The Small Business’s Guide to Social Media During the Coronavirus
In this time of uncertainty, consumers are looking to social media for accurate, up-to-date information on their favorite businesses. Now more than ever, it is essential to show up for and connect with your followers on your business’ social media channels.
Listen, and be prepared for questions!
The best things you can do are listen to what your consumers are saying and asking for, and be 100% transparent. Be prepared to speak up on your brand's core values, how you will handle your employees, and how you are contributing to the cause. Listening to your customers' conversations and concerns will also clue you into what kind of content they are expecting. Be sure to monitor posts and comments on your profiles, and don't forget to check for feedback on your paid ads as well! Respond to comments sensitively and with empathy. Don't be afraid to open a dialogue, ask your followers what content they want to see, and what they expect of your business right now.
If someone outside of your organization handles your social media or your paid social ads, make sure you keep them up-to-date with what efforts your business is taking and how you want questions to be answered.
Select the right tone and messaging.
The tone you use in your posts is crucial! Right now, step away from hard selling and instead focus on how your business is helping and providing value to your customers. If you must include sales messaging, be sure to focus on any offers or specials you have available. Right now, your customers could benefit from no interest or deferred payments. You should take care to avoid any language that would make it appear that you're exploiting the crisis or are insensitive to the hardship many of us are experiencing. One of the worst things you could do is ignore the crisis altogether! Your business needs to show your customers how you've got their back, and that they can rely on you in difficult times. We're all in this together!
Clearly communicate changes to your operations.
As situations are rapidly changing, it’s important to keep your customers informed. As soon as you know your hours will change, update the hours on your Facebook profile as well any hours listed on Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media profile. If your business is temporarily closed, there is an option to hide your hours from Facebook. Be careful not to mark your business as permanently closed! If your business is closed, be sure to communicate to your customers that you are temporarily closed for business and will resume at some time in the future. Be sure to create posts to announce the changes in hours as they come into effect.
Additionally, if your offerings change, let your customers know as soon as possible. If your operations change to offering pickup or delivery, make a post that clearly outlines what a customer can expect from these changes. If your services or menu is limited, be sure to emphasize that and clearly state what it is you have to offer right now. In your posts, break down the new procedures for interacting with your business (do they have to call to place an order? Where should they park when they arrive for curbside pickup? Can they order delivery online?). It's not a bad idea to pin a Facebook post or Twitter tweet to the top of your page so that consumers can see these changes immediately upon clicking to your profile.
Describe the safety measures and precautions your business is taking.
Put yourself in your customers' shoes. Take into account what may be on their minds as they interact with their business. They will want to know that not only are they safe, but that your employees are safe. Visuals are the best kind of transparency in this case. Videos of how you are disinfecting your store will go a long way! Additionally, post photos of your employees wearing masks or other protective gear. Regularly remind your guests that you are aware of their concerns, and you are doing all you can to keep them healthy.
Don't stop posting altogether! Even if your business is closed, or you do not feel comfortable pushing your products, you still want to stay top-of-mind. That is, you don't want your customers to forget about you! Give your followers content that creates value for them right now. Since many of us are stuck at home, think about how we can get out of the house virtually! Many museums offer online tours of their exhibits, and many zoos are providing educational but fun live streams of their animals. Give your consumers ideas about what movies or podcasts to binge and ask for their recommendations as well. Remember, what is going on right now is a universal experience. Don't be afraid to let the human side of your brand show! Stay away from content that discusses or encourages travel, dining out, or another activity that is being discouraged right now - this also applies to visuals included with your posts.
Slowly but surely, things will return to normal again! Until then, practice mindful tone and messaging in your social media posts and keep your followers up to date with changes at your business. Listening to and monitoring the conversations your followers are having will be the best clue you get as to when you can resume your usual social media strategy. If you have any questions about your social media crisis strategy or would like to speak with one of our social media experts, contact us today!