During all natural disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, and now the COVID-19 virus) the masses lean into Facebook and digital media. Having a short-term plan is imperative to properly communicate with your customers, keeping them safe, and enhancing your relationship with them.
Social media managers have an important role to play in keeping businesses afloat during these turbulent times. This pandemic means less in-store customers for small local businesses. On the upside, the flock towards social media lends us an opportunity to capture people’s attention on a larger scale via digital platforms.
- Implement an ad hoc Facebook Marketing strategy to plan for the best and worse cases. Discuss with your employees and social media manager what IS and IS NOT appropriate for your business to discuss and post. Everyone needs to be on the same page, and know-how involved your business wants to be.
- Plan the tone and tenor of your posts for the days ahead. It’s equally important to plan for worst-case-scenario posts as it is the best-day scenario. Eventually, people will be looking for a positive reprieve from the mayhem posts. Make sure you have that content ready for them, and that you time your upswing posts appropriately. What will the tone and tenor of your posts be if this pandemic gets worse? What will your tone be when it gets better?
- Update your business’s Facebook Page and hours of operation. Facebook’s recent redesign makes it especially important to have the about section updated, which is now highlighted above the posts section. Update your Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor listings and hours.
- Revisit any planned content that may be insensitive to the current status (i.e. posting about Spring Break or St. Patricks day or a packed bar or restaurant).
- Inform your followers about what safety measures you are taking. It might seem obvious but people do want to know that you are calm and proactive in taking measures to keep them safe. It instills trust with clients/patients and reassures them that you are on top of your game. In addition, taking preemptive measures, like encouraging staff to wear gloves, could protect against bad press and bad Yelp reviews down the line.
- Initiate special offers and/or limited-time offerings instead of trying to force people to come to you (i.e. free local delivery, discounted to-go orders, etc). Consider if your brand can offer a temporary pickup or delivery service (Uber Eats, DoorDash, etc.) to make your products or services easier for customers to access. Put the customer first.
- Show behind-the-scenes footage with Facebook Lives, Instagram TV Videos, or recently recorded videos. People will be looking for real-life social media. They love to see the happy healthy faces of people visiting your business or venue, or the steps you’re taking to protect them in real time. Giving them a unique perspective will help you stand out on social media.
- Take early marketing measures. We are unsure how long the Corona Virus will impact businesses. Some economists are predicting that the Corona Virus could have year-long impacts. Don’t wait for business to come to a halt to take action. Start your Facebook or Google Ads now, on a small budget, and allow yourself and your ad manager time to get acquainted with your processes before you need to ramp up your ad spend.
- Revisit your ad budget to see if funds can be reallocated from billboard and print marketing to digital marketing. Print marketing is already 3-12 times more costly than digital marketing. If there was ever a great opportunity to redistribute those marketing funds, this would be it.
- Ramp up your e-commerce marketing. The next few days and upcoming weeks will be a prime time to capture your buyers online. Now is the time to initiate retargeting ads going back to visitors from the last 180 days, and launch new product campaigns.
As a social and digital media management agency, our advice is to be proactive about your digital presence. Taking these measures early will help your business prepare internally as well. For assistance with your digital media marketing contact Ashley@theshiftmarketing.com.