Investing in Social Media Marketing During Covid-19
COVID-19 has impacted the restaurant industry totally. Most restaurateurs in India have shut down since mid-March and continue to be shut during the lockdown. Initially, there was a glimmer that the COVID-19 menace would die down and there was some optimism. As India entered the second lockdown, optimism started to fade. And, now on the 28th of April, it doesn't look like normalcy will be restored in the F&B industry any time soon.
Priority for Restaurateurs During COVID-19
The restaurant industry runs on very tight cashflows and can ill-afford even minor disruptions. COVID-19 has stopped all cashflows! Restaurateurs are struggling to pay expenses and, most importantly, how to manage to reopen their restaurants. There will be even more pain after the lockdown is lifted - restaurateurs will be eager to reopen but it will be a while before consumers get the confidence to start visiting restaurants, bars, pubs, microbreweries, nightclubs, and lounges. It will require a lot of cash for the F&B industry to reopen. Restaurateurs now need to conserve all the cash that they can.
cut down all marketing costs say restaurateurs
Let's face it our newspapers have become half the size post COVID-19 and that's because most organizations have frozen their marketing budgets. All paid media platforms are expected to see a massive decline in 2020. With businesses being closed due to lockdowns and consumer confidence shaken, advertising for the F&B industry doesn't make sense. While restaurateurs are desperately trying to cut costs and stay afloat, it would be suicidal to continue with marketing when there are no customers.
What's bucking the marketing trend - what's growing?
With all the gloom and doom, there are certain industry segments that are actually growing. And, growing fast! With the lockdown people are stuck at home with not much to do. Online entertainment like NetFlix, Prime Video, gaming, online learning are poised for heavy growth and advertising spend for these segments is increasing sharply. It is also expected that pharma, food, FMCG will increase or maintain their levels of spending.
Equally important, the time spent on social media has shot up by 47% and people are spending 46% percent more time on messenger services.
digital marketing - understanding the difference
Traditional marketing is like a tap - you can turn it on or off any time that you want. So, right now, the taps are turned off for the F&B industry. Restaurateurs can open their wallets on traditional marketing the moment business conditions improve. This applies for radio, TV, print and, even, online advertisements.
However, there is one key difference in Digital Marketing and that is of algorithms. Facebook, Google, and Instagram deploy complex algorithms that help them to improve customer experiences. These algorithms try to deliver content that is relevant and meaningful to each user. The more you interact with posts from a certain person, account or page, the more notifications from that person or page will be delivered to you.
So, the downside of stopping Digital Marketing is that your page followers will stop seeing notifications from your page. The longer you remain inactive on social media, the more challenging it will be for your business to gain traction on Digital Marketing platforms.
digital marketing - riding the upside
There is also one more upside - with social media platforms recording growth in usage by a whopping 47% you are likely to attract newer followers. While most restaurateurs stopping or reducing Digital Marketing, this could be a huge advantage during this period of crisis for the F&B industry.
digital marketing - Our recommendations
In our opinion, it makes sense to save money but, at the same time, we recommend that you continue to get the advantages of Digital Marketing. Stopping now (or at any time) means that your Digital Marketing in the future will become less efficient and you might need to spend more money. Restarting your Digital Marketing after a long gap can become a major headache. Also, it is important for you to stay ahead of your competitors.
Partnering with your agency
This is actually a no-brainer. Partnering with your agency makes tremendous sense by revising the Scope of Work. You can reduce the number of postings to an acceptable level and, thereby, reduce the costs. If your agency also takes care of your Google and Zomato reviews, then you don't have to pay for this as there are likely to be zero reviews. Dive into the SOW and identify the items which are unlikely to be used and remove these and the costs involved.
This way you can reduce the costs but still be getting considerable mileage from your Digital Marketing platforms.