With the shop doors closed and businesses on lockdown until further notice, it can be easy to feel completely defeated during these unprecedented times. After all, seeing the initial drop in conversions is, quite frankly, heartbreaking.
But not all hope is lost during Covid-19 as the internet has shown us that people are online more than ever before since quarantine began, with some companies reporting an enormous surge in online sales due to the vast number of people now working from home.
Now more than ever, it’s important for your business to stand out in the crowd, and the one place that’s more important than even your website is social media.
Getting your name out there and your company on the map is arguably the best way to spend your time during social distancing, so we’ve included some handy hints of what you can do to boost your business prospects and keep your brand burned into peoples’ minds (in a good way, I promise).
First and foremost, it’s important to keep your customers in the loop with what’s going on with your business. Think what questions would most likely be asked – a few examples could be:
Once you’ve come up for the answers to these burning questions, you’ll want to find a way to get the message out to customers. Enter, social media!
You can choose to include a slick graphic on your Instagram about the measures your company is taking to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, or you can use free software like Linktree to feature multiple links on your Instagram accounts, bypassing that pesky “one URL” limitation.
|Bonus tip: you can also add a callout to your website to reinforce your message from social media once they reach you, and even direct visitors to a landing page for more information at the click of a button. Something like Sweetnr. To attain this callout for free during Covid-19, see here.|
One of the benefits of all businesses being closed is that everyone will be in the same boat as you – including your competitors. Conduct your own competitor analysis and look into any areas that your company might be missing out on.
It might sound like a lot of work at first, but fear not – you can find handy pieces of kit to do the heavy lifting for you. Online services like Moz and SEMrush are both popular, highly-recommended choices to make life a little easier when you’re researching.
|Pro Tip: SEMrush also includes a Social Media Tracker to keep an eye on not only your post engagement but also your competitors’. Always handy if you fancy a sneaky peak at the opposition!|
Now that you have so much extra time on your hands (and let’s face it – did you really think you’d have that at the beginning of 2020?!), you can afford to spend a little more time paying close attention to your posts and tweaking your schedule to suit you best with the ever-changing news from the media.
But don’t think you ever have to manually post to your Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram every single day! There’s an amazing array of clever social schedulers out there that will do the job of posting for you so that you’re not chained to your desk at home – namely Hootsuite as a great allrounder, or Later specifically for Instagram-fiends looking to make their grid look fly day-in, day-out.
With traditional, high street or retail park businesses now closed for the foreseeable future, it’s time for your e-commerce to flourish! Of course, this is dependent on exactly what your agency sells, but you can always use social media to leverage an advantage over your competitors.
To ensure that you’re covering all bases with your ads, you can now connect your Facebook Merchant Centre to your Google Shopping ads. (If you want to learn more, we found an excellent article with more details here).
Alternatively, hosting regular competitions and offers on your social media will keep momentum going, and the bored browsing folks at home keen and interested!
Businesses like Killstar, a global alternative clothing and lifestyle company, offer competitions every day to win one of their fashion items for free through social media, while others like Nasty Gal highlight a brand new offer every day to keep people checking their phones for new and better deals all the time.
The wild and wonderful world of live-streaming has taken social media communities by storm since the planet went indoors, with the gaming livestream platform Twitch reporting a massive 60% increase in viewership in Italy alone since the lockdown began.
Now, companies are finding more and more ways to reach out to people live from their houses, bedrooms and offices – with live streaming options offered on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok (to name but a few), it’s impossible to avoid and foolish to ignore.
|Pro tip: there’s no point livestreaming just for the sake of it – it will come across as disingenuous and is a surefire way for people to tune out and leave for something more interesting! Make sure you give your viewers a reason to watch – whether it’s entertaining or informative, offer them something new and exciting to grab their attention from the moment they click ‘Play’.|
Every day, businesses are finding new and zany ways to keep people staying tuned with what they’re up to. One of our favourite examples include the Ibiza Rocks Hotel, who have been streaming a live DJ set from their Instagram Stories every night over the past week, as well as featuring their old sets from the likes of Stormzy, Craig David and David Guetta as part of their #Rewind series. Now that’s smart. They have also launched a #savethesummer campaign – designed around encouraging their audience to “stay home now, rave with us later with our late season Ibiza offers for July-September”.
But you don’t have to go all-out if you don’t have the time, energy or resources – not all of us mere mortals can be social media influencers overnight, after all! You just need to be different enough to keep people learning and interested – here are some ideas to start you off:
Keep your business in the limelight, but careful – too much noise, and your social media could come across as spammy and off-putting. Too quiet, and people will lose interest.
The best, and easiest way, is incredibly simple – talk to your followers and fans. Respond to their direct messages, engage with their comments, pop a Like on other businesses’ posts. Whatever you choose to do, it’s all about building a community with your company at the heart. Do what you can to make their social experience a little more human – while we are all so isolated in real life, it’s nice to feel a little bit of human connection from unexpected places.
An excellent example of this in motion is Butternut Box, a London-based start-up set up to provide nutritious meals-on-wheels for hungry pooches all over the UK. Their social media strategy involves an uplifting, personable approach and near-constant engagement with their current customers, using regular user-generated content to promote more likes, more followers and more conversions. It really works. (As an insider tip: dogs definitely help. You’re welcome.)
Another very important thing to remember is that the future could change just as quickly as the past – the outbreak won’t last forever! Promote events to get your followers excited to join you when the quarantine is lifted, or for the following year.
A great example of this is the SummerBreeze music festival hosted every year in Germany, who regularly post new bands that will be featured at the festival on their Facebook page to drive daily engagement and excitement through reshares from attendants.
Alternatively, if you’re not primarily event-led but want to promote a certain special something to get people excited, offer vouchers on your social media to treat your followers and encourage them to redeem their coupon for a special reward once your business is back up-and-running. It might not be a massive money-maker, but a trickle of a revenue stream is still better than throwing your hands in the air and doing nothing!