During the COVID-19 global pandemic many businesses have had to close their doors to their customers.
While they scramble to find other ways to sell their goods and services to their customers.
Some were fortunate to have established an online presence for their business.
Others who had not made such an investment are now desperately trying to create their online presence while having to deal with the financial challenges caused by the pandemic.
Traditional strategies such as print marketing are no longer valid––nobody is going out to see them.
Social media provides many advantages such as; building customer loyalty and driving traffic to your website while other means of marketing your business may no longer be viable during such times of crisis.
Here we share other reasons social media is the best method for engaging your customers right now.
- Increasing Social Media Users
- Build Bridges to Customers
- Encourage Customer Loyalty
- Social Media isn’t Expensive
- Advertising Opportunities
- Customer Service
Increasing Social Media Users
Brands have been aware for a while the importance of being where their customers are—and those customers are increasingly on social media.
Due to being free to use—aside from financial investments in advertising—it has become a lucrative form of communication for businesses across the board.
Many online users are utilizing social channels to keep in touch with the news, find entertainment, or educate themselves.
You may think that having a social channel is enough but businesses also need to be active on as many platforms as possible.
If you have older accounts now is the time to revive them or create profiles on new channels like Snapchat and TikTok—which are popular among younger audiences.
It is important that businesses plan out the type of content to be created—it is best to share updates about what is happening internally.
By creating content such as a timeline infographic about how and when your business can reopen, and under what conditions you will position yourself as a thought leader.
Use your social media platforms to discuss the changes impacting how your business is functioning, and how your customers will be affected.
Communication should be bidirectional—discover what customers are looking for. How can businesses solve these problems?
You can use fillable forms to collect information and analyze it.
Businesses should take a look at how their target audience is utilizing these platforms so the content they design will appeal to their customers and engage with the brand.
Build Bridges to Customers
While it is true social media platforms are used by individuals, professionals, and businesses, it is important to realize these channels were created for personal communication.
Businesses have entered the space—and largely behaved themselves in it—but at the end of the day, there is a personal level to these channels that cannot be forgotten.
Businesses have entered the space but at the end of the day, we have to recognize that there is a personal level to these channels.
We do not want to alter the customer experience on social media from what it is, particularly during a crisis such as the one we are dealing with now.
People are using social media to maintain contact with family and friends whom they can no longer visit—it is important that you respect this and not intrude in this area.
While businesses are still trying to use social media to sell their products and services—while they are closed—they should be mindful of how they achieve their sales.
Now is the time to build bridges to your customers—not only will this provide comfort to your customers knowing the business they support is looking out for them, but it will generate more business.
Rather than publish content focused on sales, businesses should create content such as updated news on the global situation, share their experiences, and ask for opinions and feedback.
The more engaged your customers feel with your business the more likely they will be to honor commitments to buy items or services from your company. The authenticity you demonstrate through the social media content you create will help ensure the effectiveness of the leads you generate and create an environment of trust.
Encourage Customer Loyalty
If your business hasn’t had to rely solely on online methods of communicating with your customers, then you will find that encouraging customer loyalty can be difficult.
If you don’t create content and post regularly you will likely be missed, and even forgotten. It is important to strike a balance with the frequency of your posts. Posting too frequently will come across as spammy, causing users to unfollow you.
There is a delicate balance to achieve in this regards, but if you can do it, the rewards are immense. The best times to post are when your customers are active—during the mornings before they head to work, lunch time, and once the workday ends.
Normally these are the times people engage in social media and look through their feeds—actively seeking distractions.
While these are the best times to reach customers, it can be a challenge to post during what are essentially off-work times for social media teams.
This is where we can use social media tools to schedule our posts—the content can be written in advance and uploaded to the tool for publication when your content will reach the largest audience.
Creating brand loyalty is more than simply posting at the right times—you need to use the right tone of voice when “speaking” to customers online.
Empathy and compassion should be the goal of all your communications—whether they be on social media or elsewhere.
Take time to consider what is happening in the world and recognize that now is not the time for memes or GIFS. We should use a more somber tone to reflect current events.
As customers acclimate themselves to the situation, brands should relax the tone they use—but continue to monitor how your customers are responding before posting new content.
Social Media Isn’t Expensive
Social media is a popular method of communication for brands because it is generally free to use.
Businesses can post content without payment, employees can participate in groups to network with experts in the field, and reach their audiences organically.
Because of the enormous surge of posts and accounts, most social channels have instituted algorithms that make it difficult to reach everyone that follows you.
Organic reach diminishes every year, to continue making the biggest impact on social platforms, paid promotions have become the best option for marketers.
While initially paying for posts may not seems feasible to a small business—when compared to print, television, or Google ads, social media is much less expensive.
Google ads requires and investment of anywhere between $5-$50 to sponsor ads, by boosting your social media posts you can bring in more views with just $1.
Boosting posts can have a cascading effect. Social media is shareable, which means a post can be liked and shared by one person who may have a large following and thus cause it to be seen by many more.
The same thing cannot be said of Google ads, or for content created for print and television.
Versus other media in within the advertising sphere social media channels are much more cost-effective. While faced with the current crisis, many businesses are having to cut costs, making advertising spending seem like a luxury.
Social media still offers numerous advantages—you can precisely target your audience, improving overall your chances that your content will be seen and acted upon.
For social media ads, you can choose demographics, interests, pages your audience visits, as well as the time and days they are most often online.
The customization afforded by social ads cannot be easily replicated on other platforms.
The analytics on ads is unparalleled—we can learn so much about the audience and how to improve the next phase of the campaign.
Allowing small businesses to scale up their advertising to achieve better results in succeeding campaigns.
Plus, social media ads give businesses the option to re-target their customers—an important tool for converting one-time purchasers into loyal customers.
Small businesses can use campaign analytics and examine website conversions to find customers who would be more open to purchasing from them again.
Not only does this improve brand recall, but it helps establish a loyal customer base that will aid in growing your business.
Customer service has always been a core element of brand building and relationship management for business to consumer companies. And social media has been a powerful tool in that regard.
Now, with more people spending time online, social media has become one of the primary ways to address customer issues.
Not only can customers reach out to brands via replies and comments on social channels, but brands can respond to queries instantaneously via messenger chats.
This mitigates the need for 24-hour customer service agents—an expense that small businesses would not be able to handle on a regular basis.
Social media chatbots can be programmed with stock replies but some of them are much more sophisticated, equipped to handle even the most complex of queries.
With advances in machine learning AI, chatbots can now learn from every customer interaction and even mimic real responses—humanizing the brand to boost customer satisfaction.
This technology still has some limitations, so customer service representatives will be required at a certain point.
But even in such circumstances, it is massively helpful for companies to stay engaged with their customers through social media chats.
Social media is an important customer engagement tool in a businesses’ arsenal.
As more people are spending time on these platforms, these platforms become an ideal mode of communication for brands.
Their cost-effectiveness and the variety of methods offered for reaching audiences makes social media the best option for boosting brand awareness and customer loyalty during times of crises and beyond.