THE BLOG
02/05/2016 05:30 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Social Media in a recession, does it make financial sense?

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In December of 2015 the then governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago made a not so startling announcement.

Trinidad and Tobago had suffered its fourth quarter of negative growth and was now officially in a recession. I say the announcement was not so startling, for as a nation, the narrative had been in the public domain for sometime but was highly rejected by the then government and some leading financial players but eventually we were all forced the face the truth, the big "R" was upon us and there was no escaping it.

Now although I started this discussion by referencing Trinidad and Tobago, the reality is that it's doesn't matter where you live, every economy experiences ebbs and flows and the question for many businesses is how do we survive in these financially trying times.

How do companies stay afloat in recessionary times with so many calls for financial prudence and as far as the additional cost of marketing goes, is a recession a good time to lay back on your Social Media efforts or should you be stepping it up?

This is the question I put to my dear friend Michael Adams a business consultant with over 20 years of experience and this is what he had to say.

Recessions and their associated pitfalls have become common language for all of us and are now, not just the domain of economists, politicians and larger corporate entities.

They can be industry based; sector based, regional and global and their impact can vary from mild to total devastation. However, with all that said, they do have a start and an end. Some businesses will ride it out, whilst others will fall on the wayside under insurmountable pressure.

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For the regular bricks and mortar type business, Social Media is still the most cost efficient way to engage and communicate with your existing customer base. It is also extremely effective in putting your brand in front of prospective customers who operate in your niche.

So put quite simply, in recessionary times, customers will gravitate towards the companies in their respective sectors, who are present and visual. Those that display confidence and continue to share relevant information. Those that recognize that we are in this together and use social media as a means of strengthening these customer bonds.

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Recessions give you the chance to show who you really are and what you can do to help your customers navigate their way through these uncomfortable times. The same can be said for businesses that provide non-tangible products such as luxury items and services.

If you are in the business of providing 'Social Media' services, a recession presents you with the opportunity to show prospective clients how to keep their heads above water cost-efficiently. Smart business owners should be more likely to listen to you as they see profits and margins erode, even more now than they do in times of growth.

Businesses all want the same thing; to grow their customer base; to make money; to reduce costs and to increase productivity. A well-structured and relevant social media strategy can go a great way to help businesses achieve this, particularly in recessionary times.

Now with all that said, let me share a word of caution. Without a doubt, social media can be an enormous help during a recession as no business survives without customers and preferably returning customers. However, social media cannot make a bad product or service good. Social media is not responsible for the actual customer experience, that's down to the product or service itself. Social media works in such a way, that it puts the real power in the hands of the buyer.

If a customer has a good or bad experience, that is what they share.

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This is true, within or out of a recession. The difference is, in a recession there is less business around, so the shared customer experience can be the powerful deciding factor, so keep customer service top of mind.

If you decide to step up your Social media activity during this time, be sure to engage with a consultant who clearly understands these dynamics.

It can feel like recessions are occurring more regularly but those that survive the experience--to fight another day--are usually the ones that have loyal customer bases, with plenty of goodwill in their chosen markets. Goodwill that has been built up with keen attention to customer relationships and that's where Social Media can make the difference between the survival of your business or you having to closing shop - Michael Adams.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Michael for his insight and if you'd like to chat with me about how you can use Social Media to improve your business even in the midst of trying economic times, why not set aside some time to connect. I'd love to hear from you.

Article originally posted at www.kleonmm.com