Even if business is not as usual during the COVID-19 pandemic, companies still need to communicate their value and services to stay in business. The good news is that the new normal offers a unique opportunity for brands, businesses, and communities to connect as humans. People need connection now more than ever, even if at a safe distance. People need support, understanding, education, resources, and all of that can be provided with a strategic and empathetic marketing strategy.
Marketing your business, even when it seems like you’re throwing content out into a black hole of breaking news, is a broad phrase that essentially lets your customers know you are here for them and appreciate their support in return. As small businesses are shifting budgets to meet economical hardship, we have found ways that you can support your customers and your own business by being neighborly in your marketing strategy. Don’t be afraid to test these smart and safe marketing strategies for the remainder of this COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Keep Social Media Continuously Up-to-Date
Sharing updates on social media is the most immediate, consistent way to communicate your business’s values. With more than three billion people around the world using social media every month, social platforms help you connect with your customers, increase awareness about your brand, and boost your leads and sales. Local and small businesses use social media as a way to let customers know they are open, clean, and eager for their business. However, you may be running low on content ideas as you are stuck working at home, and are forced to get creative.
Neighborly Tip: Try a COVID-19-Friendly Photoshoot
Pick a local café with outdoor seating or meet up at a local park, throw on your masks, and have a photoshoot that shows your team is alive and well.
At Digital Neighbor, we organized a seasonal branding shoot at King State Coffee in the Tampa Bay area, which allowed us to do a mix of outdoor shots and masked team members to keep the photoshoot fun and safe. As we share these photos on social media or use them on the website this season, it’s more timely and relevant for our audience.
Try to avoid a photoshoot with large groups (over 10 people) and group hugs in your photos. Don’t be shy to show off a cool mask and promote it as a symbol of community health and respect.
2. Get Creative With Your Online Presence
Use this time at home to think outside the box and get online. Especially for small to medium- sized businesses, it can be easy to be overpowered by the larger companies that have money to spend on advertising tactics such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads. Still, there are ways to identify yourself in a saturated digital market.
Digital Neighbor Tip: Create Consistent Blog Content
For our blog, we try to create consistent content every month for our blog on topics that are trending in search, using language that’s relatable for anyone who wants to learn something new about digital marketing.
True to our neighborly brand and values, we’ve come up with creative ways to highlight local businesses, shed light on their services and products, while also using them as examples for others to learn.
3. Plan a Virtual or Outdoor Event, Giveaway, or Social Live
While you might have been planning a big in-person gala or booking trips to network at conferences across the country, that most likely didn’t work out in 2020. You may be experiencing Zoom fatigue and worried about hosting *yet another* virtual event. Here are other ways to get your business in front of your audience that is safe and still engaging as well!
Digital Neighbor Tip: Try One of These COVID-19 Safe Gatherings
Virtual events are not dead — you just have to do them properly! Take the time to curate value to your event by adding a well-known speaker to your lineup or raffling off an exciting prize.
Looking to grow your social engagement? Go live on social media! Instagram and Facebook engagement is at an all-time high, so look into recruiting a partner business to collaborate with you and have a natural conversation. You can always record it and share it later!
For businesses like us in Florida with year-round warm weather, try an outdoor event! At Digital Neighbor, we didn’t let COVID-19 stop us from supporting our non-profit partners. We sponsored a golf tournament hosted by Jacob’s Touch Foundation, which is an organization dedicated to supporting children on the Autistic Spectrum. Golf is a great, safe way to have some fun outdoors and we ended up raising a lot of money for a great organization!
4. Be Open to a Business Pivot
With or without a pandemic, businesses must always be open to pivoting to their customers and clients’ needs. Of course with COVID-19, this year meant companies were required to adapt faster. Restaurants that were forced to shut-down turned to take out and delivery, many for the first time ever. Personal trainers that usually met with clients in-person had to shift to virtual sessions. By adapting to your audience’s needs, you prove your dedication to them.
Digital Neighbor Tip: Pivot Your Budget to Digital
If COVID-19 has freed up any overhead expenses such as employee wages or office upkeep, it may be worth considering shifting some of that spend to digital marketing in order to keep your business in business. Investing in your website, social media, and email marketing is essential during this pandemic, but don’t forget about also less known luxuries like SEO, Google Ads, or reputation management that can impact your business’s bottom line!
At Digital Neighbor, we’re ahead of the latest trends and changes in the digital marketing world, so we’re always finding new ways to support our clients and neighbors. We’d love to grab a virtual coffee and discuss ways to help your business grow during this COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.