Bringing back your local audience with Social Media

As the effects of the COVID-19 shutdowns are setting in, it’s not easy for businesses to know how they can maintain a connection with their customers during this time. With more and more individuals staying home and exploring socially distancing alternatives for their normal routines and daily activities, social media has become an important outlet for both consumers and businesses. 

Along with these changes, an increasing number of people are getting more comfortable using Facebook and Instagram. They are also beginning to appreciate what an amazing tool these platforms can be.

Whether you’re currently open for business, are trying to find innovative ways to offer your products and services, or are closed for the time being, staying in touch with your target audience on social media is essential. 

Below, we’ve listed some ways that you can utilize social media as your brand faces unprecedented challenges.

Instruct

Even the CDC recognizes the power of social media for creating localized efforts in the fight against COVID-19. This government agency has released a social media toolkit with a range of templates to help businesses get the word out to their customers about practicing social distancing and other important habits to promote health and safety in the face of the pandemic.

From Facebook and Twitter message templates to creative graphics and instructive videos, this toolkit includes a wealth of resources that businesses can use free of charge as part of their social media campaigns. Most importantly, you can be confident you’re putting out reliable information when you utilize these materials to keep your customers up to date.

Inform

In addition to the larger concerns on all of our minds, there’s also an unprecedented number of questions about things that once seemed simple. Taking the initiative to answer questions relating to your business will give your customers one less thing to worry about. 

From your business’s current status of operation to changes in the way you’re delivering your services to clarifications about your policies, these informative details can be crucial in helping your customers plan their day.

Instagram Stories and Facebook Live are two great ways to keep your customer base informed. You can hold an FAQ session on either platform to answer questions that you’re frequently receiving as direct messages. As Stories can only be viewed for 24 hours after they’re posted, they’re best for providing to-the-minute updates as your business situation evolves, including notes on inventory and last-minute deals.

Facebook has also released a set of new templates to help you answer basic questions such as “Are you still taking orders?” and “Can I shop online?” These simple visual tools can be easily used to direct customers to your current purchasing options and communicate important changes in your opening hours or delivery policies.

Connect

Providing your audience with behind-the-scenes insights into what’s going on at your business as a result of the pandemic will give them a better understanding of any changes you’re having to make. You may want to illustrate how you’re addressing important issues, like social distancing, during your daily operations, or show what you’re doing to give back to your local community.

You can think of these types of posts as simply keeping in touch with your customer base, and keeping them in the loop about how your industry is being impacted by recent developments. Not only will your audience appreciate that you’re taking the time to reach out to them, but you’ll also be able to express how much you appreciate their support as you continue to meet their needs.

Engage

Starting a conversation with your customers via social media is a convenient method for getting crucial feedback on any changes you’ve implemented in your business model. In addition, it’s a good way to gain insight into how your audience is feeling overall, so you can strike the right tone with your messaging.

There are plenty of ways to engage with your customers on social media. For feedback on specific issues, Instagram has a useful question sticker you can add to posts in your Stories. To bring your audience together as a community, try using Instagram Live for hosting events online. Be sure to post a notification well in advance of your event to ensure you have as many viewers as possible engaging at the same time.

You can also use Facebook and Instagram to promote challenges that help your customers feel part of a community. Whether the winner of the challenge receives a prize or the reward is simply the engagement in and of itself, there are plenty of ways to leverage your brand to help your audience feel less alone during these difficult times.