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Regardless of whether your multi-location business is open, closed, or has modified hours throughout COVID-19, there are specific strategies you should be using when communicating with consumers. The companies that will survive this crisis are the ones that will adapt and put out the right messaging, at the right time, on the proper channels. 

While this may seem like a big lift, SOCi is here for you! We’ll cover the top three communication strategies your multi-location business should use during this current pandemic. If you’re already using all three, kudos! If not, it’s time to re-evaluate your current localized marketing strategy. 

1. Post to social media channels daily 

Recent research found that people are spending 20 percent more time in apps during COVID-19, and if you’re looking to connect with audiences, social is where you should be focusing. 

Social media is one of the easiest ways to communicate with consumers amid COVID-19, especially with so many of us required to shelter in place, and stuck longing for that social interaction. Your multi-location business should be optimizing your local social media presence, which starts with localized posts 2-3 times per day. While that may seem like a lot at first, it isn’t as scary as it looks. If your multi-location business gets in the habit of frequently posting on social media now, it will pay off in the long run. If you post three times a day, it increases your chances of a consumer seeing your content. 

When you’re thinking about what type of content you should be posting, we have some suggestions: 

  • Keep the content as local as possible.
  • Video is key! Use it frequently. 
  • Switch up the type of content your posting.

As you begin brainstorming social media content, think about what type of content your consumers will be looking for during this time. For instance, operational updates are essential during this time, along with content that is empathy-focused. User-generated content (UGC) is also great to highlight during this time. You can ask your customers for suggestions around new services or products to offer when you reopen or for their favorite memory about your business. You can guide the conversation with the types of questions you’re asking. 

2. Send emails weekly 

Emails provide another efficient channel to communicate with consumers while your business is unable to interact with your consumers in person, as social-distancing remains a necessity. There are two different types of emails your multi-location business can send during this time, and we’ll cover both — emails to your consumers and emails to your employees and franchisees. 

Emails to your consumers should be sent once a week. These emails should be helpful and informative, providing consumers with any updates that are occurring at your multi-location business, along with tips on how to navigate everyday life during this pandemic. For instance, does your company have any ideas on how people can stay busy at home with their kids? Or are you a restaurant that can provide fun recipes to try at home? There are plenty of ways you can connect with your consumers on a personal level through emails. If you’re looking for ways to spice up your emails and improve your open rates, consider adding in videos, making your subject line personalized, and add emojis to grab extra attention. 

When it comes to emailing your employees and other franchisees, this can be done on an as-needed basis. However, this is an extremely essential tactic that should not be overlooked. Consumers are not alone in their fear of the unknown – employees are also readjusting their lives for this new world. So, any sense of relief that you can provide from regular internal communication on business updates will help.  

3. Text and direct message as needed 

While you may not have considered texting or direct messaging your consumers in the past, now could be the time to rethink. This tactic isn’t something that should be used daily, but can catch your consumers’ attention. As mentioned above, we’re all increasing the amount of time spent on both social media and our phones, especially while quarantining. Texts and direct messages allow your multi-location business to get in front of your consumers quickly, but should not be overused. 

It’s crucial to only text and direct message your consumers when you have critical information to share. You don’t want to come across as spam. 

For instance, if you have a video showing what your new delivery and pick-up process looks like for your business, that may be worth showing via text message. If you have updated business hours or are making any drastic changes to the changes you already have in place, that may be worth sharing through these channels, as well. As we mentioned before, it’s important not to overuse this communication method. If you begin to text or direct message to your consumers too frequently, they may become unenthused or question the purpose of your messages. 

The numbers mentioned previously highlight significant opportunity to connect with audiences right now through social media and other digital channels – with advertisers pulling spend, and more people spending even more time on digital channels, it could provide a great opportunity to boost brand awareness, and reach consumers looking for information.

As a multi-location business, if you have any questions about how to create useful messaging during this challenging time, SOCi can help! At SOCi, we are here to help you navigate through COVID-19. These are unknown times for all of us, and we are here to make sure your business maneuvers through this situation in the best way possible. For more information on how SOCi can help your multi-location business, email us at [email protected]

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