What could a social media agency possibly need to say about Coronavirus? A lot - and it’s important. The mindset around Coronavirus seems to exist in three spaces:
Mass panic. Hoard toilet paper. Prepare for the apocalypse.
What’s corona? Just another flu. Live your life as normal - this is all over-exaggerated.
Stay calm. Yes, this is something to be worried about, but let’s take each day as it comes and act accordingly.
We’re in that 3rd state of mind. We listen to the information, we compare it to our knowledge and experience, and we come up with a plan based on both. We’re not here to stress you out, but we also know the impact this can have for your business. And we want to help. So, we thought we’d offer some advice on how to turn a negative into a positive. The below sections are very helpfully subtitled, so feel free to skip to the parts that interest you the most. Though, we do recommend reading each part to get a full understanding and aid in your plan of action. How does Coronavirus affect Business? Take a quick trip to any of your local supermarkets and what do you see? Not much. The shelves are bare. In a way, coronavirus may have actually helped offline businesses (at least in the short term) - but can the same be said for online? A survey conducted by Digital Commerce 360 found mixed ideas about the impact of Corona on the online space. 64% believe it will remain the same or improve, which is quite a sizable majority - especially as almost 1 in 10 think there will be a dramatically positive increase. As a social media agency, we know that trends matter - and staying on top of them is key. Check out Amazon’s Movers and Shakers list which holds the biggest sellers over the last 24 hours. As I write this, cleaning products and multivitamins take-up 8 of the top 10. Hand sanitizer’s have increased a whopping 8,583% whilst moving from rank 130 to rank 2. In conclusion, start selling hand sanitizer. End of article. Just joking...although? One of the biggest impacts for both offline and online business will be manufacturing. Millions of supply chains in thousands of industries worldwide have been affected, reminding us that if China goes down - we all do. Wutan, where the disease is thought to have started, is a transportation hub - restricting the production and distribution of any product that relies on the area and those around it. Not to mention, those who sell to or within China. At the start of February, Nike had seen a 70% drop in Chinese store sales as half of the stores had to close - the number now increasing the longer the virus has remained. "In the short term, we expect the situation to have a material impact on our operations in Greater China,” explained the company in an online statement. “However, Nike brand and business momentum with the Chinese consumer remains strong, as reflected in the continued strength of our Nike digital commerce business." Similar was seen in January with Starbucks, who were forced to close the majority of their 4,300 stores in China just as they were looking to build upon the financial success of 2019. Essentially: The sourcing of products will be difficult - whether it’s the full product or parts of it, the foreseeable future is going to be slow at best Communication will be a struggle - A lot of Chinese workers are out of the office and a lot may not have access to their usual methods of communication, thus restricting efficiency and ease production. Expansion will be slowed - If you were looking to improve upon your results from 2019, you’ll need to look into other areas to build upon beyond those that have been affected. I work in E-commerce - what should I do? Whilst everyone’s indoors, go online. Just because we can’t go out and buy things in store, doesn’t mean our lust for shopping has died down. In fact, as boredom takes over, more people will turn to a little retail therapy to keep them occupied. “Online retailers based in the US saw a 52 per cent increase in online spending in the fifth to eight weeks of 2020, compared to the same weeks in 2019,” according to research by Quantum Metric. “Of the 5.5 billion online and mobile visits analysed, online conversation rates rose 8.8 per cent year-on-year in that time” Quantum Metric even state themselves that “every business is being disrupted by COVID-19 and turning to digital as the (only) answer.” Now isn’t a time to pull funding, it’s a time to move it into areas with more opportunity. If your supply chain isn’t too heavily affected and you can still generate a similar amount of products, then market them. As of January, there are 4.54 billion active internet users worldwide and 3.8 billion active social media users - 3.75 billion of which use social media on their mobile. 66% of the UK are active social media users alongside 70% of the U.S. Paid advertising slots your brand into the feed of your prospective and established audience, introducing your brand and keeping your name in their mind as they look for something to fill their time. What about if my supply chain is affected? If you can’t generate the same amount of products, should you just turn off all marketing for the time being? No. Now is a fantastic opportunity to build relationships and mould brand loyalty. Connect with your customers whilst they have the most time for you. Use this time to pique their interest and reel them in so when this all blows over you have an interested and engaged audience to market to. In social media advertising we’re thinking of this similarly to how we would approach the time between sales. In this time, don’t make conversions your soul aim - aim for brand awareness and engaged customers instead. Then, once this is over, you can come back with a wider audience ready to be targeted. If you want more info on why building your funnel is important, check out how we made £330k over 5 days in revenue through proper funnel organisation. Should I talk about Coronavirus? Whether you acknowledge Coronavirus or not is down to you. For some brands, it may fit their tone of voice, but for others, it’s OK not to talk about it directly. Though, in order to connect with your audience, you need to at least recognise the time that we’re in. If your social is all sunshine and rainbows, then you run the risk of becoming out of touch at best or ignorant at worst. The best brands understand the position of their audience and act on the same level. Simply saying “we know this is a tough time” or “things aren’t great right now” puts you into the conversation and places you as a brand who’s up to date, modern and real. You’re not trying to be overly polished or so self-focused that you forget about the rest of the world. You’re there with them - and that only strengthens their opinion of you. This is especially poignant if your supply is limited. If a customer’s ordered a product and it’s not going to be delivered quickly or if they can’t order a product and it remains out of stock, then their opinion of you can drop - even with the prevalence of Corona. Therefore, maintaining and building strong relationships with your audience can be vital not just for now, but for the future. Do I really need to change? 20% of those surveyed said they were taking “aggressive action” throughout this time. Quite what “aggressive action” actually means is unclear, but what is clear is that you don’t want to be the business left behind. With such a worldwide phenomenon causing diverse and drastic change - can you afford to stay the same? Plus, and excuse the pun, the virality of coronavirus can’t be ignored. Not only is it all over the news, but it’s the main talking point of TikTok - the fastest growing social media platform in the world. It’s the pinnacle of what it means to be top of mind - and you can use this to your advantage.
How can you add yourself to the conversation?
What if when people thought of coronavirus people thought of your brand?
How can you make yourself one of the go-to’s for corona content be it for help, humour, news, or relief?
Let’s talk about the beer, Corona. Yes, the shares have taken quite a substantial drop, but there are endless memes and jokes about it. The company have said that their sales haven’t taken a hit, but also report a £132 million drop in revenue. Yet, this may end up being a short-term loss for a long-term gain. Nobody wants to be associated with such a negative event, but there is a degree of truth to the idea that ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’. If it fits your tone of voice, maybe now’s the time to think about some reactive marketing or social media ads. Final Thoughts We’re living in a strange time with a worldwide event that can’t be ignored. Unfortunately, the financial and economic impact can’t be avoided, but it can be softened and used as an opportunity. The world of social media is going to be incredibly active over the next few weeks with more people than normal surfing their feeds during the day. If you want to turn this negative into a positive through the power of social, give us a call.