I know many of you have some Zoom fatigue. Since most of us are limited to our office or home, snap a picture of your computer screen, and share more about what your business is doing to stay connected in this virtual world. This type of content tends to perform well on social platforms like LinkedIn.
If your business has had to adapt, pivot, or make changes, share that with the world. This includes renovations, remodels, staff growth, new products or services, revised hours, or even future plans. Whether it’s related to Covid-19 or not, people want to know what’s new so keep them updated.
Your social media profiles don’t have to be all professional and business-related all the time. It’s a nice change of pace and often refreshing to see the lighter side of a business. In fact, it’s never been a better time to create content that puts a smile on your follower’s faces. We’ve seen some businesses showcase their newly adopted puppy, post pictures of their children interrupting their Zoom call, posting a blooper reel or just sharing a story about something got screwed up. Nobody is perfect, not even in big businesses. Put a focus on content that people can relate with and you’re bound to see positive engagement.
Is your business closed or open? If you’re open, what kind of restrictions or safety protocols do you have in place? Don’t assume that current or prospective customers will visit just because the quarantine is over. While a good portion of the population feels comfortable leaving their house, not everyone is excited about visiting shopping centers or restaurants.
For those that are ready to explore, they are likely to visit your Facebook or Instagram page to discover their dining options. For example, many restaurant-goers want to know if outdoor dining is available and are they required to wear a mask. More importantly, the vast majority of people want to know what precautions your staff is taking to prevent the spread of disease and to keep people safe. If you can earn their trust, you are likely to earn their business.
If you’re a restaurant or retail business, take a few extra minutes to craft these posts and do so with a little love. Demonstrating preparedness and caution is a great way to ease the tension and get people comfortable who want to venture out. In summary, showcase your people, get in front of the camera, be vulnerable, keep your followers updated, and communicate with care and compassion. It may require an investment of a few extra minutes but it’s well worth it.