The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on small, service-based businesses that would typically rely on face-to-face interactions and in-person transactions. While some places are slowly reopening, others are facing fear and uncertainty amid rumors that a second shutdown might be looming on the horizon.
If you are a small business owner, this is the best time to re-evaluate your marketing strategies and make pandemic-proof adaptations while staying in touch with your customers and their needs. It is also important to be sensitive to what people might be feeling during these times.
With that in mind, we wanted to share 5 fundamental steps you need to take in order to generate leads from social media during a pandemic and keep your business afloat.
#1: Get a Deeper Understanding Of Your Target Audience
This has been said before, but it is worth a reminder: if you are selling to everyone, you are selling to no one. The more details you know about your ideal client, the better you will be able to tailor your marketing efforts and your offers to attract more of that type of client.
Who are you selling to? Your answer to this question should take up more than a single line. If you are only focusing on shallow demographics such as age, gender, and location, you are leaving a lot on the table.
Diving into psychographics is the real secret here. And when we say “diving”, we mean it. Get into your customer’s head. Understand what they want, why they come to your business, what is the solution they are looking for. Most importantly, truly understand their problem and pain points.
A pain point is a problem, worry, frustration, or fear that keeps your customer up at night. It is of an emotional nature rather than rational. In the middle of a pandemic, your customer may have new pain points, new concerns, and new challenges to overcome. Your marketing and messaging needs to reflect that. Why? Because when you know what your customers dream of and what problems they want to solve, what concerns they have, and what they wish they could change, you are able to fine-tune your strategy and position your business as the ultimate solution to their problems.
#2: Put Your Business Where Your Customers Are Looking
Now that you have a deep understanding of your ideal customer’s profile, you can evaluate the best channels to market your business. During the pandemic, more companies are seeing an increase in traffic on their social media channels as compared to their websites. Think hundreds of thousands of eyeballs spending hours scrolling through Facebook and Instagram.
This is the time to ramp up your social media presence and have a solid content marketing plan in place. You will want to keep your business active on the channels your particular audience will be hanging out at and engaging with the most. This is different for each business.
You will want to have a well-built Facebook Page at the very least. Initially, you can test which channel will give you the most results by posting across platforms and measuring response rates. Then, you will focus your efforts on where you see the most engagement and reactions.
#3: Educate, Entertain & Inspire
You need to adopt a content marketing strategy that accounts for the new challenges your customers are facing. It is also important to keep in mind that your main goal is not to generate short-term sales but to cultivate long-term relationships that will generate loyalty and repeat business when the time is right.
While you can and should post sales-related content and offers, make sure this type of content does not make up the majority of what you are publishing. By posting about topics that educate, entertain or inspire your customers, you will have an opportunity to create brand awareness, show customers you are an expert in your field, generate trust, and show that you truly care about them and their challenges. With consistency, you will be able to gently persuade them to take you up on your offer.
With social media, using content is a great way to generate warm leads that are interested in what you can offer. Pro Tip: Take advantage of gated content – offer them an informative piece such as a mini-course, webinar, exclusive article, or video in return for their email address and/or contact information.
#4: Host Virtual Events
This is the absolute best time to organize a virtual event for your audience. They are already stuck at home. They already spend hours scrolling through social media. Why not create a webinar, live cast, or virtual workshop to bring your business solutions to your customers in their homes?
With platforms such as Zoom, it is easy to create a virtual event where you can interact with customers, share your expertise, and generate new leads. This is a fantastic way to grow your email list and gain followers for your social media channels. You can also encourage engagement and shares by making replays available. Your event should be mostly value-adding, informative content but you can also test offers, discount codes, and exclusive sales.
The Bottom Line: Grow Through Your Challenges
These are trying times for everyone, but there is always opportunity in a crisis if you know where to look. An effective content marketing plan coupled with social media strategies will allow your business to stay connected with customers, generate and nurture leads, and keep your business thriving.
If you need help adapting your marketing efforts during the pandemic, or want to see results but don’t know where to start, contact us at BizLeads today for a free marketing consultation.