The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed consumer behavior, forcing companies to reevaluate their business plans and marketing strategies. The social isolation has brought a lot of uncertainty to many businesses, particularly small businesses and startup companies. However, successful marketers see this challenge as an opportunity to pivot and provide more value to their target market.
Brands need to be savvy about this moment. So many people are staying home due to coronavirus which means they are spending more time online. As we all navigate this new normal, your business may have taken a financial hit but the opportunity to engage your customers online is greater than ever.
Here are some tips for improving your company’s user engagement during these unprecedented times:
1. Use More Interactive Platforms
In today’s social media-dominated landscape, brands must also be content creators. Now that people are stuck at home and using social media even more than before, brands and companies have even more opportunities to produce and share content with them. Of course other brands will be competing with you for people’s attention and you need to be able to cut through the clutter. Get creative with the content you put out. People are more likely to engage with something that’s interactive or tells a story versus a static photo. Create videos, host webinars, create contents and online panels and collaborate with other likeminded brands and individuals to tap into their audiences and expand your target market.
2. Show Your Customers That You Care
As you reevaluate your marketing strategies, make sure that your brand remains authentic. Show your customers that you genuinely care about them and aren’t just focused on generating sales. Engage with them and understand the challenges they are facing. What are their needs in this current climate and are you able to meet any of them in some way? If you’re a clothing brand, can you manufacture and sell masks? People are definitely in need of some laughter right now. Can you inject some humor into your online content? Knowing what your customers are going through allows you to customize your marketing strategy so it has the greatest impact.
3. Create a Safe Space for Your Customers
Now more than ever, it’s important for your customers to feel seen and heard. Be proactive in checking in with them to inquire about their concerns. One of the best ways you can encourage communication is by creating a forum for your community of customers. This could be a Facebook page or a group chat on Viber or Whatsapp. It should be a safe space for your target market to voice their concerns and connect with your brand and each other.
4. Plan Your Content for the Upcoming Months
When it comes to building engagement with customers, consistency is key. Plan ahead to create a library of content that you have at the ready to share every so often (weekly, daily, etc.)
This content should be creative and relevant to what your customers need during the ongoing crisis, and should vary in substance and style. If you’re a restaurant, you can create fun explainer videos showing users how to replicate recipes from home, and also share information about any foodbanks or charities you may be working with to keep Americans fed during this crisis.
Consider developing a concept that’s reoccurring. For example, if you own a gym, create a series of quick at-home work out videos showing your audience easy and effective ways they can stay in shape at home. This will help you build a relationship with consumers because you’ll become a reliable resource for them.
5. Give Back to Others
In times of crisis, like this pandemic, customers want to support companies that are giving back in some way, shape or form. Brands have an opportunity in this moment to step up and help medical professionals, essential workers and people in underserved communities in any way they can – be it a donation of money, products, services, a portion of proceeds or time.
Here are some of the ways various brands are giving back to customers and front line workers who are most affected by the coronavirus crisis:
- L’Occitane – the luxury skincare brand has donated hand cream to hospital workers to soothe dry and cracked hands due to excessive washing.
- Crocs – the shoe brand has pledged to donate 10,000 pairs of shoes daily to medical professionals working in response to COVID-19.
- DoorDash – the food delivery service has donated $500,000 to the Global Fund’s COVID-19 response.
- Lively – the bra company has donated over 30,000 bras to women in need across the U.S.
- Cottonelle – the toilet paper brand has donated $1 million and one million rolls of toilet paper to the United Way Worldwide COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery.
- Lush – the handmade soap brand has provided thousands of product donations to hospitals, homeless shelters and emergency workers across the U.S.
Improve User Engagement and Increase Your Bottom Line
Understanding your company’s role in this new economy and communicating that role effectively to customers is the key to survival. Follow these tips and use this time to improve and encourage user engagement, which can ultimately lead to increasing your bottom line.