Use social media to grow your business during the pandemic

Use social media to grow your business during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned so many aspects of normal life on their heads, not the least of which is business and how it’s conducted. Due to the lockdowns imposed in most hard-hit parts of the world, many businesses reliant on physical premises have been forced to shut their doors, some of them for good.

Yet several businesses have managed to ride the waves generated by this dramatic change. Some, like exercise equipment manufacturers, were uniquely positioned to service the needs that arose or increased in volume due to the new status quo. For others, this unlikely success was achieved by understanding the implications of the event and how it would affect human behavior, and using that behavior to their advantage.

Leveraging social media for marketing falls into this latter category. All the time spent at home has driven people online at higher rates than ever, with social media platforms being a prime destination. While online, people naturally have increased their use of search engines, with some topics, such as those relating to leisure activities and hobbies, receiving particularly large boosts in activity — to the tune of 44% and 19% more searches, respectively. Being aware of these trends and planning your business activities to take advantage of them, particularly when it comes to marketing, can help a business flourish in this brave new world.

There are a few principles to keep in mind when it comes to building a marketing strategy utilizing social media.

Collaboration is key

A rising tide lifts all ships, and the same is true of the deluge of online activity prompted by the pandemic. As such, your business can stand to benefit from partnering with other brands and influencers. By teaming up, you will naturally increase your visibility to your partners’ existing fan bases and vice versa, and create a larger combined audience that has the potential to spread exponentially.

While this principle works in theory, it pays to be careful in choosing who to partner with. It’s important that you partner with businesses that offer services or products complementary to your own. Achieving great visibility alongside a direct competitor will lead to your offerings cannibalizing each other, preventing either of you from making the most of the audience pool. Likewise, with influencers, choose those who already have large existing followings, which increases the bang you get from the buck spent to procure the influencers’ services.

Conversions over followers

An easy mistake to make is to tailor your online activities toward cultivating as large a following as possible. While this makes sense in theory, a following is only desirable in that it can lead to purchases from or subscriptions to your business.

It’s thus sensible to have conversions into these revenue-generating activities be your primary target metric over simple online engagement. One way to do this is to offer giveaways in exchange for a social media follower’s email address, which enables you to add them to an email database to be used for more targeted marketing campaigns.

Visibility is key

You want to maximize your brand awareness among online denizens, and repetition is key to recollection. This means making your business, and its value offering, as visible as possible, as often as possible.

A great approach to this is to leverage as many platforms as possible. Instagram, for example, can be a useful avenue to push your business and display your services through images and videos.

Ubiquity is also key, and while creating enough original content to achieve the volume and frequency of posts can be difficult, this can be mitigated with content curation. Even reposts of content created by other entities but nevertheless relevant to your brand will push your account and business into the spotlight.

Meanwhile, guest appearances on podcasts and the like, where you can talk about topics relating to your value proposition and demonstrate your ideas, are also a fantastic way to draw attention to your business. They even provide an avenue through which you can achieve an audience connection beyond the surface-level impressions possible with typical advertising.

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