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It can be frustrating when you’ve spent so much time, energy and even marketing budget to build a strong community for your brand, only to have it all put at risk due to the lockdown.

The most important thing to remember is to not fade from view completely. You may not be able to physically open your doors, but just letting people know you are still there for them and their needs in other ways, can be a great way to stay in the public’s mind.

To help you maintain your relationship with your customers during this tough time, we’ve pulled together some handy community engagement marketing ideas.

Allocate time for planning and research

Make the most of the lockdown by using this time to focus on marketing plans, community engagement and some much needed customer research. These are often the most neglected parts of a business’ marketing, as day to day work often gets in the way.

Now is the perfect time to give your customer profiles a refresh, clarify your business objectives and take a look at how you are tracking the achievements of your brand. Another handy tool is using SWOT analysis, to make sure you know your business and its customers inside and out. Having this information set in stone, can make marketing during the lockdown a lot easier and remove some of the stresses you’re probably feeling right now.

Remember, your business objectives may have temporarily changed, so keep that in mind when planning ahead for the next few weeks or months. You may want to shift focus completely towards community engagement, building and retaining, to ensure you have a loyal customer base waiting for you when the lockdown is lifted.

Creating engaging content with the resources you have

Don’t let content dwindle away during the lockdown, it can be one of your strongest marketing tools during this time. Many people will be in isolation, so offering content for them to consume is a great way to ensure you are always at the forefront of customer thinking.

Some of the most effective types of content during the lockdown are:

  • Recipes – offering the recipes of your most popular dishes or cockatils
  • Self-care tips and ways to ease COVID-19 anxiety
  • Charitable news – if you’ve been supporting key workers or charities during this time
  • Meet the team – share images and bios of the friendly faces behind your business
  • Positive news – something we definitely need more of. If there has been some positive news related to your industry, make sure you highlight it on your blog or social media profiles

Whenever you’re creating content for your brand, make sure that it is relevant, relatable and in-keeping with brand guidelines. This means you need to ensure there is a link to your industry, brand values and offering, that it is something your customers will care about and that it is written with your brand’s tone and style in mind.

Get emailing your customers

Email is a powerful tool right now, as it is a direct line to your customers. Use your newsletter list to stay in touch with your most engaged customers, offer them exclusive recipes, news and other tips and tricks for handling isolation.

If you haven’t built an email mailing list, now is the perfect time to start. During your planning and research stage, think about what it is your customers would be most interested to receive from you and how it could benefit them during the lockdown. Once the lockdown is lifted, you’ll then have a nice list of engaged and loyal customers ready and waiting to pay you a visit.

Increase your activity across social media & get creative

Everyone is on social media right now as it is the easiest way people can keep in regular contact with the world. Don’t let your social media fade away just because you can’t open your doors.

Make sure to share all the content you’re creating, urge people to sign up to your mailing list, retweet relevant news and start conversations with your followers. There is plenty you can do with social media and with so many features, you can even get creative with how you use your platforms.

Try and experiment with things you’ve wanted to do for a while, but haven’t had time to explore. For example:

  • Insta Lives – a lot of brands are hosting Instagram Lives in order to keep people engaged and chatting with their brand
  • Tik Tok – it may not be for all brands, but Tik Tok has seen a spike since the lockdown, with many logging on to get some light relief
  • Twitter chats and Q&A – host your own Twitter chats or Q&A, it may be to ask about your products, about recipes, about cooking techniques or even just chatting with your team about what they’ve been up to and what’s been going on behind the scenes.

There are plenty of ways to make sure your community doesn’t go neglected during this time, try and be creative and consistent as possible. Now is a great time to amp up all your correspondence and social posting, remember that just because you can’t open your doors to your customers, it doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch with them.

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