The sudden proliferation of the Coronavirus and resultant global lockdowns have blindsided marketers across virtually every sector and industry. For many brands, the knee-jerk reaction has been to trim back their marketing budgets, pause campaigns altogether, or even scale back their businesses. While this, at first glance, may seem prudent, it can also lead to major missed opportunities across a range of sectors – including the residence and citizenship by investment industry.
With billions of people now confined to their homes for a few weeks, if not months, and typically less able to carry on with “business as usual”, social media platforms have seen a momentous surge in usage as people seek to fill downtime at home.
At a period of historically high social media activity, businesses are – ironically – pulling back their online marketing
As of 2019, the average person globally spent 144 minutes a day on social media – that’s almost 2.5 hours per day – even before the Coronavirus led to mandatory quarantines. Social media specialists expect this to double through the lockdown period.
Increased screen-time combined with reduced online advertising competition is creating a unique window of opportunity within the attention economy. For brands and companies willing to think innovatively and target social users with compelling, relevant messaging, the opportunity to gain traction is truly unprecedented.
One citizenship by investment firm effectively exploiting this opportunity is Dubai-based Brookes & Partners, a firm ramping up its social media presence just as others are pulling back.
How did Brookes end up with such a laser-like focus on social media and how is he making the most of it? The answer, he says, is simple.
“Go where your buyers are engaging. And that, right now, is Instagram and Snapchat. We experimented with various forms of paid and earned media early in the game and often found that we were reaching potential clients too late in their researching stage. It very soon became apparent that social marketing could help us educate the market and give us a far wider reach than other platforms.”
Brookes offers several pieces of advice to industry firms who want to gain traction and grow an engaged social media audience quickly. The most important thing, he says, is to take an organic approach, and this means actually spending time engaging with your followers, emphasizing your brand’s personality and dedication to helping clients, and being diverse in content curation.
“From the onset I wanted our Instagram account to educate our audience on what the Caribbean and other CBI countries looked like, and to drive home the specific benefits of each program and host country,” says Brookes, who also reveals that his firm’s Instagram account has grown from just 2,000 followers in January 2019 to almost 60,000 today.
“Instagram delivered that for us in a way I could never have imagined possible,” says Brookes.
While he says he’s happy to have garnered a massive following in a short time, Brookes also cautions against focusing on quantity over quality.
“The quality of the followers is what really matters here. In addition to publishing highly relevant content, we seek to be exceptionally responsive to questions and feedback from our followers. Empathy, education, and building credibility are at the core of our social messaging strategy.”
Questioned as to which types of message is getting the best response at the moment, he indicates that reminding people to tackle those items on their to-do lists that under normal circumstances sit on the back burner – like looking into second citizenships – can be really effective.
“Most of us are under lockdown at the moment, which is the ideal time to get the message out to prospects that now is the best opportunity to begin your citizenship application,” comments Brookes. “Most of our prospects have a to-do list of tasks they’ve been putting off for months, and applying for second citizenship tends to be one of those tasks. The current situation is giving people time to tick these items off their list.”
Adding in a sense of urgency and prompting clients to take advantage of their downtime, he says, appears to be eliciting the desired response.
“Our followers have been very responsive to messages that encourage them to act now.“
Brookes offers other industry firms a list of messages he has found particularly effective:
- This is the best opportunity you’ll have in a while to start your second citizenship application process.
- You’ve been putting it off for months, and now you finally have the time to start getting your house in order and unlock the freedom and security that comes with second citizenship.
- You don’t have to invest the full amount now – a token deposit is all that’s required to get you and your family started.
- Government CIP units are still operational, and our application approach delivers timely, reliable outcomes as our processes are mostly digital and online.
- We can compile most of the documents remotely while you’re at home, and certain documents, such as police certificates, can be processed in a few weeks when the rest of your file is complete – so just get it done.
Brookes offers industry partners and competitors alike a message of optimism in the face of viral despair:
“I believe we, as an industry, can and should capitalize on this opportunity. And, if you’re talking to the right audience of clients, the current crisis should not materially impact their timelines or resources for getting their applications started.”
Himself a fervent poster of largely improvised social media videos featuring himself encourages practitioners not to take themselves too seriously and not to make their videos too polished. Rather, he says, authenticity is what will stand out, and that means there’s no need to focus on professional editing.
“In the current climate – and in fact in any climate – foreground your company ethos, culture, and individual personality. Don’t worry too much about how you might come across making a video and sharing it; it will deliver exceptional results if done right. We all have smartphones, so simply order a microphone and phone stand online and begin communicating with your audiences on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn via video. I’m sure you’ll be as surprised at the response you get as I was!”
Brookes offers one final takeaway lesson for those investment migration companies that wish to win at social media during a time of unprecedented online traffic:
“Now is not the time to sit back; it’s time to ramp up. I’ve long maintained that there is enough business for us all, and I will happily share some further advice on this subject with interested industry peers. Do feel free to contact me.”
More IMI coverage of the investment migration industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Reader Mailbox: Will The Covid/Economic Crisis Make RCBI Real Estate More Attractive?
- Pandemic Reveals Disparities in Processing System Robustness Among RCBI Programs
- Cyprus Govt. Calls For Fast-Track Processing, St Kitts, St Lucia CIPs Go Fully Digital
- 10 On The Weekend – Kianoush Mahmoudi: “I’ve Been in Lockdown for One Month Now”
- Investment Migration in the Post Visa-Free Travel World
- Where Will Investment Migration Be When the Virus-Dust Settles?
- Citizenship Investor Fund Gives Malta Cushion Against Covid-19, But Govt. Reluctant To Use It
- Investment Migration Forum Latest in Slew of Corona-Related Event Postponements