Social media in a time of social isolation: How to keep your business trading
The world is waking up to find itself in an unprecedented situation: with governments urging offices to adopt working from home where possible, advising against unnecessary travel, and suggesting that people avoid mass gatherings, it feels harder than ever to be in business. However, whilst these times are trying, the West Midlands’ leading digital agency, Explode Social Media, is adamant that it is an opportunity for businesses to make the jump to digitising its communications, selling streams, and customer relations.
Lindi Mngaza, the managing director at Explode Social Media, has launched a service to help businesses navigate these ever-changing times. Recognising the power that social media holds for keeping people connected – even (or rather, especially) in times of social distancing – Lindi comments:
“We understand that this is a very frightening time for a lot of people, with uncertainty mounting… However, as a business, this is the best time to start getting on top of your social media and start using it in a meaningful way to ensure that your customers and staff are aware of what’s going on, and how you are planning to keep operations running. With more people working remotely, or self-isolating at home, social media will be where most turn to get their information and stay connected, so having your share of voice is a priority.”
However, it can be tough to know where to start, what to prioritise, and how to navigate what is put out. Determined to help and prevent any additional worry for brands, Explode Social Media has compiled its top five tips for understanding how to use social media over the coming weeks to help businesses stay ahead of the curve.
“It’s really important that on all of your social media channels you’re talking about COVID-19. Don’t act like nothing’s happening. You need to explain customers that you’re aware of what’s going on, address the fact that you are still in business and you’re still working,” suggests Lindi.
She adds that brands also need to let customers know that they have got a contingency plan in place and are putting it in action to keep on top. What’s more, if anything changes – which with daily updates, is likely – it is a perfect vehicle for communicating this quickly, clearly, and constructively. Approaching topics with clarity will help to minimise panic and manage customer expectations.
Whatever platforms businesses are using, Explode Social Media suggests getting some posts up talking about the virus, what your business strategy is and to deal with it so that everybody is aware of your stance.
According to Explode Social Media, now is the time to start using your social media platforms in a really clever way. Start connecting with every single member of staff, customer, business partner and ask them to refer and tag other people. The more people you’re connected with on social media, the more people will get your message.
“There might be customers that you haven’t worked with in a long time that you aren’t connected with on social – get connected with them. It’s going to be a great cost-efficient way to get messages across! What’s more, while they might not be in a position to buy now, you’re setting yourself up to be one of their first ports of call when things are back up and running,” adds Lindi.
Communications may become a little staggered over the coming weeks and months as people are self-isolating and working from home, but a lot of people will be using social media more than ever.
Make sure you’re posting consistent content. You don’t want to spam people by posting every single day, but every other day is fine – particularly if what you’re sharing is useful, engaging, and shareable.
“Ensure that what you’re posting is informative, that it’s of the moment and that you’re keeping people up-to-date with where your business is. Scheduling tonnes of content now isn’t advised… you want your posts to be reactive to the situation, adding to the conversations that are going on. With conversations ever-changing on social media, you want to be clued up and able to comment on the things that matter most in your industry and for your customers,” says Lindi.
Explode Social Media’s advice is for posts to be a balance of informative and light-hearted. Lindi delves into this deeper, saying:
“Everyone’s watching the news in the morning, there’s a lot of negativity and worry being spread; we’re listening to the Government’s stance on things and we’re hearing a lot of things that are quite daunting because we’ve never been here before.
“While you want to talk about the severity of the situation, you equally don’t want your posts to make people feel worse about themselves. Keep it upbeat, keep it light-hearted and keep it informative.”
It’s vital to ensure that brands joining conversations are using both the right hashtags and tags, and getting staff to share the brand content.
“There are loads of free websites where you can see what the biggest trending hashtags are – use them. Do everything that you can to make sure that your content is set up to be seen by as many people as possible. Encourage your staff to share content on their own profiles too so that it’s gaining a bigger reach,” advises Lindi.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lindi and her team at Explode Social Media will be running free consultations for businesses looking for additional support. With no-strings-attached expert advice, the Explode Social Media team will run audits of your existing channels and make suggestions for how you can better use them at this turbulent time.
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