July 1, 2020
COVID-19 has significantly affected the operations of both big and small businesses. The devastating impact that the ongoing pandemic left on the global economy has made it even more difficult for enterprises and startups to survive and continue operating.
Thankfully, the internet has consistently been a reliable partner that enabled businesses to stay afloat amid crises. It currently serves as the lifeline for businesses to continuously engage with their clients.
On the other hand, the advantages brought by the internet also comes with the responsibility of each business owner to properly leverage these benefits in order to boost engagement from their target audience and maintain their relevance, especially since it is to be expected that the pandemic will also cause the increase of new businesses selling goods and offering similar services online.
That said, here are four simple yet effective strategies that businesses can adopt to boost their online presence as the world transitions into the so-called “new normal”.
Sharing content comprising business ideas, tips and tricks, referrals, and other information related to business is one of the most typical methods used to entice readers to follow and support a business.
A more creative approach to the usual practice of relying on online content would involve focusing on content that readers can relate to. At the same time, businesses should work on creating content that can penetrate readers on a more personal level. Go beyond advertising pitches and spiels meant for sales. Take time to lend an ear to audience grievances and show a more “human” side to the brand.
Try sharing stories about how the brand copes during the health crisis. An educational yet laughable tone is also highly encouraged to help ease the seriousness. If possible, make the content more personalized by encouraging employees or staff to contribute as well. They can share a short video of themselves depicting how they are coping with the quarantine measures implemented in their area. Another option would be to have employees collaborate and share tips on how to make a work-from-home setup easier for those who are new to it.
Sharing personal content meant to connect with the readers does not only boost customer engagement, but it also makes customers identify better with the brand and helps build trust.
Social media is one of the best mediums of connection when it comes to boosting engagement rates. But with too many people commenting on a business's advertisements and posts and sending direct messages (DMs), connecting to each and every potential lead and customer can be time-consuming.
Operations may have slowed down for some businesses, but that does not mean business owners should also lessen the time they spend communicating with their customers. Instead, this is the best chance to increase engagement with customers and build a closer connection with them.
Of course, the expectation that all messages and comments will be answered in a span of 24 hours would be asking for the impossible to happen. The simple act of replying or even liking comments is enough to establish visibility and foster trust among customers. This is especially true when an individual mentions the brand in their post. Take time to reply to each message and understand the concerns raised by each customer.
Leaving a thank you comment will also make them feel appreciated and effectively increase the brand's likeability even to customers who are difficult to please.
Nothing beats word of mouth when it comes to building brand visibility.
Users tend to get influenced by the feedback and testimonials sent by customers or buyers who have tried the product or service they wish to avail. Both positive and negative customer reviews can affect another customer’s buying decision.
There are certain ways for customers to leave their feedback. They can either make use of business review websites such as Yelp, Google Reviews, and Business.com or they can leave their feedback directly on the business's website and social media pages. Feedback and reviews can also be in the form of a text or video (as in the form of test or trial videos of certain products uploaded on a customer’s YouTube channel or social media page).
It can be quite difficult to request constructive feedback from customers, especially if they generally do not have anything “negative” to say or if they find it hard to come up with any sort of imperfection that the business can improve on. The truth is purely positive feedback is not good for the business’s growth. Polarity can be a good thing, and this is why a good mix of positive reviews and negative yet highly objective feedback is more ideal. It is also for that particular reason that businesses should start incentivizing customer feedback. Offer customers with rewards or incentives when they leave feedback after each purchase. Rewards and incentives can be in the form of a discount code that they can use for their next purchase, points that can be used to redeem items, and even free monthly eMagazine or email marketing subscriptions that will give them a head’s up for the business's upcoming promotions.
A consistently updated blog included in a business’s website is a valuable asset that will help increase visibility and traffic.
Use this as a foundation to leverage a better connection between the business and its followers. Businesses can ask for guest writers to contribute more content and significantly improve and grow the brand’s existing blog page. Businesses can also go further by interviewing past customers and organizing enriching discussions or podcasts with business owners in the same niche.
The only thing to remember is to determine the right individuals and partners to approach and collaborate with. Work with people who share the business’s core objectives, but don’t close doors on those with opposing yet still highly viable viewpoints. The more diverse a content or discussion it is, the better the chances of a particular brand in establishing a non-biased and reliable image.
The COVID-19 “saga” may not yet be over, but businesses should not let it disrupt their momentum. Building a business's social proof is truly more daunting during a crisis as widespread as the dilemmas caused by the coronavirus. However, it is also important to make the best out of an unpleasant situation. Customers' demands may have deviated from the norm, but learning new ways on how to adapt to it can help businesses stay afloat even during the quarantine blues.
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