How to Leverage Social Media While Reopening Your Business
Across the nation, small businesses are beginning to reopen. But just because the doors are open doesn’t mean your customers will know to stop by in-person.
That’s why it’s so important to reach your customers where they are—social media.
Why Social Media and Why Now?
As a result of COVID-19, more people are staying at home and seeking connection through the digital world. According to the analytics platform, App Annie, Android and iOS users spent 20% more time on all apps (including social media) in Q1 of 2020 than Q1 of 2019.
That means your customers aren’t gone, they’re just online. And they’re paying more attention to your social media presence now more than ever.
According to social media management company, Sprout, users are engaging with businesses through social media more than ever because of COVID-19. In fact, just between March 2020 and April 2020, the average engagements across all channels increased by 44 engagements per day. And every digital engagement on social media is an opportunity for your brick-and-mortar small business.
How to Use Social Media for Business Reopenings
By leveraging your business’s social media strategy, you’ll increase visibility, make deeper connections with your customers, and strengthen your reopened business. This guide will take you through eight social media marketing strategies essential to reopening your local business.
1. Fine-Tune Your Messaging
During times of crisis, tone and voice are vital to the success of any business. Before launching a social media campaign to announce your reopening, take some time to carefully craft a consistent voice and message for your marketing strategy.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce interviewed nine business and communications experts on what business messaging should look like during the coronavirus. These experts honed in on a few recommendations in business messaging:
- Stay Relevant – The effects of COVID-19 have touched almost every aspect of daily life. Your content should be mindful of the “new normal” your consumers are experiencing. That means Instagram pictures of a crowded restaurant or a packed yoga class no longer apply. Keep your content relevant and your users will engage authentically, online and in person.
- Be Empathetic – Your customers might be going through one of the worst experiences of their lives. As they scroll through their social media activity, they're looking for comfort, distraction, and connection—not another advertisement. That’s why social media for business should keep salesy language to a bare minimum. Make sure your content speaks to your company’s values as members of the community.
- Offer Solutions – Frame your business offerings as a solution to the unique challenges of a COVID-19-effected world. For example, some users might miss eating out but still want to stay within social distancing guidelines. These users will be excited to learn how you’ve changed the layout of your restaurant for your customers’ safety.
2. Do Make Connections, Don’t Advertise
A study conducted by the American Association of Advertisers found that 96% of consumers don’t trust advertisements. That applies especially in times of crisis, when an obvious sales pitch in your marketing messaging may come across as tone-deaf or disrespectful.
Instead, use your social platform to speak from the heart and acknowledge what your customers are going through. Then, when you offer products and services they can benefit from, you will come across as a trusted local resource for the community.
3. Update Your Social Media Pages Wisely
Once you’ve sketched out your content voice and messaging, it’s time to start updating each social media profile to let your customers know you’re open for business. Here are the most important things your customers will want to know:
- Hours – Make sure your updated (or returned to normal) hours are front and center across all of your pages. If you’re offering special hours for seniors or populations vulnerable to COVID-19, post that information prominently as well.
- Health Precautions – Health-conscious protocols will be one of the first things customers will look for as they return to local businesses. Be sure to post details about your safety protocols to keep customers and employees healthy on each social media channel. This will send a clear message to your customers that you’re looking out for their health and safety.
- New Business Operations – If your business has changed operations (e.g., if you’re only offering curbside pickup), you need to let your customers know so they’re not surprised when they show up. Some operational changes worth notifying customers includes: only accepting contactless payment, requiring masks, and needing reservations.
- Augmented Service Offerings – Be clear to your customers about what’s new and what has stayed the same in your business as a result of COVID-19. By spotlighting your new offerings or clarifying what’s no longer available, you’ll skillfully manage your customers’ expectations for your business’s reopening.
4. Getting the Most Out Of Your Social Media Platforms
Every social media platform offers unique features and benefits to bolster your reopening. Here are just a few ways to maximize the most frequented channels for your business’ social media presence:
- Facebook – Still a widely referenced platform, be sure to update your Facebook Business profile with information about your reopening (see strategy #3 above for what to include).
- Instagram – The old saying stands: a picture is worth a thousand words. Post images of your updated hours, service offerings, safety protocols, and open doors to your Instagram story or feed.
