Savvy Brands Flock to Localized Social Media Marketing to Survive COVID-19

Stay Connected to Your Community During COVID-19 with a Localized Social Media Strategy

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having a profound impact on businesses, especially those that depend on foot traffic such as restaurants, gyms, bars, salons, etc. In this time of uncertainty, many brands are putting a pause on all marketing and advertising campaigns. This certainly is the less risky road -- we all know a campaign that is not executed carefully, particularly at this time, can come off as insensitive. However, what many don't realize is that not communicating with customers right now may be the riskiest of all strategies. Savvy marketing leaders of multi-location brands are turning to localized social media marketing to continue building their local presence and communicating with customers while their competitors are dormant. Some brands are running pay-it-forward campaigns, allowing customers to purchase a gift card to fuel health professionals in their community; others are offering gift cards with purchase, to thank customers for braving their isolation to pick up a food order.

Finding the perfect balance in your message and getting the word out is critical. That's where social media comes into the picture - allowing a multi-location brand to make lemonade out of lemons in this time of crisis, and strengthen your relationship with loyal customers new and old.

Five reasons to consider localized social media

1 - Reach customers who are not looking

Consumers assume you are closed right now and, unfortunately, they are probably not driving past your business to see that "We're Open" sign. You have to reach consumers in their homes and social media is by far the most effective way to tell them you are still open for business.

Facebook usage is through-the-roof at the moment as consumers pour over social media and messaging to stay connected with friends, family, news, and even the brands they love as social distancing measures have them increasingly confined to the four walls of their homes.

2 - Stretch your shrinking budget

While many of your competitors are hitting pause on national ad campaigns, savvy brands are putting their ad dollars to work wisely on a local level. Localized social media marketing is a more finely targeted tactic that takes advantage of your local presence in multiple markets. With localized social media you can micro-target your advertising dollars and make what is likely a vastly diminished budget stretch.

Run Facebook ads targeted specifically to customers who are near stores that are still operating in some capacity. MomentFeed customers are able to target locations by the level of service they're still offering or by changed hours of operations. This capability ensures that real, nearby customers are kept in the loop on your business and its current level of operation.

3 - Get the word out about discounts and deals

During this time of consumer financial uncertainty, it usually takes an extra incentive to motivate customers to support your business, not to mention it drives loyalty among consumers who want to know you are supporting them. Whether you are offering promotional gift cards with purchase or a discount on orders, make sure customers nearby know about your promotions through paid social.

Check out this blog post for creative ideas from other brands that have done everything from pay-it-forward coffee drinks for health professionals to toilet paper with purchase.

4 - Ensure information around your brand is accurate

In the current climate there is a lot of misinformation floating around on social media. While you can update local listings and local pages, if customers aren't visiting those pages they won't necessarily know you are open for business. Worse, if people are posting misinformation, you could lose out on potential business.

Monitoring and responding to local social posts using a platform like MomentFeed is important to mitigate this problem. Another way is to leverage organic and paid social to make sure accurate information about your business's current operational details gets to the nearby customers and potential customers.

5 - Ease customers back into your stores as we come out of this crisis

Local organic and paid social will be particularly important once we start to ease our way back to a normal routine and businesses start to come back online. It's not all going to happen at once. Brands are going to need to target specific locations and markets as they reopen for normal business again. You'll want to encourage former customers to renew purchasing habits, keep connections with new customers, and perhaps even enjoy a bounce in foot-traffic as people revel in their freedom to visit local businesses again.

How Social Amplifier from MomentFeed can help you connect with customers locally

Unlike Facebook's native ad functionality, MomentFeed clients can easily run Facebook ads targeted specifically to customers near their locations. They can target locations by the level of service they're still offering or changed hours of operations. MomentFeed is also an easy way to get up and running on Facebook ads, with very little training required or the need to rely on an agency.

MomentFeed's organic social media capability allows marketers to create posts for multiple locations at scale. Posts can be grouped if there is any variability in operations. So for example, a marketer could create one set of posts for all stores that have a drive-thru, and another set of posts for stores that don't have a drive-thru.

*New* to MomentFeed Social Amplifier, customers can now take advantage of Google Posts. Google opened its API for GMB Local Posts listings so multi-location businesses can publish posts informing consumers of new updates and changes related to COVID-19. The MomentFeed team has acted quickly to help its customers take advantage of this new capability. Customers can create Local Posts from Social Media Manager using the create a post wizard and content library This will enable customers to respond quickly to changes on the ground and easily push updates out to their locations.