Wednesday March 31, 2021
The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on business has been unlike anything our generation has ever seen. It has caused businesses to reevaluate their priorities, strategies, and even their fundamental operating procedures. It has closed the gap between major corporations and individual operations in the same industry. It has caused some businesses to flourish and some to fail. In short, COVID-19 has separated the wheat from the chaff.
While the effects of the pandemic has certainly been devastating for many reasons, it has also provided a fascinating case study for marketers.
What was the difference between the businesses that have been negatively affected and those that have been positively affected? How has the pandemic shifted the company goals and customer interactions? Is it possible for businesses to adapt to a purely online marketplace?
As 2021 begins, business owners are forced to face an entirely different reality than the one they faced less than a year ago: a purely digital customer experience.
Most businesses knew the importance of social marketing, but nobody could have imagined that nationwide shut-downs and stay-at-home orders would make social marketing the cornerstone of customer acquisition and sales conversions.
Companies around the world have been forced to accept a reality that all marketers knew was fast approaching: Social Marketing is the strongest bridge between brands and consumers.
In this unprecedented time, the companies that are flourishing are those that 1) already had a strong social infrastructure and/or 2) embraced the shift to a purely digital customer experience without hesitation.
Many companies saw this shift, but chose not to adapt, because they believed the pandemic, the stay-at-home orders, and the closure of storefronts would all be temporary. But let’s face it: this thing ain’t going nowhere anytime soon. Even when the world returns to “normal”, the business has been firmly imprinted with the necessity of social marketing. It is the new standard.
So as 2021 begins and the pandemic continues, the question remains: how can you, as a business owner, embrace this changing world and harness the power of social marketing?
Let’s Get Practical:
So how does this apply to you? As a marketer, I love the intricacies of the changing business landscape and the subtleties of social media strategy. But as a business owner, you need practical solutions to the issue of online marketing.
How do I use social media to grow my business in 2021?
Let’s talk about three social marketing trends that YOU can use to grow your business this year.
Unless your business was already completely online-based, COVID-19 regulations changed the way your customers interact with your business. Most storefronts were completely closed, service companies couldn’t shake hands or interact with their customers and their company, and everyone experienced severe disconnect from everyone around them.
This is why a social media (and more importantly, the way brands use it) has quickly become the #1 factor in the survival of a business. The brands that are truly harnessing its power are the one who can make their potential customers feel like they are interacting with the brand intimately without ever leaving their home.
Implementing this strategy is actually fairly simple. Post as much as you can about everything, especially behind-the-scenes operations. You may think it’s boring, but it helps your customers get to know who you are. You should also attempt to recreate in-person experiences digitally. One make-up brand allowed potential customers to book virtual consultations with their lead make-up artist. The more you can do to make the online experience of your brand feel like an in-person one, the better.
I have heard many business owners say that their company doesn’t need to have a social presence because their customer base is older and they aren’t really on social media like that. Well let me tell you a secret: they actually are. And if they weren’t before last year, they definitely are now.
Not only are Boomers and Gen X’ers on social media more than ever, they’re also making online purchasing decisions more than ever. That means if you can get your business in front of them, you can guide them from brand awareness to new customer completely online.
So if your business isn’t doing online marketing, but your competitor is, I wonder how many would-be customers you’re missing out on?
Tracking potential customers has become more advanced and more necessary than ever. You can measure customer responses to your ads, and use a strategy called retargeting to identify positive responses and show those potential customers an ad specifically made for them.
We like to describe this strategy as following potential customers around the internet.
If you’re not tracking customer data, then your leads will be unqualified, simple as that. Retargeting allows the marketer to narrow down leads to people who are truly interested, getting you quality leads that you can nurture into lifelong customers.