Social Media as a Pandemic Marketing Tool

Social Media Marketing has been a buzzphrase for many industries for the last decade but never as prevalent as it has been in the last two years. The onset of Covid forced many companies to rethink their strategies and take a deeper look into exactly how they go to market. Consumers all over the globe were forced to shop online for everything from day-to-day grocery needs and household goods to office furniture and home improvement supplies. Advertising spends shot up when the need to reach the ideal customer because of the challenge du jour.

Social media, a long-time darling of the younger generations, became a major player company with a focus on consumer goods. TikTok rose to its glory during the pandemic largely due to the impact of millennials and their need to connect to peers after being shut in and isolated for months. The new world normal made it easy to entice a younger generation into showcasing what they ate, wore, and of course, their favorite dance moves all for short 30 second clips. Smart companies were paying attention. So much so in fact that those same companies made record profits due in part to TikTok. You don’t have to scroll long before your stumble across a video showcasing an influencer’s top Amazon finds, or 20 items you need from Target. Amazon grew exponentially during the pandemic not just because of TikTok but because it was already positioned to satiate the almost instant gratification that many of us have become used to. Amazon was already set with their business model, but their marketing took them to the next level. Using their existing customers to help gain new customers was never part of the plan but became a critical part of the marketing. Accidental marketing wins aren’t anything to sneeze at, Amazon’s profits soared 220% as online shopping shot up. Now that’s a win.

Person looking at phone with TikTok openRestaurants and meal delivery services are two other industries that experienced a rollercoaster ride in 2020 and 2021. The service industry overall went through a tumultuous shift and has yet to fully recover. Small restaurant owners struggled with keeping their staff on board and doors open. Quite a few made the immediate shift to focusing on delivery service to reach customers beyond their doors. Vivid, beautiful imagery and witty commentary helped persuade diners to order takeout or delivery as a means to quenching that restaurant desire.

Once again social media – specifically Instagram – became the outlet for chefs and restaurant owners to reach beyond their doors. Entrepreneurs found their audience, new and old on the platform and in some special cases grew. Investing their dollars in showcasing their menus in new spaces helped attract the not-so-usual crowd and anyone curious enough to find something out of their comfort zone. Though the cost of enrolling in a meal delivery service such as Uber Eats or Doordash may cut into the cost of doing business, its return can often mean the difference between success and failure. Turning the corner to shift revenue towards the strategic marketing of a business often sets the tone for the business in the months and years to come. 

Entrepreneurs have long focused on the “core” essentials to running a business, things such as accounting, legal, and of course production. Marketing has taken the back seat to the daily running of operations. Using the following three tips can be the start of shifting your business from being reactionary to a strategy focus industry leader. 

  1. Decide how much of your business spend will be dedicated to Marketing. Industry averages vary anywhere between 9% and 12%. Take a deep look into how much your business brings in and where the marketing dollars will have the biggest impact. Small things have an impact. If you are service-based, focus on growing a community, that will involve blog content, social media posts, and other audience-focused ideas. Put your dollars into content creation and hiring creatives to bring your voice to life. Create value with content that can position your brand as an industry leader. Product-based? Make sure your imagery is sharp and eye-catching. You want your ideal customer to pause their scroll long enough to tap your post or even visit your website. Get your customer to pull out their wallet. 
  2. Choose channels where you can close in on the ideal audience or your target demographic. Don’t let a limited budget prevent you from getting visibility. Established brands may have more money to throw at their marketing but you can create a strategy that’s smart enough to do the work of thousands of dollars. If you are showcasing a service that involves teaching others a skill, use TikTok. Thousands of people learn on TikTok daily. No, really! Want people to see your creativity in imagery or video, then Instagram may be for you. Find a home that works best for your company’s long-term goals and aligns with your vision and go there. 
  3. Amplify the voices of your existing customers by requesting referrals or reviews on larger platforms such as Google, Yelp, or Facebook. Pushing their voices to the forefront and responding to the comments, the good AND the bad; will provide social proof that real people run your business. It also helps foster community when people see their peers and others commenting on how much they love your product or service. Show gratitude to the customers who like your business and respond professionally to those who didn’t have the best experience. Remember, you control your online persona. 

As always, contact The Kool Source to elevate your business and online presence. It’s been a pleasure having your attention this long. Peace, Love, and fun stuff.

Arnitra Jackson


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