The reverberations of the pandemic have been experienced around the world and have impacted each and every one of us.
Gyms, malls, restaurants and other retailers that have a physical presence have been massively hit and all had to adapt to new ways of operations.
But just because your brick-and-mortar business isn’t coming face to face with customers as much as it did last year, doesn’t mean that you can allow your customers to forget about you – quite the contrary. Now that your audience is spending more time at home, this is your chance to step up and have a strong online presence.
At Como, we gathered some ideas you can get inspired by to stay engaged with your customers and prepare for the post-pandemic era safely:
1. REVAMP YOUR WEBSITE
The internet, with social media on top, has become a lifeline to customers, especially during these unseen times. As a business, you should engage with existing and prospective customers online in order to keep providing them with a dynamic and positive experience.
- Give your website and social media pages a makeover, create consistent content across channels and keep them updated with website banners or social media posts and stories
- Reply to your customers questions in a short amount of time. On your website, implementing a live chat can be really helpful to engage with your customers in real-time
- Engage with your customers in a smart yet fun way: introduce gamification and challenges, go live on social media to answer your community’s questions in real-time, or put up polls to better know your followers’ profiles and expectations
2. MAKE USE OF THE LATEST SOCIAL MEDIA FEATURES
Do not hesitate to leverage the new features implemented by social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. A few of them include:
- Facebook: Shops, Newsroom, Business Resource Hub
- Instagram: stickers for small business such as Ordering and Gift Cards, Support Local
- Pinterest: Made Trade, to showcase sustainable and ethical small businesses for more exposure
3. SHARE BLOG POSTS
Your customers have more free time, now that they’re spending more time at home. This is your businesses’ chance to give your website’s SEO a boost by publishing interesting new blog posts. They’re great for generating traffic and attracting new visitors with interesting subject matters.
4. CREATE VIDEO CONTENT
Your customers probably prefer to watch videos rather than read long passages.
Videos are engaging and are a great channel if your business is looking to put out content such as the introduction of a new menu item or new collection, behind the scenes, a word from the CEO or positive messages to customers during these difficult times. These videos can be shared on your social media pages and website to optimize your views and shares.
Make sure the videos are adapted to the target audience, are in HQ and don’t last more than 2 to 3 minutes.
5. HOST VIRTUAL EVENTS
There are many platforms that host online events such as Nextechar or Hubilo. It is a smart and professional way to beat the boredom during this period and even better, keep your customers engaged and bring in new ones with interesting content about your industry and brand.
6. IMPLEMENT YOUR OWN ONLINE ORDERING OR E-COMMERCE SYSTEM
Reduce your dependency on third-party aggregators and start gathering proper customer analytics and insights with your one platform.
Integrate your online ordering or e-commerce platform to your loyalty program and allow your customers to earn points, receive rewards and vouchers while purchasing online.
Do not hesitate to leverage Facebook and Instagram to increase your reach and number of online customers: add your online ordering or e-commerce link in your Instagram bio or use the “swipe up” option if you have 10k+ followers, and let your customers order from Facebook Messenger, thanks to a dedicated bot.
7. COMMUNICATE POSITIVELY
With every day filled with uncertainty, there is no point reminding your customers of the negative aspects of the situation. Bring joy to their everyday life with fun and positive content as well as discounts, gifts and rewards. Be open and honest to strengthen your relationship with customers: keep them informed, involve them in the decision-making process and ask them for feedback so you can improve.
Most of the businesses, big and small, have a statement about the Covid-19 policy on their website. The purpose is to address the elephant in the room. If you’re a hotel, state the booking and refund policy; restaurants would typically mention the seating and online ordering feature; malls would address the social distancing rule. If you are closed for business, the policy should clearly state that; if you’re open, your overlay should be to inform the customers of the precautions they can take.
Finally, over-communicate in terms of asking them how you can support them during this time, and let them know how they can support your business as well.
If your business has never had an active online presence, this is the time to get onboard and make the shift. Your customers (existing and future) are all online, this time more than ever – and it’s your chance to build a long-lasting relationship with them.
The way you engage with your clients and put out relevant content on your website, social media and App will speak volumes of your business and help you in the long term.
As Vogue had rightfully quoted, “home is definitely the new playground”. When you reach out to customers in the comfort of their home, it adds to a rare sense of authenticity.
We’re all in this together and we’ll surely get through this pandemic together, stronger than ever.
Ankita works as a digital marketer at Como, specialized in social media and blog content. She holds a MBA degree in Marketing and Human Resources and is a part-time food influencer and podcaster.