Social media for small businesses – how you can help people through tough times

Friday, April 3rd, 2020

You might be nervous of marketing your business at the moment, afraid of seeming insensitive or trying to capitalise on the situation.

But what if you could help people?

Obviously, you need to be sensitive. People are scared and are struggling. So don’t try to sell.

But staying quiet for fear of causing offence or appearing pushy could be counter-productive. Especially if you have expertise that someone needs right now (and they need it now, not whenever the whole awful situation is over).
• For example, if you’re a plumber or builder, you might be able to show people how to fix common problems around the house.
• If you’re a gardener, you could offer tips on how people can make the most of their gardens, even with reduced planting options. It may not be ‘essential’, but for many people gardening will support their mental health over the next few weeks.
• If you’re a financial adviser, maybe you have tips on how people can manage their budgets through difficult times.

I repeat: don’t try to sell. This is not about self-promotion or advertising. It’s a chance to think about what you know and use that knowledge to help other people.

If we were in normal times, I’d tell you that marketing on social media is all about the long haul. We can talk about that another time.

But for now, if social media is something that you’ve been ‘getting around to’ trying and if business is quiet but you want a way to do your bit, this could be your chance.

How do you get started?

Don’t try to conquer the world – if you haven’t been using social media before (or not much), you’re probably not going to start posting on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn and YouTube etc etc etc. Pick one or two. Where is your audience most likely to look for the tips that you can offer?

1. Focus on your audience’s needs (not yours) – keep it helpful.
2. Keep it friendly but clear.
3. Keep it short and to the point.
4. Use visuals.
5. Watch out for comments or questions and be ready to respond.

In summary – don’t treat it as an advert and do keep it helpful.

Yes, it’s true that these efforts could help your business after all this over, but that’s not your focus right now. For now, just think about how you can help people through this situation.

Suzanne Arnold

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