The world of business is a bit of a minefield at the moment. It’s certainly a troubling time for everyone, not only on a personal level as we worry about loved ones and deal with the mental toll of self-isolation but also on a professional level. Many are worried they won’t have jobs to go back to, have already lost their source of income, or are struggling to figure out how to ensure their business survives weeks – and potentially months – of being physically closed.
When it comes to your social media marketing a lot of people are having the knee-jerk reaction of either:
- Stopping completely because it seems inappropriate to be marketing at a time like this.
- Doing nothing but share updates about Covid-19 and how it’s affecting them.
Both these approaches are problematic…
Should You Continue Your Social Media Marketing During The Pandemic?
While it’s understandable to worry how your marketing is perceived at a time like this stopping completely really isn’t an option. Not only will you undo any traction you’ve created with your efforts to date, you’re robbing yourself of the only viable means of running your business in the current climate. Done right, your social media platforms are the perfect way to continue building your business, even during the crisis, and creating the kind of interest and engagement you need to ensure you have clients when you are open for business again.
If you’re really smart about it, you’ll also find a way of offering digital products or services that can be sold exclusively through social media and give you a source of revenue until your usual methods open up again.
And if you’re already avidly selling on social, stopping right now is utter madness – people are bored senseless and looking for things to occupy themselves. Be there with your products and services to give them what they want!
What Should You Be Sharing On Social Media While We’re In Lockdown?
Likewise, people are getting seriously burnt out when it comes to news about Covid-19. The news updates are constant, we’re all regularly Googling it and following the latest live broadcasts. We know it’s affecting everyone. We know how it’s affecting everyone. Unless your business actually lends itself towards giving advice around the virus and lockdown (like we’ve been doing!) or you’re sharing positive or funny stuff showing how you’re all coping with working from home, try not to talk about it too much.
It’s a little impossible to avoid mentioning it occasionally, but doing so in passing isn’t an issue.
Flooding your channels with information and updates that isn’t relevant to you or what you do isn’t the way to go here – people can get this information from official outlets, and businesses who actually work in a field that makes them qualified to offer advice.
For example, if you’re a health or wellness business and can share advice on keeping healthy during lockdown, and boosting your immune system to protect you against the pandemic (like our client at BluVida Precision Health and Wellness over in Texas) this is great, helpful content to be sharing right now.
Or if you’re a law firm (like our client at Beeston Shenton Solicitors), sharing legal advice that answers specific questions people have about lockdown, furlough, and related areas, is similarly spot-on.
But what if your business doesn’t really lend itself to offering advice on current events? Well, there’s plenty you can be doing to ramp up awareness of your business and lay the groundwork for a lot of new business once things get back to normal. Here’s how to handle your social media marketing like a chaimpion (pun intended!) during the pandemic…
How To Handle Social Media During The Pandemic
For a little business inspiration to show you one brand that’s been absolutely smashing their social over the last few weeks, we’re taking a look at what Chester Zoo have been up to on their Facebook page since they were forced to close the doors…
Just as lockdown was starting and Chester Zoo was forced to close its doors to the public, they did something quite spectacular and started taking advantage of the fact there was nobody in the park. The zoo is usually packed out with visitors and times when it’s closed are spent doing all the day-to-day tasks of caring for the animals and maintaining the grounds that can’t be done while visitors are there. Being forced to close gave them a golden opportunity and they were very quick to recognise it: their staff were still working, their animals were still gorgeous, and there was plenty of time to show people exclusive footage that it wasn’t possible to film during the day at any other time.
Chester Zoo have always been great at making cracking video content for social media but with the pandemic closing their doors they’ve really stepped up the number of videos they’re sharing, and almost all of them are through Facebook Live. This is the perfect way to build engagement, and while pre-recorded videos will do wonders for your social engagement, nothing beats live!
There is something beautifully raw and authentic about a live video. They’re frequently imperfect, and you shouldn’t worry about that! In fact, it’s the imperfection of the Live video feed that’s so enticing. Not only does your audience feel more like they’re interacting with you, knowing that you’re doing what they’re watching in real-time, it is the single most powerful way of rapidly building trust.
