This blog post is based on Jessica Gioglio’s presentation at our online conference, Printful Threads. Watch all the presentations on our YouTube channel.
We’ve all had to adapt to a new normal. That means that everything we do personally and professionally needs to adapt as well. During Covid-19, ecommerce store owners cannot just continue with business as usual.
If you haven’t already, you also need to adjust how you’re communicating with your customers on social media to reflect the present challenges the world is facing. Even as we navigate and eventually emerge from this global crisis, it’s a great time to use social media to grow your business. In this post, I’ll share my 7 top tips on how to use social media to keep your business healthy and thriving during this time.
I feel really grateful that during this time, I’m healthy and only suffering minor inconveniences. People like me need to remember that others are suffering due to losing loved ones, falling ill themselves, or dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety.
Maybe you’re experiencing some heightened emotions because you’re reliant on the income you receive from your online business, so remember to be kind to yourself too. When you feel ready, ask yourself some important questions that will help you shape your content and communications strategy during Covid-19 to ensure your business keeps moving forward.
British online fashion and cosmetic retailer ASOS is doing a great job at this. They created a 14-frame Instagram story addressing the situation and answering frequently asked questions from their customers including things like, “Can I still order from you?” “Will there be delays?” and “How are you making sure deliveries are safe?”
Remember that Twitter and Facebook have similar options for you to “pin” a priority post you want to make sure your audience can find easily. Include the most important and relevant information related to Covid-19 in these important spots.
Activewear leader Lululemon is doing a great job of using photos that respect our current reality.
The image above reflects the difference in Lululemon’s Instagram feed before and after Covid-19 outbreak. On the left, you see people exercising close together outdoors and in yoga studios. Their most recent content focuses on images of people doing yoga and relaxing at home with family and pets. They’ve also used their platform to share motivational tips with their customers.
Here’s a visual imagery checklist of things to consider when it comes to what kinds of images and art you’re sharing.
A great example here comes from outdoor retailer REI. Typically REI’s message centers around their #OptOutside hashtag—encompassing hiking, camping, kayaking, mountain biking, and more. During Covid-19, REI adjusted its tone of voice to be motivational and inspirational, focused on activities people can do during this time. These posts don’t push customers to buy products in a direct way, but instead provide ideas of how they might be able to use REI’s products during this time. They’ve also started a new campaign called #REIChallenge, which encourages customers to take part in tasks like running the tiniest mile (from one room to the other or around their backyard).
Here are a few guidelines to help you maintain a positive, lifestyle-focused voice in your posts.
There are a few companies doing an excellent job at this right now including Anthropologie. They’ve created Afternoons with Anthro, a series of video content on Instagram that includes styling guides, gift guides, and recipes. They include their own employees and social media influencers. Now’s a great time to leverage influencer or ambassador marketing if you can afford it, and to share your own tips. Are you a t-shirt seller who loves baking? Share your cookie recipe! People are looking for great advice right now no matter where it comes from.
Mattress company Casper is known for making mattresses cool on social media by talking about the wonders of sleep. They add humor to the topic, but they also tackle serious ideas like mindfulness and wellness. During Covid-19 they started an Instagram Live series speaking to experts about how to deal with sleep problems during uncertain times.
TOMS is known for giving back to communities around the world, but during Covid-19 they’ve gone above and beyond by setting up a global giving fund. For every 3 dollars, they make selling shoes, sunglasses, and other accessories, they donate 1 dollar to an impacted charity and are sharing this good news on their social media platforms.
H&M also started a new series on their Instagram and other channels. They’ve created a daily fashion theme and challenged their customers to participate. Participating in this or other audience participation campaigns could be a great opportunity for you to promote your business and make it onto a popular company’s platform.
Every company and individual has a story to tell. Seek & Swoon, a company that sells decorative throw blankets, does a great job of telling theirs. Whenever the company gains an influx of new followers, founder Jala Smith-Huys makes a post introducing herself and her business to her entire audience. This is a great idea for an ongoing content piece. People love to hear behind-the-scenes stories about brands and products they love.
You can tell your story on your personal social media channels as well as your business-focused ones. Your family and friends are probably some of your biggest cheerleaders, and are excited about what you’re up to. I’ve seen this in my own life as I moved to London from my hometown of Boston. Sharing what’s going on in my life helps me stay connected to my loved ones.
I’m sure your friends and families want to buy from you and support your business as well. Encourage them to do that!
Stories you can tell as a business owner include:
These posts show off the company’s products, and at the same time are incredibly human, reflective of the current moment, and bring to life some of the inspirational content we talked about earlier in this post.
If you’ve ever wanted to launch a podcast or try TikTok, don’t wait—go for it. I’ve played around on TikTok myself and I love the organic virality of the videos. My best video only has about 3,500 views, but it’s relatively easy to achieve viral success. Many businesses have built huge followings on this platform.
Wondering what kind of content works best on TikTok?
This is still a great time to run and grow your online store. Follow these tips as the situation continues to progress and stay informed, and you might just see growth in your follower counts and your sales. Good luck adapting to the new normal!
Caroline is a former journalist turned marketer. She is a content marketing specialist at Printful and is becoming increasingly obsessed with social proof.