In the unparalleled world of COVID-19, individuals are flooded with choices: whether it be what to eat or what church service to watch. While there are marketing strategies to get consumers to purchase products to immediately increase sales, it may be a more beneficial to engage with low spending consumers in the short term, so that businesses can keep them for the long term.
Social media game strong
During this time, it is crucial to keep social media posts constant and consistently more than ever before. A recent podcast by eMarketer reports that social media outlets such as Facebook have seen a significant rise in usage. The reality is that individuals have more time on their hands, which is why it is important for businesses to utilize their free time to create content for their social media channels. In a recent interview with the hospitality net, Leland Pillsbury stated “Customers are going to come back...And if you allow your competitors to reengage with the guests before you do, you'll suffer.”
The average consumer is spending fewer dollars and spending more time online. In this scenario, it may be more important to exchange dollars for likes, shares, or comments. Getting to know your audience and their preferred platforms are key. With the right type of content, businesses can be continuously be advertised or talked about with a flow of likes, shares, and comments.
One thing to note is that the social media used by your segment may not be ideal for a business, but if there was ever a time to be dangerous and creative, it is now. It also may be smart to utilize chats and live videos to keep your business in the spotlight, while showing customers that the business entity indeed has a soul. Some businesses are opting to teach their customers how to make their signature items at home.
This was the case for Disney, who recently released a recipe to make your own version of their famous Dole Whip. If this is the route the business chooses to take, it would be wise not to give out the secret recipe to your business’ “stars” or “cash cows.” For businesses such as coffee shops, it can be as simple as a barista showing how to grind your own coffee beans from home.
STOP #Keeping up with the Kardashians; START #Keeping it simple
In a fast-changing, evolving world, it may be difficult and overwhelming to keep up with trends and content styles. One great way to create thought-provoking content is to create content that simply empathizes with the viewer. People want to feel that they are cared for and that you understand them. Businesses have done this in multiple ways throughout the pandemic season.
Security company ADT, for example, recently launched a commercial featuring a family staying at home and ended the commercial saying, “helping you stay safe while you protect the world.” While complex commercials or videos are not always possible, a simpler approach may be the route to go.
Coca-Cola recently achieved this with an ad in Times Square that featured its logo with spaced out letters. The ad was followed with the caption: “Staying apart is the best way to stay united.”
Whereas ADT and Coca-Cola may have marketing teams that create clever content, the average business may not. In this case, it may be wise to do what thousands of businesses are doing: creating simple ads thanking frontline workers. A great example of this is found in a recent McDonalds Instagram story.
The primary goal during this pandemic is to have interaction be the reaction to the content created by the firm. When indeed consumers begin trading in their post engagements for dollars (like they did pre-pandemic), businesses want to be on the minds of the consumer. In a recent Facebook-live video, Assimilation Director for Eastside Christian Greg Curtis said, “there is lots of competition and good content out there, which is why I believe that engagement will win in the end.”
Hashed out thoughts
What social media platforms do you believe are inappropriate for a business to create engaging content? Why?
With the rise of social media usage during the pandemic, what role do you see social media playing for businesses post-pandemic? Will businesses without social media content even survive?
About the author
Steven Valenzuela is a senior at California State Polytechnic University Pomona. He has over 15 years of work experience in the hospitality industry, which gives him a deep knowledge of hotel food outlets, food trends, fine dining, beer, and wines. He plans to utilize what he learns from the Collins College of Hospitality Management in the areas of marketing and revenue management.
· Durso, Christopher. (2020, April 7). Curate Presents: How to Be a Hospitality Marketing Leader During COVID-19. Available at https://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4097999.html
· eMarketer (2020, April 20) How COVID-19 Will Change Facebook and Google, an Ad-Free and ‘Co-Watching’. March 30, 2020. Available at https://soundcloud.com/behind-the-numbers/how-covid-19-will-change-facebook-and-google-an-ad-free-internet-and-co-watching-march-30-2020
· Greg Curtis. (2020, March 31). Facebook.com/GregCurtis63[Facebook-live Video] Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/Gregcurtis63/videos/10222863425393588/
· McAteer, Oliver. (2020, March 22). Coke goes big with COVID social distancing on Times Square. Available at https://www.campaignlive.com/article/coke-goes-big-covid-social-distancing-times-square/1677909
· Sheetz, Janelle. (n.d.). Foodies! There’s a Brand New Step-By-Step Cooking at. Home Feature on the Disney World App!. Retrieved from: https://www.disneyfoodblog.com/tag/dole-whip-recipe/
· [ADT]. (2020, April 2). Safe at Home. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lq3znUG8Gto