Social media is now an indispensable part of modern living. It might have been a mere source of communication some years ago, but a lot has changed since then.
During this chaotic time of the pandemic, social media is playing the role of a primary source of information, while also being a vehicle of disinformation and fake news. As outdoor activities are prohibited, people are spending more time on the internet and social media.
These are testing times for people and businesses. While people are looking for information that can help them, brands are in a dilemma on how to market their products within the moral and ethical consideration necessitated by the unprecedented circumstances.
When it comes to a tool as potent as social media, taking responsibility for one’s stance and communication with their target audience becomes a severe concern. Since the COVID 19 crisis is far from wrapping up, it is time for businesses to hone their social media marketing strategy.
The situation created by the pandemic has provided businesses with an opportunity to improve their reputation and branding. The need of the hour is a marketing strategy that isn’t outrightly driven to earn a profit, but is a mix of compassion and sympathy.
Businesses must understand the threats faced by people and make a strategy around allaying people’s concerns. In this blog, we have made a guide for small and medium enterprises to utilize social media during the time of the pandemic to develop a secure and lasting connection with their customers, current and potential.
The role of social media during a crisis
According to Oberlo, 45% of the world population has access to social media. When almost half of the world can use this medium of communication irrespective of their geographical and cultural barriers, it is evident that big businesses with global outreach have a clear advantage.
However, this disadvantage doesn’t leave small and medium-sized enterprises out of the competition. In today’s world, every brand, irrespective of its size, is competing to conquer a small piece of digital real estate in the form of an active social media presence.
As physical shops and stores are closed due to the lockdowns, businesses are finding it hard to meet the breakeven point financially. Here, the significance of an authoritative social media presence increases manifold.
Understand your consumers
When a business invests its time and resources into understanding their target audience, they open the doors of inevitable success. Understanding the amount of time spent on social media, along with the division of channels, makes it easier for a company to modify their marketing strategy.
Apps like Zoom and HouseParty have set a stellar example for other businesses to follow. These apps have experienced unprecedented growth and usage during the period of social distancing. They have helped the users socialize and carry on with their day-to-day business while still maintaining a physical distance.
Talk to your customers
All businesses need to realize the difference between talking with their customers, as opposed to talking to their customers. While the former is a narcissistic approach that only pushes the customer away, the latter is a path that draws them closer to you.
Whether you are a local baker or a niche boutique, you must interact with your audiences on social media in a way that allows them to communicate with each other through your platform.
Empathize with your consumers
Crisis communication has become a lot easier in the wake of the digital era. A single post with an attractive graphic is the basic premise adopted by most businesses. But is that enough during a global crisis?
Brands have repurposed their content to align it with the need of the hour. As people want to know how they can stay safe in the pandemic, any content that provides them with answers is bound to find traction. The brands have realized it and are using it to enhance their reputation as a responsible entity.
In the current situation, many brands and tech-savvy businesses went a step further and have tweaked their logos in an attempt to show relatability and relevance to the consumers in these trying times.
From Nike to Audi, brands have taken the responsibility to help their customers and make them realize that the company cares about them and understands what they are going through.
If you are a small business, you can take help from a professional logo design company to make some changes in your logo that are reflective of your sympathies with the customers.
The changes don’t have to be massive. A small ‘stay at home’ message in your logo will go a long way in establishing you as a compassionate brand.
While this may not lead to an immediate boost in your sales, however, it will help your brand maintain its market share when the economy stabilizes again, and a semblance of normalcy is retained in the consumer patterns.
Be generous to your consumers
While we urge businesses to empathize with their customers, what we are trying to put across is the concept of generosity. Companies need to understand that the customers are financially disabled from their habits of consumption because of the rise in unemployment.
The rising economic liability needs to be understood and addressed. Businesses can offer limited-time discounts on essential household items for their consumers.
Any generous step by the business today will be remembered by the consumers tomorrow and keep them bound to your brand.
Tell your customers that you are always just an interaction away from them. Become active on your platforms, doubly so, to keep your loyal customers around and make target customers convert.
Rapid responses by a business add to the customer experience, which ultimately adds platinum value to the brand. This means that when you answer comments and appreciate feedback, your social media presence becomes a testament to your engagement.
If the customers know that their queries will be answered promptly, they will visit your page, and they are more likely to respond to your calls to action.
The lesson here
The key takeaway from this situation is for businesses to understand that crises are not a marketing opportunity. The pandemic is not the time to capitalize on consumer vulnerability. Instead, this is the time to understand the value of social media communities and interacting with consumers.
This is the time to be helpful to your audience. Answer their concerns and let them know that you understand their distress. The more you endorse your business as an entity that adds value to the lives of the customers, the better your audience will react.
Whether it is taking the assistance of smart graphics, social media influencers, memes, or heartfelt posts, each has its impact. The idea is to take away the worries of your customers and provide them with the answers they are looking for.