When the COVID-19 pandemic began, no one could have imagined that it would look like this.
But here we are. People are going back into lockdown, businesses are being forced to shut their doors again and small businesses are hurting the most.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 9 months since the coronavirus pandemic started. There have been ups and downs for sure, but with a second wave crashing down on so many different places around the world, it’s important to stay positive and think of ways to adapt.
We said it before and we’ll say it again,
Your customers aren’t gone, they’re just at home.
We know that it’s been an emotionally (and financially) draining past few months for so many small businesses out there, and that’s why we wanted to put together this list of ways for you to reach your customers online without spending a dime.
Let’s dive right in.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Okay, so this one may seem obvious, but there are so many ways that you can take advantage of social media marketing for free.
About 42% of the population uses social media every day; that’s 3.2 billion users. Crazy, right? With so many people online every day, you have the ability to reach and engage with a (basically) infinite number of users. Even without running paid ads.
With so many different networks and platforms, social media is truly a jack of all trades. Here are some easy ways that you can take advantage of social media marketing without spending any money:
With more and more people stuck at home, live videos have become a super popular way for companies and influencers to interact with their audiences’.
Almost every social network has a live streaming option these days and for good reason. In a recent survey, 82% of people said that they prefer to watch a live video from a brand over viewing standard social media posts and 80% said that they would rather watch a live video from a brand than read one of their blog posts.
Honestly, the stats speak for themselves, but if you’re not quite sure what to stream, consider the following:
– Behind-the-scenes processes
– Company updates
The possibilities are endless!
(Also, for those of you who are a bit camera shy but don’t want to miss out on all the hype, give Facebook Premieres a try)
How many times do we need to talk about the importance of video marketing before it gets old?
Video marketing will never get old. There’s a reason why people (including ourselves) rave about how effective a good marketing video can be, especially on social media.
According to Small Business Trends, social videos were found to generate 12 times the shares than both text and images combined. That’s a lot of engagement.
There are so many free tools out there to help you create awesome videos for your social channels. Although, if you are willing to spend a little bit of money, (in our totally unbiased opinion) nothing beats Promo.com.
So if you’re looking for ideas on where to start or what types of videos to make, here’s how (and why) to master video marketing while you’re homebound.
Yet another ‘no brainer’ that so many marketers tend to forget about or place on the back-burner.
According to Hootsuite, 62% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Instagram Stories.
Some ways to reach your customers and get engagement on your stories are:
– Q&A sessions
– Behind the scenes (BTS) content
– Introducing a new product or event
– Influencer takeovers (get an influencer to take over your company’s stories for the day)
The list goes on and on, but these will hopefully point you in the right direction. If you’re looking for more ideas, check out our complete Instagram Stories guide.
(P.S. if you’re feeling brave, try out Instagram reels)
Use COVID-19 Hashtags
Using COVID-19 hashtags (or any hashtags really) are a great free way to increase your visibility. Statistics show that using at least one hashtag can increase engagement by 12.6%, according to data from Socialbakers.
While they may not have a ton of impact on the engagement or click-through rates of your posts, they have a huge effect on the discoverability of your content, which raises overall engagement and can help you grow your following.
The reason why we said COVID-19 hashtags instead of just any hashtag in general is because it’s really important to put out relevant, relatable content. Not to mention that COVID-19 related hashtags are some of the most popular at the moment.
Just make sure that your hashtags aren’t disconnected from your content. We would all probably agree that it would be a little weird to see a picture of a puppy with the hashtag #COVID19, but it would be far less strange if it said something like #QuarantineBuddy.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Email Marketing
People often brush off the idea that email marketing is still important when there are so many shiny, new platforms popping up. But the truth is, according to many marketers, email marketing is the most impactful marketing channel.
Odds are you’ve accumulated a list of email addresses, and if you haven’t, it’s never too late to start. So get out there and let your customers know that you’re thinking about them.
You can start by sharing company updates, important information, or just send a quick email to check in and make sure that they know you’re still there.
Pro tip: Try adding videos to your emails for better open rates and CTR’s
Update Your Business’s Information on Google
So easy, yet so forgotten. We can’t stress this enough – make sure that all of your information is up to date on Google and other search engines!
So oftentimes we’ll look up a restaurant or a store, only to realize that the hours are not updated. Not only is that super frustrating for the customer, but it also loses the company business.
Here are some basic areas of information that you should verify:
– Update store hours
– Make sure your website and phone number are correct
– Update your description to include any special offers or changes due to COVID-19
Updating your business’s information on Google takes barely any time and by doing it, your customers will easily be able to get answers and access correct information about your business without having to put in any unnecessary effort.
Strengthen Your Online Presence
No matter what you’re selling or who you’re selling to, it’s never been more important to maintain an online presence.
Just remember that you’re not alone. We’re all in this together. For more resources and help navigating these uncertain times, visit our COVID-19 SMB Support Hub.