The COVID-19 outbreak is impacting consumer behavior in a big way. A recent study conducted by Numerator reported a staggering 59 percent of consumers have altered their purchasing behavior as travel restrictions, school closures and the need for physical distancing have affected communities across the country.
As a result, it’s more important than ever for small business owners to locate opportunities that will help them establish personalized and enduring relationships with their audiences from a safe range.
Here are three bullet-proof strategies for managing effective social media communications during the pandemic:
Adjust your messaging and consistently post
It’s tough to know what’s coming, so you need to keep a close eye on your posts. The messages that worked yesterday might not work today. Be sensitive in your posts and don’t be afraid to inject a little humor into your followers’ lives. At Web Strategy Plus, our proven matra is especially poignant right now: Teach me, inspire me, make me laugh and I’ll remember you when it’s time to buy.
Make sure to keep your audiences informed of the latest news about your business and emphasize how they can assist you throughout these times with business activities, such as shopping online with a promotional sale, curb-side delivery and any extra precautions you’re taking to keep your customers and staff safe. One tactic we’ve had great success with is to increase messaging about buying gift cards, especially if you’ve had to lay off workers. Not only can this income help keep your business afloat right now, but donating 20 percent of sales to your employees helps garner goodwill.
If your business has shut down, now is the time to reassure your customers that you’ll be here for them during the crisis, and ready to welcome them back when you re-open.
Develop brand awareness with your online audience
With more consumers at home, we’re seeing a large spike in online browsing. The impact of this is already being felt by many companies, including Verizon, who just announced a 20 percent week-over-week boost in web traffic. For your social advertising, with additional impressions and changes in competition, your CPM will by all appearances diminish—which provides an ideal opportunity to seize more reach from your budget on Facebook and Instagram, specifically.
Remain steady and take advantage of the time
Now is a great time to rebuild or tweak your business’s website, and for franchisees to start a website separate from the corporate site. This will dramatically improve your SEO results, which will translate into increased business.
For your social ads, now is the time to try out a new ad creative on a range of audiences to collect information that will make your subsequent postings more successful. Think about developing a new ad set instead of updating a current one so that you can better understand the actual results. For new ad creative, you’ll need to test against a previously high-converting ad. Doing so allows you to compare the results directly to an ad that has performed well for your business, saving you time when reviewing results.
Facebook recently cautioned advertisers that because of recent staffing changes there will probably be some backlog and errors as they grow their dependence on automated systems to review new ads and commerce listings. In other words, when new ads are submitted or edited they will go through a new review policy. In order to prevent interference with an ad, increase the delivery period of your highest performing ads, as new campaigns will undergo a new review.
Here are several things you can try testing:
- Audience targeting, demographic, interest-related or custom audiences.
- Ad copy, including headlines and CTAs.
- Landing pages, including copy, design and messaging.
There’s a positive and supportive approach your business can take to become creative in a world of physical distancing, so capitalize on this opportunity to get creative and discover new avenues of growing your reach via social media.