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Communicating During COVID-19: How to Use Social Media During a Crisis

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Usually, when teaching my clients how to use social media effectively, it’s simple.

  1. Build your Community
  2. Communicate Consistently
  3. Collaborate Strategically 

In times like these, it’s a little bit different!  So today, I want to share how to use social media during a crisis.  COVID -19 has affected us all in one way or another personally and professionally.  You’ve probably heard this a lot lately, “We’re all in this together.”  Well, the only place we should be getting together right now is online and when we come together we need to encourage each other and build each other up.  That’s why it’s important for us as business owners to make sure we are using social media responsibly and effectively. Whether your Social Media Platform is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, an e-newsletter or LinkedIn, the message should be the same.  You are here to educate, inform, and encourage!

First and foremost when communicating during a crisis, remember these  things:

Communicate with Empathy

Do not view this as an opportunity to market your business or capitalize on the current situation.  Someone once said, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”  Instead of posting sales and product promotions, view it as a time to support your online community.  Think about how the crisis is affecting your clients.  This may mean checking pre-scheduled posts or reaching out to your social media manager to review the tone, content, and relevancy of the posts you pre-scheduled for the future.  They may no longer be appropriate and may come off as insensitive. Save them for another time.  This doesn’t mean you have to stop selling, you may just have to take a different approach.

Be Mindful of your Audience

Everyone is experiencing COVID-19 differently. Some parents are having to balance preparing meals while homeschooling children and working remotely all at the same time.  Some people are home alone for weeks at a time with little to no human interaction.  Some have lost their jobs, dealing with grief, or sickness.  Don’t overwhelm their inbox with unnecessary information.  Every company they’ve ever communicated with is emailing them right now.  Only send pertinent information via email, continue your monthly newsletter but again, make it relevant and just don’t overdo it. 

Build Your Community Strategically

If you don’t already have an online presence, get busy. Your clients want to hear from you.  Don’t disappear during the crisis.  Someone in your industry is educating your clients, equipping them with information, and preparing them to purchase when the time is right.  Your clients are searching for information online like never before.  Make sure they can find you.  Make sure they know your status.      Have your hours changed?  Are you seeing clients virtually?  What adjustments have you made to better serve your clients during this time? How has COVID-19 affected you and our business?   Update your website and all of your social media platforms to reflect the changes you’ve made in response to the crisis.

Be a Resource

Get creative and think about how you can help your clients.  I recently saw a realtor posting about where to find hand sanitizer in the neighborhoods and a hairdresser giving DIY tips for maintaining your hair at home.  Think about your clients and what they need right now. Can you help them find it?  People will be ready to put their home on the market, perhaps post tips about how to get your home ready for sale.  How to make wise financial decisions in the midst of a crisis.  Attending to the elderly in times like these.   Another way to be a resource is to collaborate with other trusted professionals who cater to your clientele.  Invite them to be a guest blogger on your website to offer helpful information.  It’s a win-win situation because your clients see you as a valuable resource beyond the service you offer and if you happen to cross-post, the backlinks help with Search Engine Optimization.

Be true to your Brand

Obviously somethings you post may have nothing to do with your brand. Maybe you’re just being helpful when you make that post about where to find toilet paper.  Still, it’s important to be strategic, be authentic, and be memorable.  Make sure they know how to reach you and be sure to engage with your audience!  If someone comments, respond! 

Choose your Channels Carefully!

Although your message should be consistent, where you deliver our message and how you deliver the message will be e different. Everyone is not on every platform so you need to diversify.  Know your ideal client avatar.  Where are your clients hanging out and what language are they speaking?   Are they on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat?  Are they listening to podcasts, reading blog posts, or watching YouTube videos?  Are they more conservative or relaxed?  Do your research and adjust your message and your platform accordingly.

For more information on how Small Business Owners can use social media effectively in times of crisis check out the links below:

 

Hopefully, these quick tips are helpful.  We’d love to hear your tips on communicating during the COVID-19 crisis. We wish you success and don’t forget to #BeClever!

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