Social Enterprises Should Be Prioritizing PR & Marketing During the Pandemic

Chaos is a ladder” – Littlefinger, Game of Thrones

It may seem counterintuitive but now is the time for social enterprises and nonprofits to put some muscle behind their Earned, Owned and Paid Marketing efforts.

While many for-profits and small business are (understandably) minimizing their marketing runway and ad spending in an effort to stay afloat during Covid19, social enterprises are generally used to operating on an often shoestring budget when it comes to…. well, everything. It’s time to take advantage of the ad vacuum lack of competition to raise brand awareness, make money through digital channels and capitalize on a captive audience.

In this article I’ll breakdown quick tips and strategies for marketing your goods and services digitally to a national audience, and locally to your dynamic community.

National Campaigns

Even in 2020 many of our social enterprise clients still consider online selling a distant second to bricks-and-mortar or fundraising/donor dollars. That said, if there is any silver lining to the pandemic for nonprofits, it could be the forced catalyst needed to prioritize a shift to digital.

People are increasingly looking to support worthy nonprofits with their wallets, going out of their way to buy gift cards and products online. And now more than ever, they are responding to ads that show a real need. Acknowledging this, an Adtaxi survey found that 68% of people find it helpful when ads show regard of the current scenario and 62% know that brands mean well.

While many brands are pulling advertising across all mediums, we’re advising clients on a shoestring to create and share simple yet targeted social ads as an inexpensive way to let people know they would be supporting a great cause by buying your products or gift cards at this time.

Social ads are also a great way to increase your social followers and build the foundation for future selling. Adtaxi found that “more significantly, 53% plan to do more of their shopping online after the crisis is over.” Now is the time to start flexing your online muscle while targeting new consumers.

You have a captive audience. According to ClickZ, people are spending anything between 3 to 7 hours on social media in a day. This is your opportunity to pivot your owned social media content and increase PR outreach to further grow your audiences and position for present and future selling.

One of our CPG clients began sharing tips for entertaining kids at home and started hosting #LivingRoomDanceParties on their social channels every Friday, encouraging fans to tag them in fun videos of their own for a chance to win product. If possible consider offering a contest to your fans every once in awhile. People love receiving a prize and contests are huge engagement spikers. We recommend using the contest to share your mission and ask your audience which charities they support or what is important to them during this time.

Don’t forget to add trending hashtags to each post such as #inthistogether #keepingitreal #yougotthis #stayhome #Covid19

As the top of the sales funnel, PR is more important than ever. Media are interested in hearing from businesses on how they changed their protocols to protect their teams. They want to write about companies with a purpose who are finding creative ways to raise funds or are willing to speak to their unique struggles during this time. Simply, many are writing on how consumers can support nonprofits, especially on a local level.

Local Campaigns

Many of Remark’s social enterprise clients are already leading authorities in raising awareness in their local communities, so we’ll keep this part brief. All we’ll say here is be sure to save some social ad budget to target your local demographics and make sure to emphasize how your nonprofit is helping the local community. Reach out to local press and ask them to share how consumers can support your organization.

The need to celebrate local businesses and nonprofits during this tumultuous time has never been more strongly felt on a global level.

In Summary: BRAND

Build brand awareness and social audiences through increased Earned, Paid and Owned Media

Reap the benefits of an engaged online audience and the increase in online sales it brings in the present and future

Advertise your mission and need

Nonprofits are uniquely primed to break through the clutter on shoestring budgets

Digital selling is the future