Small businesses across the country are facing unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whilst many physical premises have been temporarily closed to fight the spread of the virus, lots of businesses are embracing digital as a means to stay open online. Social media is at the forefront of this adaptation - a digital gateway through which they are staying connected with customers and prospective buyers.
In a way, social media has never been more relevant. Not only to stay connected and informed, but to stay entertained.
Dynamism resides at the heart of entrepreneurship. It’s a collective characteristic driving business owners to think creatively in order to overcome the obstacles in front of them. And overcome them they will. So let’s take a look at 5 ways small businesses can use social media to stay connected with their customers.
Engage your followers
Social media is a great way to engage with your audience.
Create the right content for your audience and you’ll build strong, long-lasting relationships with your customers, aiding brand loyalty and increasing purchases overtime.
Whilst we’re in this unprecedented time (and, also, once we overcome it), make the effort to maintain customer relationships. Use your social media channels to stay connected to your customers even if you can't be there in person. Humanise your brand. Have some fun.
Why not post out a poll that people can take part in? Give people a peak at what you’re up to with a story post? Or take part in a social media challenge and encourage others to take part?
Use this time to explore the various functions on your social media channels. Start conversations, utilise hashtags, play with some filters, reach out to others in your community or industry.
Don’t just go silent. Get social.
Go live online
If you’ve had to cancel an in-person event, why not take it online?
Those of you active on social media may have seen businesses from music venues, to yoga studios going live on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to keep their audience engaged with a live performance or a virtual class. It’s a fantastic way to interact with your audience and keep your brand fresh in the minds of your customers.
Even if your business is unable to deliver your product or service via a live stream you can always use the online event to showcase your knowledge or expertise. Think of going live as an opportunity to tell your story, show the human side of your business, interact with your social media followers and existing customers.
You could host a Q&A and offer your audience the chance to ask you questions, or you could simply showcase your product or services. Perhaps you could show people a little of the process that goes into making the product and really show why it’s special. After all, people love the stories behind small businesses.
If you wanted to go one step further, you could even teach your audience how to do something themselves. As people stay safe at home they are looking for ways to entertain themselves.
Drive traffic to your website
Social media is a brilliant way to reach people and increase traffic to your website.
With 3.5 billion people on social media it’s a great place to share links to interesting content on your website, whether that be blogs, company news or product information.
The beauty of social media is it allows you to explore both organic and paid ways of driving traffic to your website.
Why not take a look at your audience insights on social media and share content from your website that will appeal to your audience? From age, to gender, to location, you can use these insights to craft messaging that resonates with your audience.
Through careful analysis of your posts, you can see what content is working at what time, with what particular demographic. This is something you can keep in mind going forward and factor into your social media strategy.
Google is also said to love inbound links from social to your website. So keep feeding it a healthy diet and it will reward you with better search engine rankings.
Keep customers informed
Customers like to be kept informed and social media is perfect for this, particularly during the recent events worldwide.
As people spend more time online, more and more customers are turning to social media sites to engage with brands. Many people simply expect brands to be on social media.
Through good, clear communication on social media, businesses can keep their customers informed and manage customer expectations.
Whether that’s letting people know they’re still open online, or that they are operating a reduced delivery schedule, social media is great for getting these vital bits of information out to your audience.
If your physical premises are closed, but you’re still selling certain products online, use social media to tell your customers.
Encourage customers to contact you
Let customers know that you’re happy to answer their questions on social media. Open the door to conversations with them via direct messaging.
If you’re using Facebook for your business why not set up automated responses to frequently asked questions such as how to place orders?
This will allow for your customers to receive prompt responses and know that you are there to answer their questions. You can also post out on your social media feeds that you will be happy to answer any queries your customers have to let them know you are there for them.
Be positive. Express your thanks for their support. Be there for them, and they’ll hopefully be there for you.
However you approach the COVID-19 outbreak, make sure you prioritise your health and the health of the people around you. Seek out help if you need it, and offer help if you can.
We hope these social media tips will help you stay connected to your customers during this unsettling period. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the #OpenWeStand resources designed to help get you through these tough times.