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Social Media: A Critical Marketing Tool 2020

By Lisa Striffolino

Local businesses across Tampa Bay are utilizing old and new social media techniques to keep customers engaged and discussing the role that it plays in their stores amid the COVID-19 virus.

The state-wide lockdown in Florida that was put into place in early April forced many customers to shift from in-store to online shopping. With this shift, local Tampa businesses such as Salt Pines, a men’s clothing store that has a following of over 5.6K people on their Instagram page, have explained the importance of using social media to stay in contact with their customers.

“Social media is a tool that lets us stay in touch with our customers and engage with them,” said Andrew Smith, founder of Salt Pines. “It has been a great way to familiarize the shoppers with our brand, and stay connected with them at the same time.”

Smith expressed how helpful having an online presence has been in these uncertain times since quarantine began.

Sorrento Sweets, a local italian bakery in Hyde Park Village in Tampa with an Instagram following of over 1.7K, has also shared similar feelings about the way that social media has come into play since the outbreak of the virus, and the way that it has helped them to keep their business up and running.

“Social media has overall been very helpful during the pandemic, and it has been a great way to communicate to our customers,” said Stephen Reyes, who runs digital marketing at Sorrento Sweets. “People’s preferences have shifted to online shopping because they feel safer at home during this time. This is how people shop now, so having this type of content online has become more helpful and more relevant than ever.”

Reyes explained how there have been new social media techniques that he and his team have utilized in order to receive the most engagement from their consumers. One of these techniques includes reaching out to social media influencers who have a large following, so that they can post about the brand on their own platforms to give them as much exposure as possible.

“People who we reach out to and are engaged with the platform become brand ambassadors,” Reyes said regarding their social media technique. “With so many more people spending time online nowadays, the more voices online discussing your brand can always be a great thing.”

Salt Pines has their own engaging social media technique that they said has been working very well for their brand.

“We’ve been doing a Free Tee Tuesday,” said Smith. “It’s a contest that we hold each week through our social media where we give away one Salt Pines t-shirt to a lucky follower who enters. The contest always tends to receive a lot of engagement from customers.”

Sorrento Sweets and Salt Pines both expressed hope that their social media techniques will continue to engage customers in the online world during this pandemic.

You can keep up with these local businesses on their Instagrams: @sorrentosweets & @saltpines.

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