The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on business owners across Canada. From major retailers to small mom-and-pop operations, business owners everywhere are shutting down for anywhere from 14 to 30 days to indefinitely.
This needs to be an opportunity for you to show your audience how much you care. Whatever industry you’re in, whatever the size of your audience, this is your time to shine. This is your opportunity to be the expert in your industry when it comes to COVID-19 and you need to get your message out online.
There are a few main platforms that work really well when delivering a message. Some are free and some are paid, but all can reach your audience.
This one can be a paid version but free works for one-off emails, so it’s really up to you.
Email your audience when you have something to update or some new developments. If you’re closing your doors or decreasing your hours, you need to let your clients or customers know as soon as possible.
Remember, this isn’t the time to sell something to your readers, it’s a time to share knowledge without expectation.
Here are two examples:
- A cleaning company can give their audience a lot of information about sanitizing, such as: 10 ways to sanitize; how to set up a sanitization station near the front door; what cleaners sanitize the best.
- A realtor can keep in constant contact with their current buying or selling audience about best practices when you’re looking at homes. Wipes, don’t touch anything, social distance.
This brings value and when this is all over, your audience will come back to you (the expert) for more. And then they will be ready to buy.
These are totally free. Use your Insta Stories if you have an audience on Instagram.
Now is a good time to show them what you’re doing day to day to keep yourself and your family safe, and how you’re keeping your staff and customers safe. Show both.
This is a time to be very human, so it’s okay to show that side of your life. Story at least once daily and make sure to add text for context.
Again, this is totally free. If you have a very active audience on Facebook, then it’s time to utilize your Live video.
Give your audience notice when you’re going live and then stick to some sort of schedule. Give updates, let everyone know what part of your product or service they can still purchase. Try to make their options something that will help them through the COVID-19 self-isolation.
- If you’re a florist, show your audience what flowers will help their mood.
- If you’re in the creative space (such as knitting, signs or home-made soaps), do a promotion where a certain portion of every sale goes to help (charity of choice) during this time. Let your audience know what they can purchase that will help others. This is a great way to give back, and still produce product and stay connected with your customers.
Videos on Linkedin
Linkedin (as we discussed in my last column) has a paid version, but it has nothing to do with video.
If you’re active on Linkedin, use your voice about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it’s going to affect your industry, and what you’re doing to prevent further disruption.
With Linkedin, stick with business updates. You don’t need to mention family (unless they’re a big part of your business), but you can talk about what you’re doing for your staff and vendors to stay safe. And talk about the part you’re taking in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
These are some ways to stay connected online with your audience through this COVID-19 self-isolation. Just remember, people don’t want to be sold to during this crisis – they want to feel safe and connected.
Continue to let your audience know what you’re doing to keep everyone safe during this time.
Your next step online will be to update your audience as to what happens next. Stay tuned for information on that subject next week.
Donita Fowler is an online marketer who supports entrepreneurs in their quest to be the boss of their online platforms.