Amidst the need for social distancing and whole cities in lockdown, COVID-19 is changing the way people shop. A Coresight Research survey found that while 58% of U.S internet users would avoid shopping centers and malls, over 50% would also avoid shops in general. That’s all for the best as many shops have had to temporarily draw their shutters to slow down the spread of the virus. At the same time, business owners might also worry about losing their customers permanently. What if they forget about you? What if they never come back even after this whole thing goes away? The good news is that you can always turn to social media to continue running your business amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are a few ways you can use social media to connect with customers:
Most social media platforms favor visuals. So make the most of this opportunity to share eye-catching infographics about tips to deal with the outbreak. Besides the basics like how to prevent getting infected, you could also share tips on how to maintain productivity while working from home, how to minimize anxiety, etc. For example, this dietician regularly shares helpful infographics like which healthy non-perishables you should get and how to avoid weight gain while working from home.
This is the perfect time to prove that you’re a company that cares. Support a cause related to the current issue and then share the news with your social media audience. You could donate funds to research or relief, donate food to volunteers that deliver food to the elderly, donate your time to help these volunteers, and more. Partnering with a nonprofit devoted to the issue is one of the best ways for brands to take a stance on social media, according to 40% of consumers in a Sprout Social survey. Under Armour used Twitter to share their pledge to donate up to $2 million in support of communities that the outbreak has impacted the most. They partnered with leading nonprofits for this.
As much as you should show your concern for the community, what’s even more important is proving that you care about your employees. Use social media to showcase your efforts to care for your employees’ welfare. Did you let them work from home? If you had to temporarily stall your operations, did you provide your employees with paid leave? When Dr. Martens announced that the company will temporarily close their stores in certain countries, one user had questions about whether the brand was still going to pay employees. The brand promptly responded that employees in those temporarily closed stores will get paid leave. This is one basic example of how you can show customers that you care about your employees and their wellbeing.
Some businesses may close their physical stores but are still operational. In the case of restaurants, this means they may still provide takeaway and home delivery options although they don’t offer dine-in. Some retailers may also close their stores but provide online shopping. For these businesses, it’s crucial to use social media to highlight the steps that your company has taken to maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of the virus. Share behind-the-scenes shots of what preventative measures you’re taking through your Stories and/or live videos. You can also use these shots to showcase the adjustments you’re making to accommodate your customers’ needs. For example, Sushi Deli 1 uses their Instagram Stories to show a video of the two spots they’ve reserved for curbside pickup.
If there’s ever a time to share positive content, this is it. With all that’s going on, events canceled, livelihoods hanging by a thread, and people fearing for their lives; your customers need content to inspire them and lift their spirits. Use your social media to spread some positivity beyond simply posting inspirational quotes. You could do what Lush Cosmetics did with their #LushShowandTell, where they encouraged customers to share their moments of happiness. The company posted user-submitted photos and stories to spread some positivity within the community.
These are just a few of the ways your business can adapt its social media strategy to better connect with customers. You already have a few examples to take inspiration from, so make the most of them to boost your social engagement. This temporary setback may have a serious impact on many businesses, but they’re still adapting to the change. With patience and resilience, you'll find your way and make it through to the other side.