- Twitter – Twitter might be best employed for bite-sized information, but take advantage of your profile page’s banner and bio sections. A brightly colored banner that announces “We’re Reopened!” will send a clear message to your Twitter followers. Use the space in your page’s bio to link to your website for more details about hours and other relevant reopening information.
Note: When it comes to which social media to use, cater your strategy to your business. You don’t need to use all platforms to “cover your bases.” Instead, meet your customers where they’re at, and choose the platforms that make sense for your business.
5. Increase Community Visibility with Nextdoor
Neighborhood connections are invaluable to a small business. But to make those connections, you have to be immersed in what’s going on in your neighborhood. While your neighbors may be staying inside more than ever, they’re active and engaged on their neighborhood hub—Nextdoor.
How can businesses utilize Nextdoor? Let’s look at the benefits:
- Nextdoor members are hyperlocal and all addresses are verified—which means when you’re communicating with a member on Nextdoor, you’re talking to someone in your community.
- Members gain access to a constant stream of local updates, community news, and business recommendations in their area. That business recommendation could be yours.
- Engage with local customers by asking neighbors for customer feedback, recommending partner businesses, and letting your neighborhood know that your doors are open.
Best yet, when you join and create a Business Page, you get instant distribution to everyone in your neighborhood. You don’t have to “build a presence” like you do with other platforms.
6. Post Frequently, Post Relevantly
Brand awareness is the key to engaging with your customer base on social media. By posting consistently (about once or twice a day), you’ll increase visibility across every social media channel. Here are a few social media post ideas to get you started:
- Gratitude Posts – During times of crisis, it’s important for everyone—businesses and people—to say thank you to individuals who have made a difference. Thank essential workers, customers, and employees who have gotten you through these concerning times.
- Community Contributions – If you’re partnering with a non-profit or volunteering your time to help with those negatively impacted by COVID-19, let your customers know—and encourage them to join in. Compassionate acts will set you apart from other businesses and give you something to post about.
7. Be Quick To Respond
As a local business owner, you know the value of giving individualized attention to your customers. That same rule applies to the digital world. Turn notifications on for all of your social media platforms so you can immediately address questions, concerns, or compliments. Respond to every comment or message positively as soon as you can. Why? Consumer studies show that 78% of people who complain to a business’s Twitter account expect a response within the hour.
Your responsiveness will demonstrate how much you value your customers and show social media users that you are open and ready for business. Plus, every comment you reply to is added content to your channels and added content means more visibility for your reopened business.
8. Stay in the Loop with Social Media
The more connected you are with the local community, the more growth opportunities your reopened business will have. Stay in the loop with these social media tips:
- Follow Community Leaders – Follow school principals, local government officials, business community heads, and other local leaders on each social media account. Their posts will keep you in-the-know about local events and community updates.
- Follow Other Local Businesses – Follow other local businesses on social media. You’ll find opportunities to collaborate, get ideas for new reopening strategies, and make connections across the small business community.
- Daily Neighborhood Checks – Make it a habit to check in with the neighborhood (the same way you would read the daily news). Nextdoor makes it easy to find updates, neighborhood events, and news at your fingertips to keep your business fully engaged in the local community.
A Successful Reopening Requires Social Media
Your local community is the lifeblood of your small business. And your neighbors and fellow small business owners want to support you in any way they can—and your social media presence can show them how.
That’s why reopening a local business starts with your digital neighborhood. Use social media marketing strategies to strengthen your small business’s reopening and welcome your customers back to their favorite local business.
The Indian Express. WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram new features: list of new announcements https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/social/whatsapp-facebook-instagram-new-features-6408782/
US Chamber of Commerce. How to Effectively Communicate Your Reopening Plans to Customers. https://www.uschamber.com/co/start/strategy/how-to-communicate-business-reopening
US Chamber of Commerce. 9 Experts on How to Communicate with Customers During Coronavirus. https://www.uschamber.com/co/grow/customers/customer-communication-tips-during-coronavirus
Sprout Social. How COVID-19 Has Changed Social Media Engagement. https://sproutsocial.com/insights/covid19-social-media-changes/
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Inc.com. 96 Percent of Consumers Don't Trust Ads. Here's How to Sell Your Product Without Coming Off Sleazy. https://www.inc.com/dakota-shane/96-percent-of-consumers-dont-trust-ads-heres-how-to-sell-your-product-without-coming-off-sleazy.html
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Brandwatch. 126 Amazing Social Media Statistics and Facts. https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/amazing-social-media-statistics-and-facts/
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