The way you do business has changed as a result of the unprecedented COVID-19 environment. You’re likely working from home, clients aren’t coming into the office, and you aren’t going out and networking over lunch or during a round of golf like you’ve done in the past. In a short period of time, business, worldwide, has changed. As we find new ways to connect with clients and prospects, you likely need to change your social media strategy, too.
As companies try and gauge the impact of COVID-19 on revenues, marketing spending in firms is being cut. More than half of companies have cut their marketing budgets, and another half anticipate their marketing spend to be further reduced. Forrester predicts that marketing spending as a whole will be down by nearly 30 percent by the end of next year.
Two areas of marketing spending that are increasing slightly include paid digital advertising and video. Let’s explore how these two tactics can boost your social media efforts.
Test social advertising
A social media ad is the new “nice to meet you” handshake. It’s a good way to introduce yourself to new people you’d like to do business with, within a price point that fits your budget.
Known as pay-per-click or PPC, you will pay a fee every time someone clicks on your ad. Another option is to pay for every 1,000 people who see the ad, it’s called cost per 1,000 impression or CPM. You can set a budget, which means your ad is turned off once you’ve hit that dollar limit in a day. This gives you complete control over the amount spent.
Companies use social media advertising primarily to increase brand awareness and/or to promote a specific product or service. With this tool, you can do the following:
- Target specific types of people. The major platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn let you pick from a number of criteria for the people you want to target. This includes geography, education, job title, industry, interests, and much more. For example, if you want to target dentists who graduated from a specific dental school and reside in Southern California, you can target just this group.
- See what’s working. Sticking with the dentists for an example, you can run a series of ads (called A/B testing) and see which one they respond to the most. You can also find out if the dentists are more responsive on Facebook or LinkedIn. That information allows you to stop what’s not working well and go all in to increase your overall ROI.
- Reach people faster. Setting up ads on social media can be done rather quickly and by you right now. However, there is a benefit to outsourcing this function to people who know what social media channel to use and what type of ads work best. Plus, the experts spend time each day overseeing your ads when your calendar may not be that flexible. Their fees are reasonable; ad prices themselves will be the biggest ticket item.
- Capture information for further marketing. Perhaps the dentist doesn’t need your help right now or what you are selling has a longer sales cycle. That’s when your social advertising goal is to get them to connect with you in some way now, so you can continue to market to them until they are ready to buy. Social ads can garner “I need help now” or “I’d like to get to know you better and see what else you have to say” responses. Both are valuable.
Figure out what social media advertising can replace in your current marketing plan, and give it a try. Look at all the money you are not spending at this time to attend in-person events and redirect some of it to this tactic instead. It’s likely a good way to keep leads coming in when your tried-and-true methods of the past are not possible.
Use more video
Video usage has been on the rise for years. However, it exploded in 2020. When we aren’t able to meet and talk with people in person, video is a great alternative, and since video conferencing is becoming commonplace, people are much more comfortable in front of the computer camera. Here’s are some considerations for video:
- People buy from people they know. The best video is when you talk directly to your audience. Feeling gutsy? Then do something interactive and don’t just talk to your screen. Not all video has to be high production, but it should balance professionalism, while letting people see the real you. It’s when they feel like they know you that they will reach out for help, regardless of whether they’ve ever met you in person before.
- Go live on Facebook. Does recording a video seem too complex? Then log into your Facebook account and click live video. All you have to do is type in what you’re going to talk about and then click go live. If you make the video public, you can also share it on other channels. There are also platforms such as Socialive that help you increase the production value, prerecord your video, and push it out across a number of social media channels.
- Post video on YouTube. Did you realize that YouTube is actually the second biggest search engine in the world behind Google? That means people go there and search for information about everything under the sun. Videos posted there also rank well in other search engine results. A video you post there can be shared on your social media channels, embedded in your website, and used to generate leads. That’s a lot of return on your video investment.
- Have a plan for video. Just like any marketing tactic, you should start with a strategy. Know how you’re going to use your video. Recording a video alone is not enough. Besides sharing on social, are you going to post a transcript of it on your website, write a blog post about it, or turn it into an article you try and place in an industry publication? Having a strategy will get you better results.
- Consider production help. You can do video yourself, but editing in your branding and a clear call to action can take your video to the next level. Why should your clients use you for their tax planning and preparation, and not do it themselves? It’s because you bring something to the process that adds value. The same holds true for videographers, but don’t let that added cost prevent you from using video. If you have the budget, it’s a good way to enhance what you’re doing to produce a stronger return.
There is not a one-size-fits-all type of video, so you have flexibility to make it your own to drive whatever it is you’re promoting. As a general rule of thumb, though, no one likes to feel sold to, so focus on selling through education. Prospects will seek you out.
Take some risk
Unfortunately, there is no roadmap for how to market your firm during a worldwide health issue like COVID-19. While we love to rely on best practices, you will have to take some risk and try something new. By using social media in new ways, you could be setting the profession’s next benchmark.