As a social media company, Rallio has worked with businesses in all different industries to help them pivot during the pandemic and find social media success. Whether they were offering virtual classes, curbside pickup or restaurant takeout, we’ve been able to help spread the word about any changes to the usual course of business.
It’s not just our clients pivoting, of course. Around the world, businesses have had to adjust to current times as they navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Those that acted quickly and implemented changes have survived and thrived in many cases.
Yet all of these changes don’t mean much if your customers don’t know about them. Social media has become more important than ever as a means of communicating, staying in touch and building relationships with customers.
To get some insight on the factors that contribute to our clients’ success despite the COVID-19 crisis, we chatted with two of our brand managers here at Rallio, Anton Emmerton and Summer Garschina. The Rallio Local team continues to assist clients in pivoting, keeping their social media pages fresh and managing their online presence.
How were your clients initially impacted by the pandemic?
Anton: Since we work with such a wide variety of brands, each of them was impacted differently. Some businesses were forced to close while others remained open as essential businesses. Even those that were deemed essential businesses were still impacted due to the traditional in-store shopping experience changing so drastically overnight. Foot traffic slowed down, so options like curbside pickup and delivery were emphasized to help sales.
Summer: One fitness brand we work with was unfortunately closed during the pandemic, but they saw the power of social media and continued to post and grow engagement. Our printer clients are considered an essential business and saw a need for home office printers and delivery drivers to drop-ship cartridges. Our laboratory testing client was impacted in the best possible way because they were able to come out with a new test in high demand for COVID-19 antibodies.
What were some of the ways Rallio Local helped them to pivot and find social media success?
Anton: Rallio Local has the responsibility of not only managing online profiles, but also providing business with insight and expertise on how to navigate this space in a time of crisis. We offered content ideas to all our clients as well as contingency plans so they knew exactly what to do if anything were to happen to their business. With some businesses not able to operate how they normally would, we were able to help them pivot their business model so they could maintain their clients and even grow their customer base by offering new services or new methods of delivering those services or products to their dedicated customers.
Summer: Rallio Local continued to post locally for brands to keep them on social media, where most people spent their days scrolling during the quarantine. We hosted webinars to show the significance of social media during these times, the current digital marketing trends, how to respond to a new climate, and how to pivot their local social media marketing strategies.
How did social media help clients maintain or grow their business?
Anton: The value of social media became so clear to clients when their traditional forms of outreach and communication with their community was no longer effective. Through the constant updates and advertising opportunities on social media, our clients were able to make their followers and community aware of services that they may have not known of before. We ran ads to push these services specifically to their local areas so that the business could continue to grow and keep the loyal customers that they had pre-pandemic.
Summer: Social media helped our clients more than ever during the pandemic because they were able to get information out to their customers and clients here. During a time where everything was basically closed down, people began to use social media as their go-to for everything, whether it was closure notices, positive stories, new products, how-tos, and recent reopening information.
What did Rallio Local do to help manage clients’ online reputation and customer service — i.e., via online reviews, direct messages, and social media comments and questions?
Anton: At a time where screentime is at an all-time high, there’s no better reassurance to a client than having someone specifically dedicated to monitoring their pages and managing their reputation. Direct messages came flooding in with questions regarding whether our clients were open, what their new hours were, and what precautions they were taking to ensure the safety of their customers. We were able to align quickly with all the franchisees and corporate teams to make sure that these questions were answered in a timely manner with brand approved messaging.
When it came to reviews, we were able to respond to all reviews within 24 business hours and address any concerns their clients had with the necessary and accurate information. In a time of crisis, it is crucial that all voices are heard and acknowledged and as a customer, there’s no better place to express your concerns than through listings platforms and social media pages.
Summer: Rallio Local helped manage our clients’ customer service tremendously by staying on top of daily direct messages, comments and reviews. There was an overwhelming number of customers going to these platforms with questions regarding what they should do next, how to get in contact, hourly changes and much more. Our Rallio Local team makes these questions and comments one of their daily priorities and won’t end their workday until they’re accounted for and answered.
