As a small business owner, the chances are that you have been affected by the coronavirus.
Though some industries are booming – particularly those in ecommerce, healthcare, and groceries – others are feeling the pinch, having to furlough or permanently lay-off their staff.
We cannot advise you on the best strategy for your business, but we can give you one piece of advice: you cannot stop marketing your business right now, even if you’re not selling your products and services at this time.
If you go quiet when there are more consumers on social media than ever before, you risk making your brand irrelevant in a post-crisis landscape.
But what should you post about, and how can you post sensitively?
We’ve rounded up some tips and tricks to ensure your social media channels stay healthy during the pandemic.
Talk about how you’re adapting
If your business goes quiet on social media during the coronavirus pandemic, the chances are that your followers will assume you’ve shut up shop, and look to one of your competitors instead.
Let them know what you’re doing to adapt in these challenging times, whether that is remote working, offering free home delivery, or running Zoom conference calls with clients.
The more open and transparent you are about what challenges your business is facing and the ways you’re going to overcome them, the more likely you are to attract support from your followers – and indeed be the first company they think of when they’re ready to buy.
Share relevant products and services
Nobody is in the market for suitcases or inflatable flamingos right now, but they are in the market for products that will help them keep the kids entertained at home, and work from home productively.
Identify products and services that you want to push during the crisis and make those your key focus, encouraging people to find out more or buy from your store.
Many businesses are adapting and introducing new products and services, such as bundles or hampers.
The major supermarkets have introduced their own food delivery boxes which run independently from their home delivery service, allowing them to get essential supplies to vulnerable customers. Heinz even launched their own “essentials” sauce delivery boxes!
Though innovating and diversifying to serve customer demand is important, you should also balance your promotions with informative content.
If you’re all guns blazing with offers, your brand may come across as insensitive and customers may say you’re profiteering from a crisis.
Be socially responsible and sensitive; balance posts and keep everything useful.
Show off your human side
We hate to quote High School Musical (who are we kidding… we love to quote High School Musical), but we’re all in this together.
None of us have dealt with a global crisis on this scale before, and that means our usual business practices can go out of the window.
It’s okay to let followers know that you’re struggling or that their deliveries will be late, and it’s also okay to pull back the curtain and let people see your human side and ask questions if you need a hand.
In fact, doing so removes the barriers and makes your brand more likable.
Whether you’re asking for advice on the right teleconferencing software or you’re showing off your doggies in the living room, take some fun pictures and break down the walls on social.
Speaking of being human – have some fun.
Share viral videos, go off-topic, and keep your followers entertained. Not everything you post needs to be related to your business or niche.
Offer advice and support
As we’ve already pointed out, being overly promotional during these challenging times will only work against you, so offering free advice and support is highly recommended.
We all have knowledge that we can share with the world, whether it’s on dog grooming or dieting.
Mix your promotional and non-promotional content and try to be a resource that people can turn to during these crazy times.
With so many businesses closed, sharing a video or tutorial can empower your customers to try something new and position you as an authority – and have confidence that, even if you “give away all of your secrets,” customers will come back.
Even McDonald’s and Greggs have offered recipes for their signature Big Macs and sausage rolls!
Industry news and advice
Finally, make sure you’re keeping on top of the latest news and developments in your industry and share the most important ones with your followers.
Accountants should be updating their clients following daily government briefings, builders should be sharing developments in the new-build sector and advice on working safely at a distance to give their customers confidence that projects can resume shortly.
The more engaged and up-to-date your content is, the more people will see you as a leader and an expert in your field.
We recommend following industry blogs and associations on Twitter and turning on notifications so that you can be up-to-date on anything new.
And the same goes for news alerts; if you’re the first to break a news story, you might attract new followers and clients.
How are you changing your social media strategy during the coronavirus pandemic? Join in the conversation over on Twitter using @99socialUK – we’d love to hear from you.