By Hsin-Hui Cheng
During the COVID-19 pandemic, staying connected on social media has become difficult for many businesses. Some businesses have stopped updating their social media accounts after posting a temporary closure notice, while others are having a hard time deciding what to post.
Frankly speaking, businesses shouldn’t stop marketing and communicating on social media, even during times of crisis. Social media may be the only place where you can reach your audience freely — and maybe more effectively than before. Facebook just revealed that the platform’s usage has surged 50% in countries affected by COVID-19. People are staying on social media platforms more frequently and for longer, seeking information, entertainment and connection. This is your chance to engage with your customers and build brand loyalty for the long term!
If you’ve decided to grab this opportunity, use the following tips to start building a social media marketing plan for your business.
Show empathy with your audience
Empathy is always important, especially during hard times. When posting on social media, try to understand how your audience is feeling and what difficulties they may be facing. Then craft your content based on these understandings. Consider sharing useful information, emotional support, or even something entertaining (but appropriate) as long as it aligns with what your audience needs. The most important thing is to show genuine empathy and support.
Update your information or current status
If you are a restaurant, are you still open? Do you provide delivery service? If so, from which platforms can customers order your food? If you are another kind of business, have you changed how you operate to practice social distancing or follow other regulations? Customers want to know, so make sure you announce your current status on social media. Furthermore, don’t stop sharing your status after one post. Regularly update the latest information of your business so customers know that you are still with them and they can use your service now or expect your reopening in the future.
Engage customers with new types and forms of content
Due to the current situation, your usual content or forms of content may not be applicable or effective. Trying out new content or forms could help you make a breakthrough. One example is DoubleTree By Hilton sharing their cookie recipe. A recipe may not be the content a hotel would post normally, but sharing the recipe for their signature chocolate cookies during the crisis catches people’s attention and creates a connection with their customers. Consider using short videos, live stream chats, and Zoom teaching sessions to communicate with your audience. New content and forms can trigger people’s interest and inspire them to engage.
Purpose-driven marketing is worth spreading
According to a survey recently conducted by Kantar, 75 percent of consumers would like to know how brands are helping out. In other words, instead of stopping all marketing and advertising, consumers actually want to see businesses advertise in the right way. If your business is helping the community, no matter if it is making a donation, providing free meals for healthcare workers, or offering free consulting services, feel confident about sharing it on social media. This can send a message to your audience indicating that “we are in this together and we want to play our part,” and generate awareness of your charitable activities.
Staying connected physically is hard during the pandemic, but on social media, it is not. Try to leverage the power and convenience of these online platforms and keep your audience close. By offering empathy, help and meaningful content, you can build a strong and long-term relationship with your customers.
Image courtesy of Pexels.com
About the Author
Hsin-Hui is a passionate marketer with experience in branding and marketing content creation. She has worked as a marketing specialist in the CPG industry in Asia as well as a marketing coordinator for a local business in Seattle. Hsin-Hui is currently pursuing her Masters in Communication and Digital Media at UW, and is working on expanding her expertise into content strategy. Her career passion is to help adding value to products and brands, so they can add value to people and society.