Now that the provinces are starting the stages of reopening, business owners everywhere are flipping that Closed sign to Open. And whether you’re offering a product or a service, you need to let your audience (users, customers, fans) know what you’re doing.
Don’t wait to communicate – customers are looking for reassurance right now and you can highlight your efforts. In times of uncertainty, combined with stress (emotional, financial, etc.), communication is necessary.
Here are a few ways to get the conversation going with your online audiences.
Open the communication lines immediately
Whether or not you were good at communicating during the shutdown doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you only look forward.
Businesses are slowly being given the green light to open and you want to make sure you’re letting your audience know what’s going on. Don’t wait until you know everything – give your audience the stages as they happen.
Let them know what you know and keep everyone informed. It’s a great excuse to communicate with everyone multiple times over multiple platforms.
This is a good chance for you to create a way for customers to ask questions. If you have an FAQ page on your website, put some of those on your Facebook Business Page or have a dedicated Instagram Story Highlight for answering questions.
Another great way to keep the communication lines open during the different reopening stages is through live video. You can do Facebook, Instagram or YouTube live sessions, and answer questions or show your excitement about being back in business.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Facebook Live usage has gone up 50 per cent. And they are making it more and more accessible on every platform. For instance, you don’t have to have a Facebook account to watch a Facebook Live video.
Tell it like it is
Most of us have survived the pandemic in some capacity and continue to survive it every day. Don’t try to sugar coat how things really are for your business – be real and be honest. If you have had to make some hard adjustments because of COVID-19, let your audience know about it.
Reduced hours? Make sure you have updated all of your platforms to show it. Google My Business, Facebook Business Page and website, for example, should all have the same hours of operation.
There are going to be customers who are hesitant to go shopping or use your services because of the risks associated with the virus. Let them know that you know about the risks as well and are also struggling with the reopen. As much as you’re excited to open, there’s also a nervous energy around it.
Share your journey back to open with your audience. If you’re offering fewer services, then you need to let people know. If you’re offering more services, then you need to let people know.
One last thing to consider is putting together a smaller version of your annual online marketing plan just for the reopening. You can have the different steps you’re going to take as everyone moves through the stages.
And you’re not coming up with this content on your own. Utilize your province’s COVID-19 website for information. In Calgary, where I’m from, we’re not open and the rest of the province is (aside from Brooks), so it’s important that Calgary businesses communicate that.
As we get to our new normal, you want to let your online audience know what you’re doing and how you’re handling it. Utilize all of your online platforms to get your COVID-19 reopening message out.
Donita Fowler is an online marketer who supports entrepreneurs in their quest to be the boss of their online platforms. Visit Donita’s website https://www.interestmarketing.ca or follow Donita on Instagram to learn more.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.