Digital Strategies during COVID-19 (and beyond)

We are all adjusting to a new normal under COVID-19 restrictions. Life on the street and in our stores has changed dramatically as customers and employees practice social distancing, self-quarantines, and shelter-in-place guidelines.

Coronavirus has sparked significant spikes in web traffic and social media use. Cloudflare, a web performance and security company, reports that people are using the internet more and for more hours since the first COVID-19 deaths in the US at the end of February. Digital marketing agency Obviously tracked increased social media engagement including a 76% increase in likes for the first two weeks in March, and a 22% increase in campaign impressions from February to March. Mae Karwowski, founder and CEO of Obviously, said: “Community is more important than ever, and social media is a powerful tool in building and maintaining our connections.”

Your digital presence and social media strategy are more important than ever, but it has to be approached wisely. Keeping your company top-of-mind can’t come across as disingenuous, self-promotional, or ill-timed. The following case studies examine creative ways our customers and other retailers are staying relevant and deepening customer connections during the coronavirus pandemic.


CASE STUDY: Seat n Sleep




This Michigan furniture store has built a huge following of 147,389 likes largely through their infamous Freebie Friday Contest. Let’s delve into a post from March 15 offering a free mattress giveaway.


Take Aways

  • FREE – free is always a winner. What excess inventory do you have that would generate excitement and bless a customer?
  • DEALS – specially negotiated deals and deep discounts can generate cash quick
  • WEB – with stores shuttered, online shopping is key


Hits and Misses

  • + Huge hit for engagement, reach, relevance, and excitement!
  •  Could generate immediate sales with coupons and direct links to products

Content and style

  • It’s LONG – This post is so long it opens in a new tab on desktop or spans about 6 screens on mobile. Packed with info, the post length doesn’t seem to affect reach
  • Consistent headline – The iconic “Freebie Friday Contest” is obvious from the start. They’ve created a brand for this promo, and have used it consistently hundreds of times
  • Conversational tone – The casual tone is appropriate and expected on social media
  • Relevant – Indirectly addresses COVID-19 concerns without fearmongering, also addresses Daylight Savings Time
  • Benefit focused – Focused on customer benefits instead of boring features


The giveaway

  • Free product – “Seat n Sleep is offering a lucky Facebook fan a brand new Cleveland DOUBLE Pillow Top Englander E Hotel Collection mattress in their choice of size for FREE!”
  • Picture – Picture of the product taken in the store (not manufacturer’s catalog) is featured in the post



  • How to enter – simply like the page and comment on the post to be entered to win. Instructions are buried deep in the post encouraging fans to read the whole post in its entirety.
  • Length of promo – the contest ended in 7 days
  • Prior sales – Sale price valid on new purchases paid in full or financed during the promo period only, not valid on prior purchases, layaway or satisfaction guarantee exchanges.
  • What if I win? – customer gets a refund if they buy the product then are selected as the winner, which encourages sales instead of waiting for the giveaway
  • No purchase necessary



  • Drawing – Winner is drawn at random and
  • Notification – Winner is notified in a comment and private message
  • Announcement – Post is updated with the winner when the contest ends
  • Redemption – prize must be picked up within 14 days and cannot be exchanged
  • Photo – Winner is often featured in a later post in a picture with their free prize in the store. The “Winner’s Circle” creates excitement and credibility.


Additional offer

  • But wait, there’s more! – In addition to one mattress giveaway, Facebook fans are also eligible to receive deep discounts to purchase the item.
  • Clear pricing – MSPR, sale pricing, and Facebook Deal sale pricing are listed in the post.
  • Manufacturer cooperation – Some posts indicate specially negotiated manufacturer pricing to be included in the Freebie Friday Contest
  • How to buy – stop in or call to reserve inventory
  • TIP – online retailers can create a coupon code and generate immediate sales revenue

Traffic drivers

  • Brick and mortar – Each Freebie Friday Contest post includes the store address, hours, and phone number
  • Website – links to the site is are listed several times
  • TIP –link directly to the special deal items in the online catalog to drive immediate sales revenue



  • Payment options – $4 down and no credit needed terms, special financing options up to 12 months
  • Layaway – Layaway and special financing is available
  • Direct links – post includes direct link to the web portal with financing applications



  • Likes – 5.1k
  • Shares – 682
  • Comments – 2.2k
    • 143 people reacted to the comment announcing the winner and 27 replied to congratulate the winner… that’s a great engagement on a single post, let alone a comment on a post

Apply now

No, it’s not a finance offer – it’s a question.

How can you apply this strategy in your store?

  • Do you use social media?
  • How can you use social media to drive sales? (Likes are good but cash is better.)
  • Do you use social media to drive store traffic?
  • Do you use social media to drive web traffic?
  • Is your website prepared to be your sole source of traffic?
  • Do you have product or services you could give away?
  • Do you use coupons?


This goes way beyond Coronavirus.
Your site should be selling 24/7/365.

What other questions do you have? Contact us for more information, brainstorming, and ideas.