As we learn to navigate these uncharted waters, confusion and uncertainty are at an all-time high. Not only is this situation putting pressure on everyday life, but business owners are also feeling the pressure and impact of these troubling times.
With people around the world being told to stay home, one of the heaviest hit industries has been the tourism sector. And here in Whistler, we have certainly felt the impacts of this. Many local businesses have temporarily shut down operations including tour operators, hotels, restaurants and more, causing a trickle-down effect to our mountain town.
If your business has been forced to close or limit its services, you may have questions as to what the best practices for marketing during a time like this are. A lot of businesses have chosen to “go dark” and have completely put a hold on all marketing efforts including social media.
But is going dark on social media the right move? In our opinion, no.
The term “social distancing” has become a staple in our everyday vocabulary as of late. However, we believe the term we should be using is “physical distancing.” This is a time more than ever that we need to maintain connections with people and be social, digitally that is.
(If you’re more of the listener than a reader, hear more about this topic on our very first podcast, Social Media Marketing During a Time of Crisis. Listen now at: https://bit.ly/2y79Ue2.)
Why You Should Be Posting
With most of our time now being spent at home and away from public situations, people are turning to social media for entertainment more than ever. For some, social media may even be the only social connection they have. Before this pandemic, the average adult spent two hours a day on social media, imagine where these numbers must be at now…
Social media enables businesses to connect with people all over the world. Maintaining a presence during these times will allow businesses to expand their community and maintain the one they have worked so hard to build. Now is the time to establish who your brand really is and invest in relationships rather than transactions.
And with so many businesses choosing to go dark, this could, in fact, be the least cluttered time ever on social media for tourism businesses. Use this time to stand out from your competitors enabling you to be top of mind for when things return to ‘normal’.
What You Should Be Posting
As these are unprecedented times, it can be a challenge to determine what posts are appropriate. With so much anxiety and heaviness surrounding the situation, businesses should be focusing on content that is light-hearted and inspirational.
This is also the time to present the human side of your business. People are looking for a connection more than ever. Tell stories, show personality, find a way to connect with your audience. Be sure to also monitor and reply to any comments — this is a great way to make things personal.
Some examples of what to post:
- Repost user-generated content
- Create video tutorials
- Share stories of favourite past memories
- Introduce your staff
- Support any local initiatives or emergency communications
Other Marketing Efforts
So we’ve established that maintaining social media presence during this time is important, but what about other marketing efforts?
We recommend refocusing any efforts towards achieving conversion goals to efforts that help build community and engagement. This includes turning off any paid advertising across all platforms.
Planning For the Future
Although we hope this will all be over soon, we cannot predict exactly when everything will return to business as usual. We can, however, use this time to start planning for the future and ensure we have a strategy set for when the time comes. Because when it comes, it’s going to come suddenly and those that are not prepared will be left behind.
Create a plan starting at the beginning of the end of all of this. If possible, begin to create quality content to use in order to avoid scrambling at the last minute — Draft posts, create videos, write blog posts, etc.
We also believe that focusing efforts on regional markets will be more successful at first. It will take some time for economies to recover and travel bans to lift, which may create barriers for international visitors.
For more on this topic, be sure to listen to our very first podcast, Social Media Marketing During a Time of Crisis where Cloud9 Marketing team members Virginia-Rae Choquette and Hailey Elise discuss how to navigate social media during this current time of crisis. Listen now at: https://bit.ly/2y79Ue2