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Natalie Charles

As we kick off the new year with another national lockdown, many brands might be wondering how to keep their customers engaged online.

At times like these, the best thing a business can do is to be present. Though your doors may be closed, your brand should be wide open and making every effort to connect with your customers as much as possible.

According to data compiled by product discovery platform Influenster, 82% of UK consumers have, not surprisingly, increased their social media usage since the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this article, you’ll discover 4 simple ways in which you can use social media to keep your customers engaged while we wait out this latest lockdown. We’ll also share some great examples of creative ad campaigns that entertained, informed and inspired during previous lockdowns.

“In a UK survey carried out in March 2020, 60% of respondents said they believed that social media companies should provide fact-checked content to help people cope with the coronavirus outbreak. Other important roles for social media, according to respondents, were screening “fake news” and helping communities to connect with each other.”

– Joseph Johnson, Statista

 

4 easy ways to connect with your customers on social media

1 Keep on top of questions and comments

Depending on the nature of your business and brand, your customers may have some specific concerns or questions during this time, and your response could be the difference between losing and retaining a customer.

Lockdown aside, you should pretty much always be responding to your customers on social media. Even (some might say especially) negative comments should be replied to, as they give you an opportunity to rectify a customer’s negative experience, showcase your empathy as a brand, and make any necessary improvements to how your business operates.

2. Create engaging content

Get creative with your content offering. Social network platforms are the best places to push most types of content, from blogs and guides to videos and infographics. You already know your customers are scrolling through their social feeds, so why not create high quality content for them to engage with? The content you put out can be as informative and helpful, or as whimsical and amusing as you like!

Here are some ideas for social content:

  • Interview influencers, inspirational people or industry experts
  • Pose questions and create polls for your customers to interact with
  • Post instructional videos
  • Share testimonials and reviews
  • Create contests with prizes
  • Encourage user generated content such as pictures or anecdotes

3. Be transparent and honest

Don’t pretend to know what you don’t know. In the current climate, most of us don’t know what returning to normal might look like when it eventually happens. If you commit to honest, up-front communication with your customers, then you can’t be caught out or held accountable for misinformation.

As a business, it’s always a good idea to be transparent about how you operate. Right now, your business probably can’t operate as normal, but as long as you update your customers as and when you have more information, you needn’t worry.

4. Showcase your humanity

We’re all people and – brace for the cliché – we’re all in this together. The brands that win at social media are those putting out posts that are clearly written by humans and not by heartless profit-hunting machines. Don’t shy away from compassion, empathy or benevolence in your social media communications. Your customers want to see you showcasing those traits because it inspires trust and strengthens their loyalty to your brand.

Take inspiration from what other brands are doing

Since March 2020, we’ve seen some inspiring, witty, hilarious, and helpful social posts and ad campaigns from brands all over the world, and you probably have too. Here are 3 of my favourites:

Denny’s

Denny's Twitter post on downloadable backgrounds

This light-hearted Twitter post from Denny’s back in March 2020 was timely, relatable, and most likely brought at least a half-smile to the faces of many.

 

Nightflix Cinema

Nightflix Cinema post encouraging Christmas cheer during the holiday period

This simple yet effective post shows Nightflix Cinema engaging with their audience on a human level, acknowledging the difficulty of the situation but still attempting to encourage Christmas cheer and camaraderie.

 

British Gas

British Gas tweet during first lockdown supporting people in their own homes

During the first national lockdown, British Gas provided a series of instructional videos on social media to help their customers solve common problems themselves while the company were carrying out essential repairs only.

Why these campaigns worked

In terms of engaging customers, the 3 examples above worked like a charm because:

They’re not ‘hard push’ sales messages

No pushy jargon, no forceful calls to action, no hard sells. Just a straight up message with no agenda except to help customers in one way or another – even if it’s just by making them smile.

They’re all about adding value

Advice, humour, encouragement, inspiration: these are the most valuable things a brand can give to their customers in tandem with their products or services – not just in the middle of a pandemic, but always.

They showcase the brand’s humanity

It’s always nice to be reminded that behind each brand post on social media sits a human being. Sometimes it’s easy to disassociate with brands that have adopted a detached, almost mechanical tone that’s clearly only intent on driving sales.

Give your people what they want

When it comes to putting out quality and engaging content, you must know 2 things:

1) Where your customers hang out online

2) What they want to see

The screenshot below taken from the Digital 2020 April Statshot Report details the types of content internet users want right now and might give you some good ideas. However, be sure to conduct your own additional research to make sure that your brand is putting out the most valuable content on the most relevant platforms.

Image on the types of content people want during Covid-19

Source: We Are Social and Hootsuite Digital 2020 April Statshot Report

Find out what’s being said about your brand

Social listening, or ‘social media monitoring’, is a method of research that yields valuable insight into how your brand is perceived and what people say about it online. Social listening also allows you to uncover key topics, current events, or sector-specific news that may impact your brand.

Check out our free Social Listening guide for more information.

Social Listening guide

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