According to an April 2020 study on COVID-19's impact on consumer behavior, carried out by Accenture, people are rethinking the way they shop.
The lockdowns have changed approaches to eCommerce and online browsing, and as more and more consumers also look to buy more cost-effectively, due to restraints caused by broader market impacts, even more people are becoming conscious of peer reviews about products before they buy.
This has caused an unprecedented influx of users on social media, most of whom are looking for targeted information on products that are healthy, cost-effective and locally available. The research also suggests that these consumers are most likely to continue shopping online even after the threat of COVID-19 has passed.
What does all this traffic on social media sites mean for marketers and businesses?
1. Sway your customers with your Facebook Business reviews
If you haven't enabled ratings and reviews on your Facebook Business Page yet, it's likely worth now inviting your customers to write what they appreciate about your products and services, so that their friends can see that you are a brand worth trusting in these unfamiliar times.
A good guide on Facebook Business Reviews can help build your understanding to start with. Among the key fundamentals, you can't delete negative reviews, but dealing with them can win over many customers.
Unhappy customers can leave scathing reviews on your Facebook Page, and it's worth taking the time to address such issues where you can. If you have any pending, raging comments that you've not attended to, you may want to get focused on these urgently, as it can cost you more customers during COVID-19 than ever before.
2. Promote your brand’s values and integrity to establish trust
Brands need to recognize that people are wary of half-truths - there's already confusion and panic caused by the pandemic, and exaggerated stories about your products and services being the cure for all problems will only push your customers away.
Your social media presence should be accurate, honest and to-the-point. Go through your About sections and remove any ambiguities, and add any details involving how you care about, and cater to, personal and collective well being.
3. Personalize your promotional messages for local audiences
Accenture also found that people are now more inclined to buy local products in order to support those within their communities, as well as reducing the amount of traffic their product will have to go through before reaching their home.
Moreover, international shipments have been heavily affected due to flight cancellations, reduced activity on ports and COVID-19 restrictions around people working in closed spaces.
This means that local customers are more receptive to your messages. Delivering personalized and localized messages to your audience can go a long way.
Show care for personal and collective safety and health
Facebook has already rolled out various features which enable businesses to show how they've updated their operations and processes to better cater to customer needs during COVID-19, including providing home deliveries, listing altered hours of operation, etc.
If you have a benefit that you can offer customers, be sure to mention it within this section so that your customers can know at first glance, as measures like this are increasingly important as more consumers seek more shopping information online due to the changed behaviors as a result of the pandemic.