How can COVID-19 help businesses grow using social media?BY Australian Retailers Association
Coronavirus has forced many of us to move to an agile and remote workforce. We’ve had our social liberties substantially reduced and we are reaching out for human connection and social interaction online at an unprecedented level.
Traditional methods of marketing a brand has been thrust at lightning speed towards digital and social media, including online advertising, landing pages, websites, blogs and e-newsletters.
Taking advantage of any marketing channel that is free during the pandemic, is crucial for many businesses. Smartphones have exploded the popularity of social networks, it’s become easier to promote your brand with very little cost. In fact, in 2019 there were ‘3,986 million unique mobile internet users’ 1 which means that 90% of people using the internet had access to a smart phone allowing communication to be instant and direct.
How do you achieve awareness for your business on social media?
We all know that branding is the driving force behind why consumers choose a business when there are numerous competitors out there. Top of mind recall, known as ‘brand awareness’ can inspire consumers to choose your business over another. Achieving brand awareness in turbulent times can be a lengthy and costly feat in marketing. According to Lean-Labs.com using social media is the ‘smartest way to build the value of your brand in the mind of your audience’ going on to say and use as many social mediums that ‘are free, nearly-free, or really cheap'.
Not only is social media a cost effective and fast alternative to achieve brand awareness, it is also the best medium to communicate in the current environment. Being able to cut through the noise of daily media broadcasts and show that your business is making some sense of the effects of COVID-19 allows your business to educate potential consumers and prime prospects using a digital platform.
One key factor that determines the success of your social media, is to remember that QUALITY far outweighs QUANTITY. The quality of your information and social interaction always determines the level of social activity and engagement that you receive. Your messaging must be clear, supportive and simple, and above all else, remember that you are communicating to people who are time poor, stressed out and in shock about what is happening around them. Any branded content you create must have a purpose and be relevant in the current environment.
Here are few DO's and DON'T’s that ANY business can use to leverage social media:
1. Do maintain your brand across all relevant social media platforms. Ensure your ‘voice’ (spoken, written or recorded) has one unified message and appeals to your audience. It must be consistent and ‘seen’ across all social platforms. Look at what tone of voice you use when you speak or how your message can be communicated that best suits your brand.
DON’T: Create posts using all UPPERCASE lettering to communicate your message, you are literally shouting your message, people do not respond well to this form of communication.
2. Do create simple and clear social media guidelines. Not all businesses can afford to employ a social media manager so the task may fall to business owners and employees. It’s important to have in place a simple and clear guideline to understand what is socially acceptable and what is not appropriate during COVID-19. This is vital for consumers to simultaneously see, hear and read your message as one consistent tone of voice.
DON’T: Boast about how wonderful you are in business it will be viewed as distasteful and inappropriate. Remember that both employees and consumers become pseudo brand ambassadors or customer relationship managers that will help your business build relationships and engage with prospects and the wider community, even if you cant physically socialise with them.
3. Do take advantage of many ‘FREE’ social media features. Many online groups such as Facebook groups are excellent to feature your business in the local and digital community. If you’re not sure how to find these groups, ask your existing customers on which groups they belong too and ask for an invitation. Using extended features such as Chatbots on Facebook Messenger for an instant response to questions builds instant rapport. Using IG TV (Instagram TV) to post videos of continues to build trust. Including verified badges on the social media platforms adds another layer of credibility that people will look for.
DON’T: Create groups with the intention of spamming endlessly or selling anything right now, offering value, relevant advice and helpful hints to serve your consumers will deliver far more credibility and trust to purchase from you in the future.
4. Do think of what you would want to see. Consider deeply what others would be looking for in your social media content. How does your business set itself apart from competitors? How do your products or services differ? Do you deliver your products or services in a particular manner? Are you bringing in outside expertise to collaborate with your consumers? How are you engaging to appeal people’s well being? Is your product or service beneficial right now? – This is what people want.
A great opportunity for business would be to feature an outside expert on one of your social media do a ‘live’ Webinar or Q&A session where consumers can participate and experience educational content. In doing this social media exercise your business can tap into your existing audience, the audience of the expert (known as an influencer) and will create positive associations within your digital community.
DON’T: Continue to post videos and testimonials on how amazing you or your business is or post content that has doomsday written all over. Your content must add value to people and to their lives, and if it doesn’t you’ll quickly be removed from their news feed.
Remember to measure and adapt your social media efforts by looking at where the traffic is coming from on social media. Document and compare the results, looking at how often people are engaging with your posts and at what times of the day? Are some post(s) performing better than others? And what social media channel is working best for your brand?
All this data is vital to helping you understand what your consumers do and don’t want from your business it serve as market research for future marketing exercises. Take into consideration that your statistics will change from week to week as new developments arise through the media globally on COVID-19.
With free, easy-to-use tools on social media channels, it’s even simpler to tweak and measure the effectiveness of your social media efforts. This invaluable data will allow you to streamline and target your branded campaigns on social media more effectively.
These days, engagement online has become vital for businesses to survive, and social media is like the new Yellow Pages - you can’t afford to be out of the loop. Even the Pope uses social media.
Written by Stella Gianotto from Brands For Brands. Click here to find out more.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Australian Retailers Association
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $320 billion sector, which employs more than 1.3 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating, and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.