DUBAI—April 15, 2020—Hussein Abusofah, a leading social media expert, today shared insights for businesses trying to cope with the impact of the Coronavirus epidemic. With their customers, suppliers and employees staying at home, the current presents both a challenge and an opportunity to thrive online, according to Abusofah. For companies that have an online presence and social media engagement, Abusofah advised an immediate transfer to online operations.
“Business managers talk about transformation and agility,” said Abusofah. “Well, guess what? Now is the time to be agile and transform instantly or risk serious loss of market share or even a business failure. All of your key stakeholders are online now. They have no choice. You have to be there, too, if you want to continue making sales and building customer relationships.” Indeed, social media and instant messaging usage has spiked significantly during the pandemic, with TechCrunch reporting that WhatsApp use is up 40%, as but one example.
Abusofah recommended taking an instant, data-driven approach to the COVID-19 effect on a business. “Your business is like a patient in the hospital right now. You need to know the vital statistics, like how many people are searching for you, what they’re saying, where you can find them and so forth—this is all about social media data.” Armed with data, a company can then plan to engage better with customers online through social media and related online commerce technologies.
“What we’re seeing is an overall increase in digital contact points between companies and customers,” Abusofah added. “A customer asks her friend on Instagram what to buy, and then visits an ecommerce website. This is not new, of course, but the rate of its occurrence has gone through the roof. You have to be ready. This means having people on the platforms able to respond to questions and handle orders.”
Abusofah also advised companies not to forget about employees. “They’re at home, too,” he said. “They need practical and emotional support.” He suggested that companies set up or bolster existing corporate social media and instant messaging capabilities to enable efficient at-home work and strong employee morale during a confusing and frightening period of time.