The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many countries entering into periods of lockdown. This has stifled economies and caused unemployment rates to rise as many businesses have been unable to bear the brunt. Economists are predicting that the world is heading into a recession, the ‘Great Lockdown’ recession. This will clearly present many challenges for businesses with possible possible job losses and budget cuts to deal with - all while trying to survive and keep the business and stakeholders afloat. At times like these, business leaders need to turn to cost effective marketing platforms in order to stay visible to customers, while also trying to attract new ones. Social media platforms may provide one of the most pivotal tools for businesses during times of recession. Here’s how it can help yours…
The impact of a recession on businesses
The recession that looms over the world is predicted to be one of the worst seen in almost a century. The IMF expected a 3% global contraction in April, but has since increased that figure to 4.9%. These are alarming figures, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic being unprecedented. There is no certainty as to how long it will affect society for and to what extent economically.
As people have limited their exposure to the virus by staying indoors, there has been a complete change in societal behaviour. What people have been increasingly exposed to is the internet, with screen times increasing. Recessions themselves also alter consumer behaviour and perceptions, both of which are crucial for the success of a business. This is where digital marketing can be highly effective, both during and after a recession to ensure responsiveness and a positive outlook.
A recession also naturally impacts businesses too, from the operations to the strategies. During these times, digital marketing and your business’s website is more pertinent than ever. This is where marketers can step in and capitalise to ensure that your business makes it through a recession and remains profitable.
Social Media during a recession
As the world takes a dip and consumers have less disposable income to spend, their confidence takes a knock. Rather than favouring convenience, consumers will put in the time and effort to shop around for deals. This is why your business needs to be available or at least accessible online. You can increase your chances of discovery this way, as well as invite an increase in traffic to your digital platforms.
Since social media is ‘social,’ it is where people can share and engage in dialogue with one another. In cases of lockdown, this has been the only means of communication and connection for many. Word of mouth is still a key element of the success of a business and the effectiveness of that concept is tenfold on social media with mentions and shares, reaching many more people.
For your business to succeed during these times, you also need to get involved in the dialogue taking place. Be present, be visible and be in the thick of it with people. People want businesses to be transparent, sharing their stories of how they’re affected, for example, or how they are doing all that they can to give back to the community. This increases trust and allows your business to be part of the conversation by disseminating important information. This can be viewed as the crux of both your public relations and crisis communication.
Your social media accounts are always visible, so these need to be maintained and well looked after through strategy and community management. During hard times is when opportunity arises, and that is certainly the case on social media. The kind of content you post during times of difficulty can leave lasting impressions with your customers. It is because of this that your ability to tell stories digitally is of the utmost importance, as well as your ability to be consistent in order to show the reliability of your business.
Platform plans and protocols
- First things first, you’re going to need to do a full evaluation of your current social media. With a recession happening, your strategy will need to adapt. This could be your opportunity to breathe new life and direction into your accounts, so don’t skim over this step. You need to ensure you’re present on the correct platforms and creating content that is suited to them. If you have not yet explored the depths of digital multimedia, this is the perfect opportunity to experiment and see what works best - from webinars to video’s and podcasts. All of these can be produced at little or no additional cost, so should be explored.
- With a newly devised strategy in place, you can focus on growing via social media, which can easily be measured in various ways. In order to do this, ensure that your content is optimised. Another key aspect for growth is your advertising spend. If possible, do not cut back on these costs during a recession. Social media is still a highly cost effective method of advertising and will boost your social media activity.
- Finally, once the recession nears its end, you will have worked your way back up through a growth plan and can focus on improving upon these efforts even more, utilising engagements and a bonafide strategy to help you continue to catch up on what the recessional dip made you lose out on. This is what will take your business from strength to strength, with a new strategy likely needed as consumer behaviour and business operations begin to change once more.
Times of recession are tough for businesses and society in general. It is clear to see that having an effective social media strategy can carry your business through the tough times with several opportunities available to you via these platforms. It's also important to preempt challenges that your business may face as this will allow you to be proactive in ensuring your strategy is correct, rather than being reactive to the challenges your business will face. This head start may prove critical and will help you recover faster, and certainly lessen the impact of the recession on your business, than those who don't plan ahead.
Need help devising a social strategy for your business through the ‘great lockdown recession?’
We at Nexa are here to help, with all of the resources and personnel ready to deliver results.