We’re all seeing signs of life in the economy as businesses start to reopen — an encouraging indicator of impending normalcy. If your business is preparing to reopen, you may be wondering which COVID-19 social media strategies to keep and which ones to ditch.
That’s just one question among many in this new business climate. As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce states in its reopening guide: “The businesses that will survive and thrive are the ones that can be flexible and adaptable to consumers’ new and evolving needs. You’ll need to plan carefully and understand not only what may need to change about your business, but what new growth opportunities may exist for you in a post-pandemic world.”
We recommend combing through the U.S. Chamber’s guide for more detailed suggestions on reopening. In the meantime, as far as the changes go in the realm of social media, we’ve recommended some “keepers” below. These changes have been implemented by many of the businesses we coach, and you may want to make these changes permanent.
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Curbside Pickup or Home Delivery
The COVID-19 crisis forced businesses to pivot how they do business. Curbside pickup and touch-free home deliveries are strategies that have helped many businesses to keep their doors open.
With touch-free options, you may have had to implement:
- Ecommerce systems
- Fulfillment processing, free shipping and home delivery
- More advanced text messaging and email alerts to communicate order status
- Third-party delivery systems
Keep offering these options to your customers for the foreseeable future — even if your business is able to open its doors for a broader range of services. Many customers are still not going to want to step foot in public places for any length of time.
How to incorporate touch-free options in your social media strategy:
- Tout your touch-free options with photos and videos explaining how customers can safely access your products and services.
- Snap photos of delivery drivers getting ready to make local deliveries, or employees bringing orders out to customers’ vehicles.
- Create a Facebook offer with free shipping and boost it.
By the way, these types of white-glove services go a long way toward building customer loyalty — which brings us to …
Customer Service That Goes Above and Beyond
Going the extra mile for customers has become even more important today. Taking the time to listen to their needs and respond to them sets you apart from the rest.
Online reviews, direct messages and social media comments are often the first place customers go to air their concerns or their praise. Even after the pandemic has died down, you’ll still need to make sure you’re offering customer service that goes above and beyond.
How to incorporate great customer service in your social media strategy:
- Respond to every comment, question and review. Rallio gives you a dashboard to make it easy to see everything in one place. Don’t want to manage it yourself? Outsource the work to our Rallio Local team of experts.
- Set up auto-responders on Facebook for frequently asked questions.
- Feature your customer testimonials in social media posts. Ideally, have a picture or a video of your customer with their positive reviews.
Learn more: How to Reopen Your Small Business Safely
Along the same lines of customer service, reputation management ensures you’re not only responding to feedback, but also being proactive with getting reviews. Customers are relying on these reviews to decide where to shop and which businesses are worth their money.
A lot of the work of getting a customer to buy from you is already done before you even make contact with them. If they visit your pages or review platforms and see negative comments, they’ll likely move along to the next business. So if you’ve done the work to manage your reputation properly, the good will outweigh the bad and you’ll earn their business.
How to incorporate reputation management in your social media strategy:
- Ask for feedback after a sale. Our Revv app makes it easy to generate reviews and resolve any negative customer experiences.
- Be personable, friendly and helpful in your social media posts. Don’t argue with customers or get into a word battle online.
- Use feedback to improve your business. When you make those improvements, share the news with your followers.
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It goes without saying that customers want to see stepped-up sanitization at your business. You’re likely already implementing enhanced protocols that follow CDC and any local guidelines.
Before welcoming the public back into your location, naturally you’ll need to have a system in place for cleaning and disinfection of your facility. If you’re requiring masks for employees and customers, make sure everyone understands what’s expected. And of course, keep your facility spotless to keep everyone safe.
Additionally, you may have had to implement stringent return policies, i.e., temporarily not accepting returns and/or extending return policies for retail goods.
The key, as far as social media goes, is communication of your policies and procedures. Keep driving home the message that you’re making it as safe as possible to visit your location.
How to incorporate sanitizing protocols in your social media strategy:
- Create a video explaining how you’re cleaning the facility.
- Communicate your mask policy and whether you’re providing masks for those who don’t have them.
- Communicate what your current return policy is so no one is surprised when returning merchandise.
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Many businesses switched to virtual formats to continue offering services amid the pandemic. We’ve seen fitness businesses offering livestreaming via Facebook Live and Zoom. Tutors are providing online education in place of in-person tutoring. Everywhere you turn, businesses are figuring out how to reach their audience in a virtual way.
Many customers have discovered the convenience and safety of staying home while still getting the services they need and want. As a business, you may have discovered a whole new line of business by offering virtual services.
How to incorporate virtual formats in your social media strategy:
- Use Facebook Live to offer classes, educational services, how-to tutorials and more. You can also use Zoom in cases where you want to be able to see your customers and vice versa.
- Continue to get creative with your virtual offerings. How about virtual tours, wine tastings, happy hours, shopping events and guest speakers?
- Create Facebook events for your virtual events. Promote them beforehand with your target audience. Your guests will get reminders on the day of the event to join.
Maybe you’ve been highlighting the great work your employees are doing throughout the pandemic. Or perhaps you had to temporarily lay off employees, and now you’re preparing to welcome them back. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to keep showing gratitude for the people helping to keep your business running — from employees to suppliers.
How to incorporate employee advocacy in your social media strategy:
- Spotlight your employees in social media posts. Tell your followers why they’re so great!
- Empower your employees to share about your business on their personal social media pages. The Rallio platform makes it easy to share brand-approved content through these extended networks.
- Invite employees to submit assets like in-store photos and videos. Again, the Rallio platform simplifies this process.
Hyper-Local Social Media
Your audience responds to real-life, hyper-local photos and videos more so than they ever will with any type of “stock” content. If you’ve been following our best practices that we recommend to all brands, then you may already have seen an uptick in engagement, reach and followers.
How to incorporate hyper-local content in your social media strategy:
- Keep posting real photos and videos of the managers, employees and customers who make your business possible.
- Focus on building relationships with your followers, not selling them your products and services.
- Boost your content to expand your reach.
1 Social Media Strategy to Ditch Forever: Boring Content
You’ll notice in all of the strategies above, none of them includes boring content. By boring, we mean stock photos, sales pitches, promotional posts, posts without images, captions that don’t inspire engagement and, generally, any type of snooze-worthy dribble.
The pandemic has made it abundantly clear that accounts posting engaging content consistently outperform those that focus on self-promotion. Ditch the boring content and implement our best practices to see greater success with your social media strategy.