As businesses open up and welcome customers back, building trust will be key to making people feel comfortable venturing out.
Telling stories is one of the best tools for building connections and showing off the steps team members are taking to keep themselves and their patrons as safe as possible from COVID-19.
I’m not just talking about Instagram stories, but stories across all marketing channels— including the story you inadvertently tell the customers in front of you.
Our brains actually retain 70% of information from stories, but only 10% from data and statistics, according to Speakingcpr.com. In general, we use feelings rather than facts to evaluate a business, and those feelings influence our trust and intention to buy.
This is why people are asking their favorite brands to speak up right now (and back it up with hiring practices). It takes so much more than a black box or a single post with a box of disinfecting wipes to build loyalty.
Stories help build relationships with a community, and that’s what social media marketing is all about — a back and forth dialog, and a connection. And those connections build both short term sales, and long term loyalty.
Stories can build connections and confidence
A good story balances emotion with just the right amount of information, and a great story is easy to understand and simplifies big ideas in a way that sticks in people’s minds. The highest quality video or imagery doesn’t matter if it doesn’t connect with your audience and respond to the moment.
So before you share on social media or add new content to your website, spend some time with your team brainstorming ideas to post. Ask what some of your audience’s pain points are at this moment: What questions are you seeing the most from customers right now? And what they may want to see from your brand.
The unpredictability brought on by COVID-19 has impacted people’s levels of anxiety and sense of safety, and in order to make customers feel secure once more, brands must tell their story.
Businesses take us behind the scenes
Dry Creek Vineyards has been sharing behind-the-scenes videos of their winery operations since well before COVID-19, but recently they have also been showing videos of team members sharing details regarding what they are doing to stay safe while opening their outdoor patio back up.
The Beauty Spot Santa Rosa tells their story through Instagram Stories and their private Facebook group, and they are being honest with their clients about the unknowns surrounding reopening their hair and skin salon in downtown Santa Rosa.
Now that they’re open, The Beauty Spot Santa Rosa is taking clients, starting with those who missed their hair appointments back in mid-March, and sharing details of paperwork, social distancing measures, their fashionable masks—all while making it fun and personable.
Retrograde Coffee Roasters in Sebastopol was closed during the first months of SIP, but they shared details about renovating their interior coffee shop (the blue is a perfect match for their branding) and what they were doing outside for their own version of a drive-through window. They have done a great job of setting expectations for how to order through the Joe Coffee App, where to park, and how many people can be inside the cafe at a time.
Steps businesses can do to build trust
1. Show behind-the-scenes vinettes of your reopening on your social media posts, both in stories and on your feed. Share details about what to expect and what you are doing with your team to increase safety measures (e.g., cleaning, masks, menus, social distancing, etc.).
2. Create videos and share pictures of the team.
3. Boost these posts to your most engaged audience (and potential new audiences).
4. Write blog posts, press releases, email blasts, and when it’s time to open, add a popup on your website that sets customers’ expectations for any new procedures.
5. Invite micro-influencers in your area to your place of business to experience it for themselves and to share their story.
6. Reshare their content on your own stories (make sure to ask if you can share and give credit).
7. Also, reshare testimonials from customers who have enjoyed coming back to your place of business.
8. Just because this is a serious virus, that doesn’t mean you have to be boring when you share your story. Share personal stories from your team and have fun.
9. Make sure to answer questions on social media and email. People will want to know more information about your business, and you need to dedicate a person to answering these questions (yes, over and over again). Create an FAQ section to send people to, and be nice—even if it is the 10th comment asking about something that was literally in the description of your social media post.
10. Share on social media, email, etc. again and again. Do so without overwhelming your audience — not every day, but you could share one or two times a week. Building trust isn’t just a one-time post and then going back to business as usual. It is a slow and ongoing process.
Before people trust brands, they want to get to know the team and its dedication to safety and transparency. Creating a story through social media content is an easy way to show customers who the people behind the brand are.
And at the end of the day, people want to do business with other people.