We all know it’s a tough time in the world right now – turn on the TV, read the news, listen to the radio – COVID-19 is everywhere. We are being inundated with updates and statistics and a lot of heavy, mainly negative, information. We are keeping away from each other physically, can’t leave the house unless for necessities, we are working from home, our business practices have changed and those who aren’t agile or able to move with these challenging times may not be in operation by the time we come out of this pandemic. 

It’s a scary reality for many, and completely understandable that you feel like you may want to bury your head under the doona and wait for this craziness to pass. BUT! That is not how your business survives. 

You need to keep ticking along, staying present, active and relevant in the minds of your customer. Now is the time to focus on your messaging, content and find a way to continue to connect with your audience through your social channels…. 

Keep Communicating

If there’s ever a time to connect with your audience, it’s now. All of us are in the same boat, and we have more time than ever now to scroll instagram and facebook – you have a captive audience. Social media usage has gone up nearly 70% over the last month! So make sure you do not fall silent.

The trick here is to find the balance between ‘business as usual’ and being sensitive to the current climate and acknowledging what is going on. This may mean posting a few less posts per week, changing the tone of the message, sharing your own experiences and being a little more personal with your storytelling…

When addressing anything to do with Coronavirus (or any emergency or crisis event in the future), and perhaps what precautions your business is taking, or how your business and customers may be affected – ensure you communicate three critical pieces of information:

  1. What the crisis is
  2. How the crisis is affecting your business
  3. What is being done to prevent and reduce the impact on all involved

Communicating those answers sensitively and appropriately is crucial. Consider your audience and how to approach sensitive topics with care and empathy. Even delicate issues should be dealt with in a positive manner – always be the optimist in your messaging.

And please – once you have adequately acknowledged the situation, do not dwell there – move on to positivity, realness, humour, your usual product posts… remember your audience follows you for a reason – continue to give them your authentic self, and they will stick with you.

Slow Down the Sleazy Sales Pitch

In this time of uncertainty, it is easy to fall into panic mode and ramp up your Facebook ads, post endless sales pitch posts and become pushy for as many sales as you make. Understandable! But not effective. 

Does this mean you stop selling? No, not at all. But you can evolve the way you sell and promote your products… think about repackaging an existing service to suit your audience’s current circumstances (moving your services online for example? Different delivery conditions etc)

Can you produce something that fills a need? Creating a new product or service which specifically assists people during this time means you continue making sales, fill a niche, help people and pay your bills at the same time – win win!

Use your words wisely – you do not want to be viewed as trying to capitalise or profit from tragedy. Do not use ‘Corona Special!’ or anything related to discounts, special sales because of COVID-19. Seriously. We’ve seen it and it makes us instantly unfollow. ICK!! 

Instead, base your copy on explaining how your product or service can better your audience’s lives right now… for example – you are a clothing boutique? I want to know how your clothes can be styled so my first foray into the world after isolation, I am looking flyyyyy… You are a restaurant? Please inform me about your new delivery and take away options and is there an amended menu? Oh, and you’re now offering boxes of fresh fruit and veg that you deliver? Sign me up!

This type of thinking, and messaging can be applied to ANY business… think outside the box and really focus on how your business can pivot, what new product, service or package you can create, and what benefits you business can offer during this time – without seeming sleazy.

Connection is Key

To truly connect with your audience, the content you post and share, must do at least one of these four things:

Engage

Get your audience to do something. Start a conversation. Encourage people to comment, share, or enter a competition… Post a poll, story, ask questions, you want your audience to be engaged with your content and interacting with you and your business. 

Entertain 

Evoke an emotional response by sharing something related to your audience’s interests. Funny memes, gifs, tik toks, a personal story, video diary, photographs – really this is limited by only your imagination… get as creative as you can. Entertainment doesn’t always need to be humorous- remember people respond to realness – dramatic, sad, real, personal stories are just as effective. If we feel like we know the person behind the business, we are more likely to remain loyal to that business. 

Educate

What do you know, that your audience doesn’t? Do you have an answer to their problem? Provide something useful… Tips and tricks, write a blog piece, offer a helpful hints guide… anything that assists your customer, and helps you build your reputation as a trusted authority in your industry.

Excite

Consider your audience’s personality. What inspires them? Quotes, poetry, fitspo, styling tips, healthy eating, meal plans, exercise advice – whatever your business is, offer them inspiration. Inspiration becomes a dream, a dream becomes a plan, a course of action, a lifestyle… you want your business to be part of that journey.

You Get a Freebie, You get a Freebie, YOU Get a Freeebieeeee

You don’t have to be Oprah to give out freebies – sharing your knowledge and expertise shows credibility, reinforces your value, and gives your audience a chance to engage with you and your business. 

We’re all struggling a little right now, so it might seem counterintuitive to give something away for free, but actually, now is the best time to share the love. Release an eBook, a how-to video, free workshops, a PDF checklist or anything that would add value to your customer…

It really isn’t like you’re giving away something for nothing. You’ll be rewarded with higher engagement, a longer mailing list, increased brand awareness, positive reputation and this will, in time, convert to sales.

This Too, Shall Pass…

There will come a time when all of this is over, and life resumes to ‘normality’. You want to be able to look back with pride and feel like you responded in a positive way; you added value; you used your time productively and maintained your personal and professional dignity. You conveyed your message and used your platform responsibly… 

This is a huge, unprecedented learning opportunity for all of us, and your customers have a long memory – how we respond and act now, will shape who we are and how successful our businesses are once we resume normal practices. Take the time to assess how your business can adapt in times of crisis and prepare and protect yourself for the future. 

This grey cloud will soon be gone, and we want to see all of your beautiful businesses thriving, flourishing, and holding on to the remaining silver lining.

If you need further assistance, guidance or advice surrounding how to effectively communicate and connect through social media – get in touch with us through Tribe Of Mine – we are all in this together and we are here to help!