It’s no secret that times are tough for small businesses as we move through the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Travel Association recently released new findings noting a staggering unemployment rate of 51% across the travel & tourism industry (including restaurants, hotels, attractions, and more). While restrictions for in-person experiences may still be in place, it’s more important than ever to connect with your audiences across digital channels, setting the stage for a faster recovery when it’s time.
I’ve put together five actionable tips that can help keep your business moving forward without spending a dime.
The worst thing you can do right now? Go dark. Ensure that your business is staying top-of-mind by posting regularly across social channels. Whether it’s showcasing a new menu item, reminding people of current shopping procedures, or creating conversations by sharing memories of previous experiences, there’s still plenty of content to be shared! Remember that the longer it takes people to find the information they need, the less likely they are to complete the path to purchase. Now’s the time to make sure that the links in your profile are pointing to the right place, you’re sharing accurate hours of operations, and indicating where people can find more information quickly.
Engage with Customers
More than ever, it’s important to turn your customers into ambassadors. Staying engaged with customers through digital channels can be time consuming, but often reaps incredible rewards. Make sure that you are checking in on your mentions – are people replying to your post with questions? Answer them! Did someone share an awesome experience? Take the time to say thank you! Think of your social media as a customer service hotline—respond in a timely and professional manner. Don’t let an unanswered query result in the loss of a sale.
Re-Share Relevant Content
Once you’ve engaged with your customers, why not use their feedback for content? Take advantage of your new-found ambassadors and populate your social channels with some user generated content, or UGC. If someone is posting a review or photo of your business, ask if you can re-post on your own channel. The benefits are twofold: you’ll get to showcase an authentic customer experience and it’s one less piece of content that you need to create from scratch! My biggest tip when working with UGC? Always ask permission before posting and give credit to the original author. Better safe than sorry!
Showcase the Good
Has your business been giving back to the community or its employees during this time? Perhaps it’s an initiative that your community has been a part of. Tell your audiences! Shine a light towards the positive impacts that you are making, but be sure that it’s coming from a genuine place. It’s certainly a fine line to walk—people love a good news story, but can sniff out something fake and self-serving from a mile away. Make sure that your good work is coming from the heart.
Go Behind the Scenes
If normal operations have been disrupted for your business (the majority have), that doesn’t mean that your content has to be put on hold too. These extenuating circumstances mean that you just have to think a smidge further outside the box. How can you give people a look into the inner workings of your business? Perhaps it’s a how-to video of how people can re-create a favorite dish or drink at home. Maybe it’s a behind-the-scenes peek into your shipping processes for those who are making purchases online. Tap into nostalgia by showing a #tbt from your construction days when the business was just getting on its feet. Remember, you still want to stay top of mind for when things start to shift back towards normal.
Will these efforts take some time to put into action? Of course. But even a tiny bit of work can pay off in major dividends when push comes to shove. Invest in your social media strategy now so you can bounce back stronger than ever, and even have a leg up for when restrictions begin to lift!
Have questions or want some assistance in putting some of these recommendations into action? Contact Kaitie to learn more about available marketing and communications services. Customized marketing plans are available at flexible rates.