Coronavirus is having a significant effect on many businesses. Even healthcare practitioners are seeing their income drop because people will only come out for emergencies. In this situation, it’s natural to want to cut costs, but the mistake most businesses make is to cut marketing and PR spend. Now is the time to be more present and add as much value to your customers and followers as you can.
If you’re not able to deliver your products or services as usual, then think of how you could build trust and affinity during this time.
Consumers need to see consistency in brand messaging in times of uncertainty. And, as history has shown, brands that remain in-market with consistent messaging come out of a crisis ahead of their competitors. Articles on Ad Age and Forbes showcase past examples of how brands navigated difficult situations by being present and actionable.
Rather than cut your marketing dollars, now is the time to get really intelligent and strategic. In 2019 Pew Research Center reported that more than half of adults get their news on social media. That number is likely to be even higher, now that people are at home all day. Amazon is hiring thousands of workers to cope with the increased demand. Groceries is one very obvious example – Google trends data shows the recent surge in demand as people look for home delivery.
While they’re online, they’re also going to be checking their social feeds. This is one activity you can double-down on and, if you do it right, you’ll come out ahead of the game when this is all over.
Figure out a social media content strategy. This is the time to show what you’re doing in this time of crisis. Create goodwill and a sense of being connected to your community. They will be will be watching.
Don’t come across as tone-deaf or opportunistic. Provide as much value to your audience as possible. Here are some ideas:
- Write useful blog posts and post the links in your social content.
- Provide factual updates
- If possible, find ways to tie your business offering to the crisis in ways that could make life easier right now.
- Pivot to online services that your audience can do while they’re staying home.
Create a free booklet on how to strengthen the immune system to cope with infection and viruses.
Many companies could create home-schooling lessons online to help parents with young children stuck at home.
Share your skills or talents. Children’s author Mo Willems is live-streaming a doodle tutorial each weekday during the coronavirus outbreak. You can watch the doodle tutorials live at 1 p.m. ET on the Kennedy Center website.
Offer training or consulting via video conferencing. If you have skills other businesses could use, make them available online. Agencies could teach graphic design to small businesses or students.
You could learn a new skill that could be delivered online – some form of coaching. Ulan Nutritional Systems launched a nutrition coaching course for health care practitioners that can be delivered via online meetings.
Museums and art galleries are offering tours online. See what Grand Rapids Museum has done.
Small businesses can reach out via online meetings and social media.
Develop a content series that will be useful and interesting to your audience.
Now is the time to forge a truly effective social media strategy and create a consistent flow of high-quality content that delivers value. Once the quarantine is over and we get back to normal business practices, if you’ve used this time wisely you’ll be ahead of the game.