11 Small Business Social Promotion Ideas for the Shutdown
Small businesses, especially those considered non-essential right now, have to come up with creative ideas to retain loyal customers and ensure that they will have a business to reopen. For most small business this is definitely not “business as usual,” but rather, “business unusual” that keeps you in the black.
For each of these small business social promotion ideas, please remember that each social platform has promotion guidelines that still apply and the FTC is still watching to make sure you are running your hashtag promotions legally.
Make your customers into your brand ambassadors during these challenging times. Run a giveaway asking those customers to post a picture of themselves with a product they have purchased at your store. Maybe you are the local hardware store and someone recently purchased a wheelbarrow at your store. Have them post a picture of that wheelbarrow in use and tag your store.
Post that recipe of your famous menu item or have your chef record a cooking class on YouTube or Facebook. Ask customers to comment or post photos of their take on the recipes you feature for a chance to win gift certificates in a social sweepstakes.
Hair Stylists and Pet Groomers:
You can run a social promotion on Instagram or Facebook asking your customers to post a photo “fail” when they tried a home cut or style. Ask them to tag and use a unique hashtag for a chance to win a gift certificate to your salon when it reopens.
Boutiques, Specialty Stores and Craft Businesses:
Create a weekly bundle to promote on social and sell online with a virtual Zoom happy hour to teach your followers how-to use or put their bundle together. These bundles can be shipped to customers or be available for curbside, touchless pickup. For a craft store this could be everything you need to create your own themed craft, with a Zoom class showing how-to do it. For a cheese store it could be a few cheeses sent out with a cheese tasting Zoom happy hour. Whatever you sell, get creative and get your customers engaged with a fun activity with you.
Gyms and Fitness Centers:
Run a workout challenge online, or use Zoom or other social platforms to post fitness classes to your customers. Encourage social sharing for a “bring a buddy” class, and reward all attendees who bring a buddy with a credit for future gym use.
Ask your customers to share a photo of how they are staying connected with family, friends and your community for a chance to win a cash prize or a gift card to your business. You may even want to consider a charitable overlay with a neighborhood charity. Please note that promotions incorporating a charitable overlay have specific state legal requirements.
National or Regional Small Businesses:
Ask your followers on social who they nominate as their hometown hero. Surprise a follower, fan or customer by honoring that hero by donating to that hero’s cause, be it a hospital or food bank or firehouse. Giving back to communities reinforces your compassion and dedication to enrich the lives of all the communities where you have stores.
For Location-Based and Event Venue Businesses:
Create custom Zoom backgrounds of your store or restaurant or the view at your location to share with customers so they can have virtual Happy Hours or other social events with you. Surprise and delight customers you spot using your backgrounds with an on the spot reward!
Ideas for any small business:
- If you reinvented your business model to take advantage of your area of expertise then post your accomplishments on social channels to inspire others to take your lead ala “the bucket challenge.” For example, Christian Soriano and his fashion design staff are now making masks; he could challenge his competitors and customers in a TikTok video to also make masks and donate them to area medical facilities, and ask that they in turn challenge more people to do the same. A twist on this idea would be to run a mask design contest for the masks your company is creating – and reward the winner with a supply of masks donated to the the non-profit of the winners choice.
- Piggyback on an established hashtag to run a sweepstakes on Twitter or Instagram. For example, every Thursday you could run a #throwbackthursday sweepstakes asking customers to post a photo they took in your restaurant the last time they were there with that hashtag plus tagging you and using a #sweepstakes hashtag. Weekly winners can receive gift certificates to use once you reopen! Other hashtags that would work: #FunFriday, #SundayFunday, or #MondayMotivation.
- Create a limited offer on social to allow customers to pay for products or services now at deeply discounted rates. With the services and products that are sold in advance, you will have a bit of income for your business to keep you afloat while your store is closed – but because it is limited you won’t find yourself in a jam when you reopen with having all offer customers coming in at once and having no income then.
Have more great small business social promotion ideas for these shutdown times? Tell us in the comments below. And contact us if you need help with making any of these ideas happen for your company.
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