It’s not a secret that small businesses have had to suffer the most during this coronavirus crisis. Many of them have had to slow down their activities, pause them or even shut down completely due to financial reasons.
For those able to stay open and even continue trading, social media marketing quickly became a vital, indispensable tool, being one of the few marketing channels left unaffected by the pandemic.
But not completely unaffected…
What many companies and brands have failed to understand is that while platforms like Instagram and Facebook continue to function as effective marketing channels, it is not business-as-usual.
Facebook and Instagram registered a 40% increase in usage in the UK due to COVID-19, with views for Instagram Live and Facebook Live doubling in the first week of quarantine. Such a significant increase in usage means more content than usual being consumed every second.
Brands need to make sure their content is disruptive enough to grab the audience’s attention whilst also staying at the top of the feed. Otherwise, Instagram’s “domino-like” algorithm will only drag the post further down in the feed until it vanishes in a sea of meaningless content. The lower the reach and engagement, the lower the position in the feed. The higher the reach and engagement…you get the jist.
So what can small businesses do to make sure they adapt their SMM strategy accordingly?
Here’s a few tips from NUDE Digital on how to stay at the top of the feed.
ASK YOUR AUDIENCE
Once you’ve announced your company’s response to the current situation (and make sure you do a post or a highlight about this), ask your audience what they would like to see from you in the next few weeks.
There is no precedent to this situation, so turning to historical statistics and research won’t help much (because there is none). Simply do a story with the Question feature, and ask your audience what they want to see, learn about and read about.
Who is going to know better what your audience wants, other than your audience?
TAILOR YOUR CAPTIONS
You probably had other content plans for the next few weeks, but desperate times call for desperate, reactive measures.
Change your captions to more empathetic ones and aim to be inspirational and aspirational, rather than sales-y. Give your audience something to look forward to (e.g. if you’re in the hospitality industry, share with your audience images and videos of the surroundings of your hotel/restaurant to give them something to dream about). Weave the issues of the current situation into your brand’s tone of voice – not in every post, but enough to let your audience know that you’re aware and that you’re going through this together.
Don’t forget, your content still needs to relate to your product or service. You don’t want to stray from your main object of activity.
USE INSTAGRAM STORIES
1 out of 3 of the most viewed IG Stories are from businesses, and that’s really all you need to know. Take advantage of Instagram’s ephemeral content feature to connect with your audiences, and don’t be afraid to try new things and be creative. Instagram stories offer plenty of features that will make the audience engage – you can create a brand quiz, polls, use funny filters.
Use this as a chance to learn about your audience, see what they like and what they engage with. After all, a story only lasts for 24 hours, so you can dare to try anything!
INCREASE YOUR POSTING FREQUENCY
With social media usage sky-rocketing, you have to make sure you stay at the top of the feed. Aim for daily posts, or at least double your frequency. The more the users see you in their feed, the longer you stay on their minds.
CHANGE YOUR KPIs
Focus on brand building, rather than conversion. In these unprecedented times, ROI is no longer king. Change your KPIs to metrics like engagement rate, reach, comments, shares.
Use this time to grow your account and build a relationship with your audience, rather than to pursue website traffic increase. This will come in handy when lockdown is over and things go back to normal.
Remember, any effort is better than no effort. Follow the tips above to build a stronger digital presence and try to be as creative as you can.