No matter what business or industry you’re in, we’re living and working in an unprecedented time and trying to adapt accordingly. Due to stay-at-home orders, many people have turned to the online world to get their information. According to preliminary data, total internet usage in the U.S. has increased by 50-70%. Now is a good time to ramp up your social media marketing efforts to stay engaged with your audience, as they rapidly change course.
Now more than ever, your customers are relying on your digital presence to stay connected, learn about changes to business operations and understand what solutions can solve their problems.
As marketers, remembering the context of our marketing efforts is always crucial. During this turbulent time, it’s important to take a step back from your scheduled marketing program and adjust your approach so that it’s relevant to what’s happening in the world. Here are 5 tips for adjusting your business’s social media presence during COVID-19 including some real-world examples.
#1: Adjust Your Social Media Strategy
The challenge to you is to understand who can benefit from your service offerings and in what way during COVID-19, and adjust your planned content and marketing strategy to that end.
To best respond to this situation, take stock of what best resonates with your audience. Do this by taking an audit of your planned marketing campaigns to determine if they are relevant to your market’s current needs at this difficult time.
For example, we pivoted the marketing strategy for a full-service industrial automation company. Instead of focusing their digital marketing efforts on machine building for new sales, we focused on a more appropriate service offering during this time – remote factory access and support. Having remote factory access at a manufacturing plant ensures uninterrupted production, a challenge many manufacturing businesses may be dealing with while field services are not allowed.
#2: Communicate Changes in Business Operations
Use your digital marketing channels to keep your customers informed. For example, are you planning on limiting the number of people who can visit your brick-and-mortar as businesses reopen? Have your business hours changed? And, how are you changing your business practices and protocols in response to COVID-19 to keep customers and employees safe? All of this information is important. Not only does it keep people updated, but it also assures your customers and employees that you are committed to their safety and well-being.
Here is an example of using social media to effectively communicate healthcare practice changes for a medical group in Connecticut. We created this social message to inform patients of the new TeleHealth appointment offering and pinned it to the top of their social media channels, so it is the first message seen.
#3: Be Sensitive and Empathetic
COVID-19 has affected people on a personal and professional level, making it exceptionally important to lead with care and understanding. This may mean stepping back from your programmatic approach to support a previously planned marketing campaign and re-evaluating the timeliness, tone and appropriateness of your messaging.
To connect to patients and the community, we worked with many healthcare organizations on COVID 19 social messaging. For an OBGYN practice in Connecticut, we created a social media strategy that maintained the practice brand image while incorporating uplifting, informative and helpful content that related to visitors’ lives and problems.
Continuing a strong social presence will increase your brand awareness and position you as a credible, helpful and caring provider while maintaining your online engagement.
#4: Highlight Your Appreciation
How you treat your employees during COVID-19 shows a lot about your core values as a company.
You can highlight the human side of your brand, by showing your sincere appreciation for your employees, customers, and just about anyone that is going through this pandemic and making sacrifices. For our Global Mobility client, since they are an employee-owned company, we created content that boasts employee appreciation which worked to build loyalty among staff and also deliver the “feel good” appeal that people need right now.
Adweek states, “Despite a devastating cost to brands, media and small businesses, this crisis has the potential to propel us forward as more human marketers.” It’s important not to take this time to be opportunistic, rather empathetic.
#5: Remain As Helpful As Possible
As you know, the foundation of the inbound marketing methodology is focused on being helpful.. And right now, this methodology is more important than ever. How can your brand help others during COVID-19?
Some brands with large social communities are using this as an opportunity to inform others by posting fact-based COVID-19 related content.
As far as your industry goes, think of what relevant information you can share that will be the most impactful. Our international cleaning tool supplier client focused on helping the members of their community, by posting information from the CDC.
This is a great example of how to create relevant content that is helpful. It’s important to remain selfless and show your audience that you care and are not just looking for a sale.
While it may not be appropriate to promote certain products or services during this period, it is still important to get in front of your audience, maintain brand awareness and help
Just like many things in life, timing is everything. Now is NOT a time to sell, but rather it is a great time to stand out in the crowd by evaluating your content strategy to empathize, inform and engage your audience in an authentic way. Brands that do not adjust their marketing strategy during COVID-19 will come off as tone-deaf or indifferent.
Want to discuss how a digital marketing and social media program can elevate your brand and business during and after COVID-19? Our inbound marketing specialists can help.
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