What about their change of hours and temporary closures — how did we help with that?
Anton: With new regulations and orders coming into play each day, we were able to stay on top of updating store hours and temporary closures to a plethora of online listings platforms like Yelp, Google My Business and Facebook through our directory listings management.
Every day, we wake up to a different world, and business owners already have so much on their plate when it comes to in-store operations and their day-to-day. We know how important it is to keep your customers in the loop on changes, and we are proud to say that we could update store hours easily and efficiently to make sure their presence stayed consistent online.
Summer: At the very beginning of the pandemic, this was our main focus. We had client locations with closures and hours changing by the second. We made sure to post for each location on what exactly was happening for their specific store. A rollercoaster of changes, but Rallio Local held strong and made sure to get the job done for each of our clients.
What impact did boosting have on clients’ social media success overall?
Anton: We’ve all seen the constant stream of ads on social media for the newest fashion, kitchen gadgets and skin-care, but local businesses also have the ability to show off their services and products online to their local area. Boosting during COVID was imperative to social media success, but the question became “What do we boost?”
At a time where businesses are struggling and have taken massive hits to their cash flow, boosting for engagement was not what was going to have the biggest impact. We took the time and care to consider what could actually produce an ROI for these hard-working business owners. Services were emphasized as well as updates for reopening or any pivot they had made during this pandemic.
Business owners were able to generate actual leads at a time where their businesses were forced to close, and even those that stayed open were taking big hits. In some cases, we actually saw an uptick in sales for products, and followers started using the new methods of getting their products (curbside pickup, delivery).
Some followers, of course, would automatically assume that they could not go to their favorite local business during this pandemic, but thanks to boosting updates, our clients did not miss out on valuable customers that would have otherwise opted for something else.
Summer: Boosting for our Rallio Local clients helped with getting their content out to more than just their followers. We were able to set up specific mile radiuses on posts in order to get the word out to people who may not even follow their page. This was a huge benefit for all of our clients, because it not only expanded the brand, but it also helped maintain high reach and engagement on content.
For those businesses that pivoted, what are some of the permanent changes they’ll be keeping?
Anton: Tutors can now teach online via Zoom video chats; auto and tire shops can now drive out to customers’ homes to perform routine maintenance; stores can offer curbside pickup or delivery services so that their customers still get what they need from the store they love. The possibilities really are endless.
Not only did these changes help them maintain their business, but it also opened up a completely different avenue for generating revenue for a lot of business owners. It also emphasized the dedication these businesses have for their local communities.
Summer: Our laboratory testing client has a new COVID antibodies and viral test that will permanently be in their labs in order to test anyone for the virus. Our printer client now offers to print menus for restaurants due to the new regulations on disposable menus. Our fitness brand started a livestream for home workouts that will continue to be a feature on their social media.
What’s one key takeaway you could mention regarding social media as it relates to the pandemic?
Anton: This is a really hard one, because there’s so much to take away. My biggest takeaway is that social media is not just a place to advertise your products/services or share photos and videos with your friends; it is becoming increasingly clear that this is now how we communicate.
Do not stop talking on social media. As soon as you stop communicating with your local community on your social profiles, they forget you exist and they forget that you care. I encourage more businesses that don’t see the value in social media to take a look at how it has affected our culture in the last three months. We have only scratched the surface of what is capable with these platforms, and you need the help of others to navigate this space.
Summer: A key takeaway of mine is, no matter your brand, create memorable and engaging moments for your clients. Everyone is looking for something to relate to online, especially during these times. So us as a Rallio Local team are the ones to help build these relationships and help grow the brands we partner with.
We’re continuing to help many brands pivot and make the most of their social media presence during the pandemic and beyond. Be sure to check out all our service lines over at rallio.com and schedule a demo with us by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org.