Brands and businesses are utilizing social media now more than ever.
If you are a frequent Instagram user, you may have noticed a surge of accounts “going live.” I’ve actually seen threads on twitter discussing this observation. People are questioning why brands are constantly going live and it’s simple…to stay engaged. And while we are all at home, it’s not strange that businesses are going live more than usual.
But brands and businesses are doing more than just going live. While trying to stay afloat, those who are re-inventing the wheel are flourishing and connecting with their audience more than ever.
People are browsing their social media apps more frequently during this time. Some look to escape reality and others use it to stay updated with current events. Two very different demographics yet both important especially depending on your type of business.
A huge challenge right now is social media marketing and engagement during a pandemic. Certainly, a new concept, but how does a brand continue to market without being insensitive? How does a business continue to post their normal content without feeling out of touch with reality?
One Omaha business has used the power of social media to spread the word about their contributions. Artifact Bags, a local retail shop specializing in handmade bags and leather goods, has shifted all their efforts to sewing masks. They have utilized social media to spread the word of their contributions as well as connect with their audience by showing employee’s handmaking the masks, posting updates about orders, and explaining their story and research that has gone into making their masks.
The power of social media has helped them receive recognition across Omaha and even nationwide, being featured in the Omaha World-Herald, multiple news channel stories, and other sources such as Eater, Berrics, Hypebeast, Complex, and more. With an overwhelmingly positive response from the community and a surge in mask sales, the small Artifact team is working hard to fulfill their orders.
It’s important to be aware of your brand, it’s voice, influence, and position on the current climate.
A news source will more than likely be posting 95% COVID-19 related news. And that’s expected. A health care center will also be posting COVID-19 updates and news. As for a roofing company and dance studio, business’s that have nothing to do with the current events, how do they continue to post content without being out of touch?
Many brands are doing it right, while some have made mistakes.
We’ve done some market research and asked a handful of people what businesses are doing it right in their opinion in Omaha. Many of the answers do what we are about to discuss.
How to stay in touch during challenging times
Continue to post relevant content.
Keeping a sense of normalcy is important. With a vast level of uncertainty and changes, people need a sense of comfort. Even if it is seeing a picture of delicious cake from their favorite bakery on their timeline.
Your audience follows you for a reason. Remember that.
Engage your audience
A huge trend right now is social media games like bingo and Instagram story templates. If you are unfamiliar with those, they are a fun way for people to get to know each other while bringing exposure to your business.
This one is a weird concept but it is fun, interactive, and leads to connections between two followers. Brands will fill out a bingo square with actions or activities a customer or client would possibly have done. For example, a local dance studio created a bingo game for their dancers to complete and post to their stories. Squares included things like, “my favorite studio is studio 1,” and “I have all of my splits.” If a dancer has all three of their splits, they would cross off that square like regular bingo.
Another way to engage with your audience is to create a story template. These are questions tailored to your brand or type of business that followers can fill out and post to their story, exposing your business to their followers in a fun way.
Many places were ready to let nothing stop them. In this day of age, going digital is a form of business continuity. Schools, churches, dance studios, and other forms of continuing education have had to go fully digital. Thanks to platforms live Facebook Live and Zoom, we can still come together, learn, or worship, if only through a screen.
Show how you are making changes
Every business has had to make adjustments, there’s no doubt about that. Whether it’s showing your remote working set up, your zoom meeting screenshot, or maybe your restaurant’s take-out system, people like to see behind the scenes.
Discounts and giveaways
Delivery and Curbside Service
Many businesses have offered take out specials and even some food delivery apps have waived delivery fees for local restaurants encouraging people to support local businesses. Those who typically don’t do take-out used this time to provide curbside services. People have responded well and are more inclined to support a restaurant especially when delivery or discounts are offered.
Some businesses have also hosted giveaways on their channels. Everybody loves to win free stuff, so this is a great way to get people engaged. By having entry requirements like “must be following us” or “share this post to be entered in our giveaway,” that offers exposure of your business to their followers.
It’s important to keep your customers informed on what’s happening with your business. Let them know if you are still open, if you have adjusted hours, or how you are currently operating. If you are a clothing store, maybe your storefront is closed but customers can still order online. Let people know.
Mistakes brands have made
A big online clothing company was shamed when they sent out a campaign on April 15, the day of the first stimulus payment wave, about spending your check at their store. This had major backlash and even a trending hashtag on twitter with upset customers expressing how out of touch and irresponsible the blast was.
Other brands have tried to make light of the situation by combining pop culture phrases and quarantine situations. Although, maybe a lighthearted intention, it is insensitive to the current situation, and brands that have done this have received negative feedback.
Verdant creative offers a comprehensive social media workshop series, taking your social media game to the next level. Interested in bettering your social presence? Contact us today for a free social media audit and learn more about our workshops.