No matter what the industry, COVID-19 has affected businesses everywhere, along with the consumers who buy from them. Given the global impact this virus has had, it’s important to adjust your messaging and social media marketing to reflect the current times — whether your business is booming or struggling because of COVID-19.
Instead of a hard sales pitch, it’s about softening your message and looking for ways to be of service. The term “We’re all in this together” has become a rallying cry of people everywhere — from all industries and walks of life.
And actually, this is the perfect time to recognize that the hard sales pitch was never a very effective way to capture your audience’s attention.
Rather than use social media as a blatant promotional tool, think of it as a platform for being authentic, honest and real. Recruit the power of social media to help you tell your story, support your customers and serve your community, and you’ll be met with enthusiasm from your audience.
Follow the tips below to be more impactful with your social media marketing regardless of your industry — not only now during COVID-19 times, but going forward as well.
Tip #1: Think Gandhi, Not Rocky
You’re not stepping into a boxing ring with Apollo Creed. Knocking your customers in the face with the hard sell is only going to turn them away.
That was true before COVID-19, and it’s even more true now.
People will resonate with messaging that addresses the current reality. For many, that reality includes dealing with financial and emotional challenges like they’ve never seen before.
For others, it may mean dealing with loss and grief if they’ve lost loved ones. It could mean isolating from family or putting themselves at risk as essential workers.
Since you don’t know what each of your customers might be experiencing right now, you simply need to speak to all of them with compassion and gritty realness.
Imagine yourself as a storyteller, someone who engages your audience with compelling plots, twists and turns, surprise endings and fascinating characters. Be the type of account someone wants to follow and engage with. The deeper they get into your “story,” the more they’ll remember you and want to buy from you.
You can be playful, motivational and sometimes humorous, too. Give them something to do with all that time at home — dance party, anyone? Zoom cocktail hour? Wacky science experiment for kids? Whatever you do, do it from the heart. Be a friend, not a salesperson.
CBS Sports nailed it with their inspirational ad speaking to our collective longing for sports, greeting us simply, “Hello Friends.” Grab your tissues, y’all.
Tip #2: Do Stuff You Wouldn’t Normally Do
Think free shipping and deeper discounts. Go the extra mile with customer service. Make every customer feel important and significant. On a more thought-provoking note, trust that what you give away will come back to you tenfold or more.
Customers are paying close attention to how you are taking care of them right now. You should be treating every customer, follower and lead like royalty.
It’s the way service should be — we’re just hyper-aware of it today. You better believe your customer will remember you including a handwritten note and a free dessert with their takeout order. Thank them by name for supporting your business, and sign it with your own name, too.
Yes, it’s April and you’re not thinking about creating the type of offers you would normally only dish out on Black Friday. But we’ll say it louder for the people in the back: These are not normal times.
When you tailor your offers for a COVID-19 audience, you are letting people know you care. You’re putting people before profits. And those people will remember your kindness.
Every time you offer free delivery, free trials, free gifts with purchase and other freebies, you gain your audience’s trust. You’re instilling confidence in your business — the type of confidence that will translate into repeat sales and positive reviews.
Tip #3: Take a Fine-Toothed Comb to Social Media Marketing
If you already have posts and ads scheduled to go out, be sure to give them an extra once-over. For the reasons stated in tip #2, you don’t want anything going out that doesn’t speak to the current COVID-19 reality.
You can either tweak your scheduled content or come up with new posts and ads altogether. For instance, if you had content set to go out that talks about enjoying spring travel, you can adjust it to speak to people who are staying home instead.
Take Airbnb, a company that obviously relies on travel. With stay-at-home orders in place, they’ve had to shift their focus to virtual experiences. In the April 9 post below, Airbnb introduces “Airbnb Experiences,” explaining that you can “take a flamenco class with Lidón in Madrid, participate in a tarot card reading with Mak in Austin, or visit a colony of penguins in Cape Town—all from home.”
Look at your recent content that’s already gone out, too. If something seems insensitive or no longer applies, you can delete it. Or if an email slipped out with inappropriate messaging, send an apologetic follow-up to practice damage control.
Be hyper-aware of every piece of content and communication that’s going out. Run it by a second and third set of eyes if you can. Being extra cautious will help you avoid offending anyone.
Tip #4: Get Strategic With Ads and Search
This is also a good time to look at your ad strategy for any opportunities to showcase high-performing content. Those “storytelling” posts you’re creating? Boost them to put them in more of your audience’s newsfeeds. Take advantage of the increase in traffic as more people go online to connect with friends, pass the time and discover new content.
Consider search, too. If you’re running PPC campaigns, add in COVID-19-related search terms to account for new search behavior. Everyday searches like “international travel” and “tax tips” will now include the additional terms “coronavirus” or “COVID,” for instance, as people look for the most up-to-date information on the global pandemic.
A caveat: The trends around COVID-19 search are rapidly evolving. This is not a “set it and forget situation” by any means. Keep yourself up-to-date on the most current search information to be sure your PPC campaigns stay relevant.
Google’s Coronavirus Search Trends page is one useful resource. Check back daily to stay in the know about how COVID-19 is being searched around the globe in different sectors.
As you’re taking care of social distancing, Rallio is here to take care of your social media engagement — with no initial fees. We have many different solutions for all types of businesses to help them navigate the COVID-19 crisis with greater ease. To get started, fill out our online form or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.