Marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic can definitely feel a little weird. I’m sure you’ve seen the social media posts that are not working.
We’re still seeing ones promoting events or telling customers COME SEE US (Hello? Social-distancing anyone?). The posts yelling at you to buy their product hardly acknowledge these times we’re enduring.
Even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic, it is absolutely a great time to ramp up your social media marketing strategy, and it can work in your favor, especially as a small business or startup. Does that sound odd? Hear me out first.
You need to stay informed. Stay true to facts. You probably don’t want to get too political on your business page. Be sure you’re sensitive to what’s going on. Everybody is dealing with this. When you continue to post on social media or send out emails that don’t speak about the pandemic, it’s a little strange.
Target the tons of people online right now. People are glued to their phones. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with and build up your audience. Check in with them regularly. Address how they are feeling. Use vivid stories and videos when posting on social media and plan on going live. You want to show potential customers you are in this for the duration.
Focus on more meaningful connections. There is no better time than now to build strong relationships with your followers online. I think we can move past the “this is what we’re doing for COVID-19” general statements. We know you’re following protocol. Let’s get deeper. What are your customers’ pain points? What are their challenges, and more importantly, how can you help them? Keep building these deep connections to your customer base so they’ll keep you going or return once this is all over.
Decide on the tone you plan to take and stick to it. Stay true to your brand. If your brand is sarcastic, you can keep that tone. If your brand is a public service, be sure to keep your customers up to date as information changes. If you provide a regular service, change your message to include COVID-19. For instance, if you’re a car shop, maybe talk about tips to disinfect your car or how to check your car’s air filter. If you’re a gym owner or personal trainer, share ideas on how to stay fit, conduct live workouts, or offer tips for healthy meal plans based on limited groceries.
DO NOT AUTO SCHEDULE! If you must, keep it to only a few days out and continue to monitor your message. I saw posts on St. Patrick’s Day about parties that had already been canceled. It starts to look insensitive. Because a pandemic can change hourly, your messaging will should change and reflect new conditions as well.
Think about other ways you can make money. We all need to think outside the box. Business, as usual, is not an option. Do you need to include delivery? Should you move to online ordering? Maybe it’s time for you to offer online virtual appointments or one-on-one videos. It’s an excellent time to build your email list. Get those long-term fans that you can keep building a relationship with who will spend money with you once they have it again.
It is scary to be a small business owner right now. Things were normal not even a month ago. Now jobs are gone, people are home, and the future is unknown.
Remember, people buy with their hearts. Yes, the economy is changing, and things are going to be different. It won’t be forever. There is a huge opportunity right now to build relationships, don’t let it pass you by. With the uncertainty comes uncharted territory. The rules are changing. Don’t get scared, lean into the change.
Jen McKee founded Kee Hart Marketing, a social media marketing firm. To reach out, connect to Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram @keehartmarketing
Featured image is of Scrabble word tiles spelling out “it is marketing.” Photo on Visualhunt.com.