Small businesses preparing to take advantage of the next round of the Payroll Protection Program need to have a plan in place for using these funds which may be the last bite at the apple in terms CVIC-19 relief for businesses. Social media marketing should be a part of this plan for ensure customer baes are secured and new growth can start or continue. Despite the name, Payroll Protection Program loans do not have to go exclusively to payroll, and you need to have a plan in place to allocate or offset funds to ensure your crucial social plan stays on track.
The second round of Payroll Protection Program funding was approved by Congress back in December and applications are now being accepted as of January 15th for both new and secondary applicants. New round of $284 billion will start to be rolled out January 19th and small business through lending institutions such as bank, credit unions and Community Finance Institutions (CFIs), so the rush has already started.
Here are five areas you need to be thinking about when considering your strategy for your PPP loan.
Understand the Program
Not a social media marketing tip, but if you haven’t done your research, do it now and do it fast. You need to understand what you’re taking on and how you can apply the funding. You also want to be sure you’re not leaving money that you could use on the table, so be sure you know how much you are eligible to borrow. It’s always smart to engage and accountant or an attorney, but here are a couple of resources to get you started.
The Small Business Administration is administering the program and they have several links from their site here that can help you understand the basics of PPP2.
There are also several good articles that summarize what the program means in laymen’s terms. Here are a few from the New York Times and Gusto, but you can Google any number of good articles to help you get the facts.
Keep the Conversation Going with Your Customers
You know how valuable your new customers, your loyal customers and your user base is in of all this chaos. It is absolutely vital you continue to do this as we slowly climb out of the pandemic and its wake. Cutting back on social media is a mistake, although one can understand how far marketing and advertising can be the first to take a back seat with so many other priorities. It is important to understand the value of these roles.
“Become proactive in anticipating the future. Businesses that fail to do this risk falling behind or losing themselves in the crisis. Consumers are looking for comfort, genuine connections, and reassurance”
Sumeet Anand, SocialPilot
“Businesses that are engaging with their customers and fans at present will remain top of mind,” Sumeet Anand, a digital marketing expert reminds us. “Become proactive in anticipating the future. Businesses that fail to do this risk falling behind or losing themselves in the crisis. Consumers are looking for comfort, genuine connections, and reassurance”
Now is not the time to pull back. Find the time and resources to keep in touch with genuine, original and repurposed content.
Be Forward Thinking
It’s easy to be discouraged in these times, but you need to take heart in the fact that you’re still here and you aren’t going anywhere, right? Right? Keep positive and be positive by making plans to grow instead of surviving.
Granted, to qualify for the second round of PPP loans, you have to have to have sustained a 25% reduction in revenue during any quarter in 2019 vs 2020, and that is discouraging, but you can be flat or even showing some growth now and still qualify. Stem the bleeding or keep up the modest momentum by reaching out to your customers and users for feedback. Create discounts and packages that will attract new customers and entice your existing customers to purchase more.
“Keeping revenue going can be stressful at the best of times, but it’s even more worrying during an unpredictable pandemic. [A] good idea is to use packages to upsell more services and products after the customer’s first purchase,” says Maneesh Sharma of BlueCube Network. “A one-off purchase doesn’t create a loyal customer; that buyer doesn’t feel any strong connection to your business, so they are liable to simply turn elsewhere if it’s more convenient for them.”
Be creative and stay focussed on what’s ahead, not behind you.
Shore up Your Team
It is always tempting to look to marketing and advertising as areas to cut in down times, even regular down times. This is not the time to be thinking that way. You need your social media marketing team now more than ever. Whether that means little ol’ you, an employee or an outside consultant, you need to dedicate resources to keeping the social media marketing efforts alive and kicking.
In this round of PPP, whether your first or second loan, Todd Bernhardt of law firm Baker Tilly tells us you can use the loan for, among other things:
- Covered operations expenditures, including payment for any software, cloud computing, and other human resources and accounting needs, and
- Covered supplier costs related to contracts, purchase orders or order for goods in effect prior to taking out the loan that are essential to the recipient’s operations at the time at which the expenditure was made.
This is key, as now some of your marketing expenses, such as software or contracts can be covered and those that are not can be bolstered with money freed up by the ability to use your loan to pay a broader spectrum of authorized expenses.
If you yourself are a freelance or contract marketer, be sure your client is aware of these provisions. This strategy can keep you working too, but you may need to be the advocate for your role.
There’s a Light at the End of Tunnel,
We’re getting there and the end may not be near but at least it looks to be in sight. Keep heart, keep your head in the game and take each challenge as it comes with composure and a level head.
Most importantly – stay connected!
Category: Social Media Marketing 201