With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic still impacting small businesses across the country, many are searching for ways to protect the future of their businesses while they’re closed. The PPP loan and other crisis funding may have stabilized finances, but what about business growth? Marketing during a crisis isn’t a straightforward task, which is why many companies are pivoting to social media. That’s where learning how to do social media marketing comes into play—even if your business is closed.
Unlike paid advertising and other marketing methods, the goal of social media marketing isn’t always to land a sale. Instead, social media marketing helps your small business garner a following and raise brand awareness. When the time comes for your business to reopen, you’ll have a larger platform and audience to tell.
Even if your business is closed due to COVID-19, you can still find unique opportunities to promote your business over social media. Here’s what you need to know.about marketing your closed business via social media.
The cornerstone of every small business social media strategy is planning. Normal times call for content related to your business, industry, and other information your followers might find interesting, but when your business is closed for the pandemic, you’ll have to think outside the box. While you may not be able to post the content you have prepared soon, it doesn’t have to go to waste—you can always post it once you’ve reopened.
Rather than blatantly promoting your products/services, you’ll have to learn how to adapt with your social media marketing. However, you won’t have to rewrite the book from the beginning. You can still post:
The last thing you want is for a follower to misinterpret your post and believe you’re currently open for business. To that end, avoid captions that read as if you’re currently open and operational. Deliver the context that customers are looking for—you’re eager to get back to serving the local community.
When you’re learning how to do social media marketing during the pandemic, don’t underestimate the power of user generated content. If followers post pictures of or about your business, include them in your stories! Always ask for permission to avoid issues.
In all of your social media content, be transparent with updates about when you’ll be back in business. The more specific you are, the more proactive customers will be about returning when your doors reopen.
Don’t forget to engage with comments—there are plenty of courses that can help you!
Aside from COVID-19, there are other things happening in our country, cities and communities. As you schedule and post content, be sure not to turn a blind eye to current events.
Because events are unfolding in real time—with tide-changing developments sometimes occurring multiple times a day—reading the room is a must. A post that might have seemed flawless two days ago might not be right depending on what’s going on at the moment. Be especially careful when announcing new promotions or launching campaigns.
As you start developing a social media marketing strategy, remember the content you have scheduled, pay attention to current events, and make any changes as needed.
Also, remember to be empathetic, while still retaining your brand voice.
Now more than ever, you need to show your local community that you’re in business for more than just profit. One way you can market your business during COVID-19 to simultaneously create a deeper connection with followers and help the community is helping local causes.
By donating to a local cause, you’re showing your followers that you value the community and are here to help. Be sure to post about your contribution—highlighting the benefit it will bring, rather than the amount or size. When selecting an organization, keep your followers in mind.
Then, in a later post, challenge your followers to do the same. Provide instructions about ways they can help, and encourage them to search for an organization worthy of their funds. Feel free to share recommendations, as well.
If cash flow issues prevent you from donating money, you’re not out of options—there are other ways you can help.
For example, if you own a restaurant, offer first responders, nurses, grocery store employees, and other frontline workers a free meal once you reopen. If you own a retail store, then donate items that may be able to help the community respond to the pandemic. Real estate businesses can provide free information to those displaced by the pandemic. Dentists can even offer complimentary cleanings to patients that may not have lost health insurance.
Helping the community in any way will give you a more powerful voice and help you create a name for your brand.
Fragola, a baby food company, has the perfect strategy example for marketing during the coronavirus.
Recognizing that many of its customers, mothers, couldn’t afford the food their children need, the owner of Fragola decided to take things into her own hands.
First, she offered to donate baby food to mothers who could no longer afford to buy it themselves. After receiving an overwhelming reaction from followers, she took things a step further. Customers requested to help the cause by paying to donate food.
Now, they’ve sent over 15 thousand containers of baby food to mothers in need across Canada. Through this social media marketing strategy, Fragola has both helped those in need and forged a deeper connection with customers.
After nearly three months spent in quarantine, it’s safe to say that most have developed a new routine. In light of that, you can’t expect your previous ideal posting times to be effective.
Sprout created a helpful guide about when you should post social media content based on when users are active, by platform.
Facebook: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10-11 a.m.
Instagram: Monday, Tuesday and Friday at 11 a.m., and Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Twitter: Friday 7-9 a.m.
LinkedIn: Wednesday at 3 p.m., Thursday from 9-10 a.m., and Friday from 11 a.m.-noon
When you’re doing social media marketing for your small business, you want your messages to be heard by as many people as possible. These guidelines will help you develop a general idea of when you should be posting.
However, your audience might not follow the same pattern. As you go, try a fair amount of experimenting to learn what might work better for your business. For example, B2B companies that want to reach prospects on LinkedIn might not have the same success as B2C businesses on Instagram.
Just because your business is closed doesn’t mean you have hours of free time on your hands.
With National’s social media marketing services, you can get your business the tactful, unique marketing you need while you prepare for reopening.
After a brief conversation about your goals and business, our account managers will get to work telling your stories right away. You can provide input as we go or leave it up to us—it’s entirely your choice!
Get started taking your business in the right direction by applying now!
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Matt Carrigan is the Content Writer at National Business Capital & Services. He loves spending every day creating content to educate business owners across every industry about business growth strategies, and how they can access the funding they need!