Many of our blog posts have focused on reimagining “business as usual,” because business as we know it has changed. So today, we’ve got a quick roundup of some of the tips and tricks we’ve provided during the pandemic — a “Pandemic Greatest Hits,” if you will. Cue it up, put it on repeat and get to work adjusting your social media strategy if you haven’t already.
Track #1: Boost the Right Content
Boosting content gives you the ability to reach more of your followers and their friends than organic reach alone. While you might be familiar with the concept of boosting — or maybe you’ve not yet added it to your social media strategy — you might not know what to boost.
We’ve all seen the constant stream of ads on social media for the newest fashion, kitchen gadgets and skin-care, but local businesses also have the ability to show off their services and products online to their local area. Boosting during COVID was imperative to social media success, but the question became “What do we boost?”
At a time where businesses are struggling and have taken massive hits to their cash flow, boosting for engagement was not what was going to have the biggest impact. We took the time and care to consider what could actually produce an ROI for these hard-working business owners. Services were emphasized as well as updates for reopening or any pivot they had made during this pandemic.
Business owners were able to generate actual leads at a time where their businesses were forced to close, and even those that stayed open were taking big hits. In some cases, we actually saw an uptick in sales for products, and followers started using the new methods of getting their products (curbside pickup, delivery).
Some followers, of course, would automatically assume that they could not go to their favorite local business during this pandemic, but thanks to boosting updates, our clients did not miss out on valuable customers that would have otherwise opted for something else.
Track #2: Update Your Directory Listings
If your business hours have changed during the pandemic, it’s important to communicate that information to your customers. Updating your online directory listings ensures your hours, location and other basic information about your business stays up-to-date so people can find you.
If you adjusted your hours due to COVID-19, for example, maybe now you’re getting back to regular business hours. You would want to not only update your hours across the web, but also tell your followers. With a combined directory listings and social media provider, that’s all handled for you.
With TracPoint's Rallio social media services, you actually can be everywhere at once. You can manage your directory listings and social media from one simple dashboard:
- Your hours, physical address, phone number and other details about your business can be easily updated on over 40 directory listings sites, in just a few clicks.
- Using that same dashboard, you can create a post for all your social platforms about your changed hours — maybe a photo of you as the business owner holding an “Open” sign, with a caption that reads, “We’re back! We have resumed our regular business hours and made a few adjustments in-house to account for social distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection.”
- Another benefit is the ease of maintaining information across platforms. Instead of franchisees having to log in to six or seven different platforms to update their information, they have one simple login and one dashboard to handle it all — streamlining the process and preventing errors.
Boom. You just updated everyone and, at the same time, gave them the confidence they needed to feel safe returning to your establishment.
Track #3: Go Virtual
Having an online component of your business is essential, particularly if you aren’t able to open your doors to crowds at this time. Fitness, education and food are just some of the industries that had to pivot to go online. Whether through virtual classes or online ordering options, having online capabilities is what allowed many businesses to stay afloat.
Many businesses switched to virtual formats to continue offering services amid the pandemic. We’ve seen retailers offering live streaming via Facebook Live and Zoom. Everywhere you turn, businesses are figuring out how to reach their audience in a virtual way.
Many customers have discovered the convenience and safety of staying home while still getting the services they need and want. You may have discovered a whole new line of business by offering virtual services.
How to incorporate virtual formats in your social media strategy:
- Use Facebook Live to offer classes, educational services, how-to tutorials and more. You can also use Zoom in cases where you want to be able to see your customers and vice versa.
- Continue to get creative with your virtual offerings. How about virtual tours, wine tastings, happy hours, shopping events and guest speakers?
- Create Facebook events for your virtual events. Promote them beforehand with your target audience. Your guests will get reminders on the day of the event to join.
Track #4: Incorporate Employee Advocacy
Employees have become brand advocates and influencers, as they snap photos and videos and mention your company on their personal pages. These personal posts have greater reach than brand-created posts. Employee advocacy, therefore, is now an integral part of social media success.
Maybe you’ve been highlighting the great work your employees are doing throughout the pandemic. Or perhaps you had to temporarily lay off employees, and now you’re preparing to welcome them back. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to keep showing gratitude for the people helping to keep your business running — from employees to suppliers.
How to incorporate employee advocacy in your social media strategy:
- Spotlight your employees in social media posts. Tell your followers why they’re so great!
- Empower your employees to share about your business on their personal social media pages. The Rallio platform makes it easy to share brand-approved content through these extended networks.
- Invite employees to submit assets like in-store photos and videos. Again, the Rallio platform simplifies this process.
Track #5: Measure Social Media ROI Correctly
ROI is something every marketer wants, but measuring it is not always easy. The social media buying process looks different than the traditional one, but the point is that there is a buying process. Customers do not always buy from you based on one campaign or social media post alone.
The “track” below is worth reading in its entirety, especially if you are in a position where you have to prove that social media marketing is a worthwhile investment. (Hint: It is.)
To measure your own social ROI, start by considering the different steps in the buying process of a traditional marketing funnel:
We’ve tweaked that traditional funnel a bit for purposes of illustrating the social media buying process:
One caveat to keep in mind at all times: A social media user may find you at any step in their own buying journey. They may become aware of your existence through their friend commenting on your team-member Tuesday post. Or checking out your social content and finding out how well you treat your staff may be the tipping point to get them to buy. We recommend checking out our post, Social ROI and the Marketing Ecosystem, for more details on the non-linear nature of social media purchasing behavior.
Track #6: Post. Local. Content. On. Repeat.
We can’t say it enough. We’re actually sick of the sound of our own voices saying it. So just trust us on this one. Your real, authentic, fun, non-salesy, friendly, personable, relationship-building, community-supporting content will outperform the pants off of boring, salesy, promotional or stock photos. Every. Single. Day.
And when you boost it, as we discuss in track #1, you improve its reach. It’s that simple!
- While many marketers might be pulling back on advertising due to cost concerns, that’s the last thing we’d recommend doing. Between the increase in usage and the reduced CPM/CPC, there’s never been a better time to dedicate dollars toward social media ads.
- Franchisors have a unique opportunity to help their franchisees increase exposure at the local level. Franchisees who post and boost hyper-local content ensure they’re connecting at the local level with their customers.
- Customers want to help their community get back on its feet. When you engage with them and increase your reach with Facebook ads, you increase the likelihood of driving local business.
Track #7: Be a Storyteller, Not a Salesperson
Your social media should paint a picture of your business as a place where people would not only want to spend money, but also get to know the business. The businesses that demonstrate their commitment to their community are the ones that will thrive.
The key takeaway:
No matter what the industry, COVID-19 has affected businesses everywhere, along with the consumers who buy from them. Given the global impact this virus has had, it’s important to adjust your messaging and social media marketing to reflect the current times — whether your business is booming or struggling because of COVID-19.
Instead of a hard sales pitch, it’s about softening your message and looking for ways to be of service. The term “We’re all in this together” has become a rallying cry of people everywhere — from all industries and walks of life.
And actually, this is the perfect time to recognize that the hard sales pitch was never a very effective way to capture your audience’s attention.
Rather than use social media as a blatant promotional tool, think of it as a platform for being authentic, honest and real. Recruit the power of social media to help you tell your story, support your customers and serve your community, and you’ll be met with enthusiasm from your audience.
We know how overwhelming it can be when there are so many different sources of information out there on social media marketing. Hopefully this article gives you some simple, solid starting points. We’re always happy to make the process easier if you want to tap into our expertise.