Businesses around the world have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is particularly true for multi-location businesses that rely heavily on foot traffic and an online reputation. 

Throughout the pandemic, these multi-location brands have had to switch up their social media strategies to align with changing consumer habits and strict government guidelines. Some were forced to close entirely, relying solely on online sales, while others were able to open their doors, but experienced a significant drop of in-store buyers. 

Managing a localized marketing strategy can be tricky at the best of times but, as the world begins to reopen and emerge from the pandemic, multi-location businesses can start to look ahead at consolidating their social media efforts.

Here are some key ways you can bring your social media marketing efforts into one overarching strategy to free up resources and time as the country reopens.

1. Leverage User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) refers to content created by customers. UGC can include but is not limited to, photos, videos, reviews, and testimonials. Not only is UGC a great way to increase conversions, but it is also a powerful community-building tactic. 

Sharing UGC across your social channels, whether that’s through a review on Instagram Stories, a photo on Twitter, or a video on IGTV, means you can save time and money while still providing followers with engaging content. 

You can also share UGC related to the pandemic, including reviews of how customers feel about any new guidelines your business has in place. 

2. Go Live 

Live videos are a great way to build a connection with your followers without spending too much time upfront creating the content. You can go “Live” at a moment’s notice on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and broadcast to your customers in your local community, or all over the country. 

Live videos to test now include Q&As about how you’re handling your business reopening, virtual tours of your space, and the measures you’ve put in place to align with government guidelines or a re-introduction to some of your best-selling products. 

3. Share In-Store Promotions On Social Media

Get back in control of sales by running a location-specific promotion or contest for your business. This will not only attract potential new customers, but it will also provide you with a chance to reward existing customers who have stuck by your business during the pandemic. On top of that, it will likely drive a surge in sales as you begin the process of reopening.

For example, if your franchise has a bar, you might offer patrons a free glass of wine on their first visit after reopening. Restaurants might provide a buy-one-get-one-free offer for diners, and personal care services might offer 15 percent off a customer’s first post-pandemic haircut. 

Share your re-opening promotions across your social media channels to gain new followers and serve your existing customers. While sharing these promotions, it’s also important to emphasize that your business will still be taking precautions to protect the safety of your consumers. 

4. Create Social Media Events

For multi-location businesses that aren’t open yet but are gearing up to and need to drive an influx of sales quickly, a social media event can work wonders. Sharing content with followers via an event that’s broadcasted will help you stay connected to your customers and keep your business front-of-mind when it does reopen.

This is exactly what the Czech Republic Tourism Board did with its Big Virtual Czech Quiz. They invited travel influencers and the Czech Republic enthusiasts to take part in a virtual beer tasting session followed by a quiz and a live DJ set. 

The event raised awareness for the business and will no doubt result in some extra visitors once lockdown measures have been lifted. 

5. Partner With Influencers

Social media influencers are the ideal people to help your business reopen with a bang. Join forces with influencers or micro-influencers in your industry niche and ask them to share information about your business, like your latest product lines, information about your reopening dates, and stories from their experience during the pandemic. 

You can even send them products to share with their followers to reach a wider audience of potential buyers. This is a great way to build trust and authenticity with new buyers because an influencer’s followers already trust them, which means the trust is automatically transferred to your brand. 

It also means you don’t have to spend time creating lots of different social media resources. Instead, your influencers will do that for you, leaving you with ample time to focus on reopening your business the right way. 

Align Your Social Media Efforts With Reopening

As you gear up to reopen, you’re going to want to limit the amount of time you spend on social media. Chances are, you’ve spent a lot of the pandemic communicating with your customers via platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but you now need to focus on other parts of your business.

Consolidating your social media efforts is crucial in order to focus on re-opening and ramp up buzz around your business.

The following blog post was written by Ryan Gould, Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services for ElevationFrom legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations.

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