Not only that, but people also love a good live, and are statistically even more likely to share a video they’ve enjoyed if it’s live – you’ll find them tagging in their friends so they can watch together, and telling people about your awesome live event while catching up on what they did during the day.
How many of us are having endless ‘what did you do today’ conversations with loved ones we seriously miss because we can’t see them at the moment? We desperately want to stay connected and talk to people, but the problem is, most of us aren’t really doing anything.
This leads to a lot of tumbleweed rolling through conversations, with awkward silences and conversations cut short because we’ve simply run out of things to say.
If someone’s been genuinely enjoying your live streaming it’s the perfect thing to babble about to fill the silence.
You get the double whammy of online sharing and positive word of mouth sending people to look for you on social because they were just talking about that awesome tiger video…
Rather than despairing that there were no visitors paying to come through the doors, the staff of the zoo have been regularly sharing a virtual zoo experience that people can enjoy from their homes. The stepped up their game though and hosted full-on Virtual Zoo Days which saw them take a tour of the zoo sharing multiple live videos throughout the day.
The zoo experience from the comfort of your own home.
This is insanely powerful content at the moment for several reasons. Everyone is stir crazy, giving them the illusion of being out at the zoo is a welcome distraction. The videos themselves are incredibly uplifting – no doom, no gloom, the life of the animals is carrying on undisturbed despite the insanity of the world. Animals are cute, fascinating and eminently watchable.
The virtual zoo tours are a stroke of genius as they are not only massively expanding the zoo’s audience, reach and engagement during the pandemic, they are ensuring that a huge number of people are desperate to get there in person as soon as they possibly can.
Not only regular visitors who have been before, but people who wouldn’t normally think to go at all have suddenly put a trip to Chester at the top of their To Do list when lockdown lifts.
Creating this kind of excitement around what you do is a brilliant way of continuing to promote your business without appearing to take advantage of the pandemic or sharing content that focuses on what’s happening without offering any distraction or positivity.
Showing up regularly and often is definitely key to handling your social media like an absolute champion during the pandemic. Once you get into a rhythm of sharing more and/or different content to usual, keep it going. Find a format your audience loves, that they’re genuinely engaging with, experiment with new formats, new types of content, or share your existing content in new ways.
Once you find what works, keep doing it!
Finally, one of the best things your business can be doing right now is sharing content that’s genuinely helpful. Everyone’s struggling. Businesses are finding it difficult to navigate furloughs and various other issues while worrying about whether they’re going to survive the next few months. Parents are struggling to home school their children, and the kids (along with everyone else) are going stir crazy and are bored out of their minds.
How can you genuinely help them, right now, in a real way, for free?
Sharing free resources and content that can actually address some of these very real, very troubling issues, is the perfect way to use social media right now. A lot of businesses are really resistant to sharing too much for free, but honestly, it’s the best thing you can do, especially during a pandemic!
Build some goodwill, positive karma, and ensure you’re the first people in your niche people think of the next time they need something because you were there for them with a real solution, right when they needed you, and you never asked for anything back…
Keep Calm And Carry On Sharing…
The biggest takeaway from all this is that when it comes to managing your social media while we’re all dealing with lockdown and a global pandemic is not to panic. Your digital platforms are actually the one part of your business you don’t have to worry about at the moment.
The internet isn’t going anywhere. Nobody is closing down the online world. You still have brilliant way of directly reaching yoru existing customers and building an audience of prospective new clients. You have the perfect channel in the form of digital marketing to generate income even though you’re physically closed for business. And even if you’re unable to setup a digital revenue stream, being present, active, and positive at this time is what people need, and what they will remember.
So keep calm, and keep sharing!
Co-founder and director at Acrylic Digital, Simon is a technical wizard and man of many hats. If he’s not busy building websites, coding, or creating apps Simon is very hands-on in all our projects and business development.
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