You can’t over-communicate during this crisis, but you can make a few mistakes if you aren’t careful.
Follow these three strategies to have online content that tells your audience about your current situation.
Review your images, text and videos for everything you’re posting online.
Paid advertising or organic reach, it must reflect the current COVID crisis. Be very respectful of what people are going through and how it’s impacting their lives.
You don’t want to use images that portray large groups of people or even touching with handshakes and hugs. A lot of people don’t understand that you work on content three to six months prior to posting it, so they will assume you had this gathering over the weekend. And that just doesn’t look good on your business.
So proceed with caution on your visual search for advertising and organic posting. It’s acceptable now to use images with masks and physical distancing, or even the hashtag #stayhome. On Instagram, #stayhome has more than 18.7-million posts.
Water Polo Canada had a really great take on physical distancing as a team. Watch it here (sorry, but you need a Facebook account to watch it). More and more businesses, teams, actors, etc., are showcasing physical distancing/self-isolation with their online messaging.
If you’re an Ellen DeGeneres fan, you will love how she’s handing the pandemic. Every day we get to watch her call another A-list celebrity. They are witty and off the cuff … and for a few minutes they give my brain some comic relief. (Side rant: Laughing is really good for you; according to this clip, you need to laugh now more than ever.)
Be timely with your information.
If you’re now offering curbside pickup, make sure to mention it in your online messaging: “In order to continue serving our customers, we now have contact-free curbside pickup.”
This is a great chance to use your online message to convey real time situations and realities. If you’re having to temporarily lay off staff, you can say: “Reduced staffing means we need a wee bit more patience when you’re placing a phone order.”
Or maybe you want to let people know you’re affected by COVID-19, but still open and still safe to buy from. That might look like this: “Still open and ready to safely serve you. Call our order hotline and we will provide you with the same great service as before the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Be careful if you’re advertising for different areas of the country (or world) and make sure you’re timely with their situation. So if you’re advertising for Ontario, make sure you know the current realities in that region. You will have to rely on news sources for that information, unless you have feet on the ground reporting back.
Be adaptive in your current reality.
If you need to pivot your online messaging because something changed, just do it.
A great example of this is The Saskatoon Farm in Calgary. They now offer online ordering, and they will bag your groceries and deliver them to you, or bag your groceries with curbside pickup. This is something they haven’t tried before, but they’re doing what they can to stay in business and ride out this pandemic.
And the only reason I know they’re doing this is because they changed their online messaging to reflect what they are doing now.
These are three things you can revisit over and over as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to run its course. Be empathetic, be timely and be adaptive, and your online messaging will remain strong throughout the crisis.
Donita Fowler is an online marketer who supports entrepreneurs in their quest to be the boss of their online platforms.