How can businesses use social media to connect during self isolation?

In these uncertain and changeable times, businesses staying connected with their customers is critical. The Government’s latest advice calls for longer periods of self isolation and increased social distancing, so the challenge of reaching your customers is only going to become more difficult. However, social media can help and now is the time to embrace all the functionality that each channel offers.    

Facebook 

Facebook Live is an ideal way of broadcasting to your customers in real time. It can provide a behind-the-scenes view to customers, allowing you to talk directly to them about how your business is operating and any changes you are planning to make.

Facebook Live recommendations

Tell your followers in advance when you’re going live and let them know what content to expect. As your followers join you live, make sure you say ‘hello’ to them (it’s important to make them feel at ease) and create a two way conversation by encouraging questions and responding to their comments. Read the ‘room’ in terms of the length of each session – not all live broadcasts have to be very long.

LinkedIn 

As business networking moves to a virtual platform, now is the time to review your LinkedIn connections. The LinkedIn network is most effective when users have relevant connections, however it’s not just about removing the irrelevant connections: take a look at your ‘people you may know’ section, there may be some great connections hiding there.

Consider staff training

All functions of your business (sales, marketing, supply chain, buying etc.) may find themselves turning to LinkedIn. Ask yourself (and your teams) how comfortable they are with the platform, their understanding of it and how they foresee utilising it in the coming weeks and months. If staff need training, arrange it ASAP so that they’re ready to go.

Instagram

Stories are hugely popular on Instagram and there are some easy wins to make sure you get the most out of them.

Instagram Stories tips

  • utilise features such as polls, questions, sliders and music to make your Stories interactive
  • include hashtags and a location tag to make your account more discover-able 
  • remember you can have too much of a good thing. If your Stories dashes are in excess of 10+ then followers may skip your account altogether 

Take the discussion online

Instagram Live offers a great option of inviting someone to your broadcast. If business events are cancelled or postponed, why not go live and discuss your sector, business and operational topics online with other businesses?  

Twitter

With a limit of 280 characters, Twitter is your ‘go to’ for snappy, informative messages. There’s also generally less cause for concern regarding over posting on Twitter, so this is great channel to keep customers and clients up-to-date about your business operating times and services. 

Make yourself discover-able 

Hashtags used to be a core part of being found on Twitter and whilst they still have a place, shareable content and active engagement with other accounts plays a big role. If your content is informative, helpful and high quality, it’s more likely to be retweeted. Make sure to engage with other relevant accounts in your sector. Obviously don’t spam their posts, but if you can add a relevant comment or best wishes message this will help you be discovered more quickly.

A final thought

Despite the uncertain times and as more people enter self isolation, for many businesses, it’s ‘business as usual’ where possible. Don’t completely abandon your ongoing social media plan, but be careful with scheduled posts. One major online fitness retailer (we won’t name and shame) allowed a scheduled post about the London Marathon to go out an hour after it had been postponed!

Nigel ReeceManaging Director

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