As Scott Ginsberg, motivational speaker and business blogger wrote in a recent article titled How to Dance in the Rain of Our Current Economic Storm:
In tough times, I still believe that hard work, dedication, creativity, and persistence will (hopefully) prevail. I am lucky to have inspiration from my father, who owns two carpet stores in Santa Rosa and Roseville (just outside of Sacramento). Many other carpet stores are closing down because of lack of sales, but my dad has managed to not only stay afloat, he is still doing relatively well. Even before the downturn, he pivoted his business to focus on relationships with larger accounts like apartment complexes and building owners - accounts that need a lot more carpet than the typical three-bedroom house.
When this recession ends and consumers start having more confidence to start buying products, he will be the one they will purchase carpet from because he will still be around, and because he continued to nurture the relationships he had.
Will your business be around to see the rainbow at the end of the storm? Okay, okay... Too cheesy? How about: will your company stay afloat after the hurricane?
One thing that Sonoma County businesses can do to help make sure that they stay afloat is to invest in Social Media Marketing. An unfortunate trend I am seeing (at both the national and local level) is that brands are cutting back on most or all of their marketing budgets to save money.
I get it. I had worked at a few agencies and saw that when times got rough, marketing was considered "expendable," especially when a company worked with an outside vendor. I don't agree with it, but I totally get it.
Going silent on social media is fine if you want your competition to hog the spotlight and take away your business.
But, if you want to stay relevant and keep your brand on top of mind when consumers do get their purchasing confidence back, then you need to keep on reminding them that you are still here.
It is cost-effective (aka all it takes is time spent right now). It provides national coverage for your company (especially great in such a touristy place such as Sonoma County), because you can connect with people all over the world who may love your brand, or who may never have heard of you (yet). It can improve SEO rankings and website traffic by sending people to your website (if you don't already have a blog on your website - get one, and do some SEO research to find out what your customers are searching for on Google, and make an effort to rank well for those terms). Customer service on social media: You can be responsive to negative comments (as well as thank those with positive comments). It also provides the opportunity to connect with other members of your community, and to be of service to them, and get them to help you. That's what I love the most about the wine country - we have each other's backs.
Chris Brogan, a Social Media Blogger, has an excellent post back in October of 2008 on using social media to help you get through the economic downturn.
New Media Type, a Web 2.0 blog explains that Social Media Marketing is sometimes the first to be cut because of the unknown but that it shouldn’t be.
Even if marketing gets cut back during this downturn, I want to remind businesses to ramp up their social media marketing and to focus on creating relationships with your customers - online and in-person.