One of the major by-products of the COVID-19 pandemic is that businesses are having to get used to uncertainty around their abilities to open. Some companies have already had to close, open and close again multiple times, and so it’s no surprise that a lot of business owners are coming to terms with uncertainty.
One of the challenges here is that this uncertainty is passed on to customers. If you’re a restaurant, for example, then it’s hard to reopen if nobody knows about it. You can open your doors, but that doesn’t mean that anyone is going to show up for dinner.
In fact, developing a strategy for reopening is important to all businesses and across all industries, whether you’re a local business or a huge multinational company. Social media is a vital part of that, because it allows you to reach a large number of people with your messaging. Here’s how to develop a strategy for your business’ reopening.
Easily the most important thing to think about here is that it’s all about communication. Put simply, if people don’t know that you’re open, they’re not going to do business with you. This applies for physical locations such as stores and restaurants, just as much as it applies to service-based businesses like accountants or estate agents.
And so if you don’t do anything else, you need to make sure that you’re communicating that you’re open for business. You can do this through a variety of methods, from a simple text-based update to a flyer that’s been deliberately designed to catch people’s eyes as they scroll through their news feeds.
It’s also worth running some paid advertisements to ensure that your reopening news is reaching as many people as possible. This type of advertising can be particularly effective because most social networks will allow you to specifically target people who like your page. You’re reaching out to an existing audience as opposed to a new one, and so you’re likely to receive higher engagement rates and to find it easier to convince people to make a purchase.
We’d also suggest supporting your reopening announcements with email marketing if you have a list of existing customers. Even though this article focusses predominantly on social media, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that. You can also look at your blogs and your website messaging.
The next thing to look at is the type of content that you’re creating. The chances are that you’ve been struggling to create content while your business has been closed because there’s nothing for you to document. A surprising amount of company content on social media is created just to document what’s happening, from behind-the-scenes updates to campaigns that are being run. But when the company’s doors are closed, there’s none of that.
The good news is that as you start to reopen, you can start to create this kind of content again. You can start by posting photos of your employees in the workplace, reassuring people that you’re open for business as usual. If you run the kind of business where people physically visit it, you can also show customers on your premises to send out signals that people are welcome to come and visit again.
Better yet, why not encourage people to spread the word for you? A great way to do this is to run a competition or a user-generated content campaign with rewards available for people who participate. Again, this tends to be easier if people physically visit your premises because you can use in-store signage and encourage them to take a shot that actually shows that your location is open.
But even if not, if you provide goods and services remotely, you can still find creative ways to get people involved. You could even use your reopening as an excuse to launch an affiliate programme where people are able to earn cash rewards if they introduce new customers to your business.
Ultimately, developing your social strategy for reopening all comes down to one important thing, which is communication. As we’ve explained, if people don’t know that you’re open, they can’t buy from you.
And yet it’s not necessarily as easy as just announcing “we’ve reopened”, because guidelines are constantly changing and COVID tends to come in waves. Because of that, it’s a good idea to ensure that you’re constantly updating people on whether new developments are impacting your opening times or even forcing you to temporarily close again.
Communication has always been important for social media marketing, but the uncertain times in which we live mean that it’s more important than ever before. Consider posting weekly or even daily updates to remind people that you’re open for businesses and to highlight any changes. It’s not just about reminding people that you’re open – it’s about providing them reassurance that you’re still open, especially when it would be easy for them to assume that you’d had to close.
And it should go without saying that you should also spend time checking your social networking profiles for mentions, just in case people have sent you messages asking whether you’re open for business or not. If you don’t take the time to respond to these messages, people will think that you’re closed and the word will spread.
Now that you know how to develop a social marketing strategy for your business’ reopening, you’re ready to get started. It’s worth developing a strategy for this even if you’re currently running business as usual, because you never know when you might need it. It’s better to have the strategy and not need it than the other way around.
You’ve heard from us, and so now we want to hear from you. As always, be sure to share your thoughts in the comments so that we can keep the discussion going. We’ll see you soon in another article.
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