The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic decline has forced businesses and individual professionals to operate in ways never imagined. Now, as we enter the initial phases of opening the nation’s economy, it’s crucial to be thinking about how to reopen and market your business effectively using these digital communication tips.
While acclimating to this “new normal,” it’s also very important to stay connected and engaged with your audience and consumers online. This is particularly true as it applies to social media. In fact, businesses should have been using digital media (social media, email, etc.) to stay in touch with their customers all along.
With this being said, you might be wondering what type of messaging and content is appropriate amid this uncertain, everchanging, and transitory period.
Read on to learn about suitable messaging, as well as five examples of content to share on your business’ social media channels.
Messaging and Tone
In weeks prior, it may have been viewed as distasteful to share any sort of self-serving or heavily promotional content. Though sharing updates and other pertinent information was encouraged, businesses had to be careful not to come across as insensitive to the Coronavirus outbreak and resulting health crisis.
As we slowly (but surely) begin to break away from the initial state of concern and panic, it’s acceptable to take a more positive approach in your messaging.
Here are three tips to keep in mind:
1. Ensure your messaging exudes an uplifting, appreciative tone
Be sure to take time to thank your customers and/or guests for their loyalty and support throughout the pandemic. Make efforts to welcome them back and express your excitement to see and serve them again. This will help add a personal touch and make them feel recognized and appreciated.
Also, don’t forget to uphold your brand voice in all communication. If your company’s brand is more playful and fun, make sure your words reflect that. Conversely, if you generally have a more serious tone, stick with it.
2. Be mindful and inclusive of precautions
Even though businesses will reopen, operations won’t be the same as they were prior to the pandemic. Tell your customers about the extra precautions and policies integrated at your business to keep it – and most importantly them – safe.
Highlight these efforts by sharing photos of the new socially distanced, 25% capacity compliant layout, for example. Further, address any industry specific changes that have been made as a result of government mandates.
3. Consider your various audiences
Remember, your business likely has various audiences – both internal and external. Your internal audience is typically comprised of employees, existing customers, etc., while your external audience consists of new customers or guests, media, and so on.
The way you communicate with each should be different. For instance, the way to talk to employees should be different than how you’d talk to your existing customers, than your prospects.
Along those lines, don’t overlook your employees. Assuming they understand what you’re doing to reopen, keep them safe, and make improvements is risky. It’s been to overcommunicate and ensure they understand. This also ensures that they can communicate this information to your customers as well.
Post-COVID-19 Digital Communication Examples
Digital communication is going to be important now and throughout the various stages of reopening. People, including the media, often turn to business’ social media channels and other online profiles to obtain accurate and current information.
Additionally, maintaining a presence on social media is one of the best, most cost-effective ways to retain relationships with your customers and spark engagement. You may even consider paid content as well to gain a bit more traction. No matter your choice, it’s still a good idea to be thoughtful and sensitive toward the ongoing situation.
Know what types of content are appropriate to share at this time and plan your content schedule accordingly to avoid being repetitive, over-promotional, etc. Below are some examples of content to include in your plans.
1. Reopening Announcements / Updates
Keep your channels up to date and share reopening announcements or plans that outline specific details such as dates, adjusted hours, and special offers. If you’re remaining closed for now or still unable to reopen, that’s okay but make sure to communicate it clearly.
2. Reopening Preparation
The way businesses operate is going to look different for quite some time, perhaps indefinitely for some. Show your audience how you’re preparing your business for reopening. For example, this could include videos or photos of team members sanitizing the space or setting up social distancing measures. Information about new health and safety policies is also good content to share.
For lengthy content, consider infographics or visuals versus long text. Your audience will more easily be able to digest it. Sites like Canva offer easy and free resources to create such graphics.
3. Value-Add or DIY
Continue to share content that’s of value to your audience. Think about them and what they want/need first. This isn’t a time to just think about your needs or business goals.
Even in times of calm, best practice suggests sharing three value-based posts for every one promotion-based post. Doing so helps boost your business’ UVP and enables your audience to feel more like they’re having a conversation with you rather than always being marketed to.
If your company can offer DIY tutorials (I.E. at home hairstyles by salons, step-by-step recipes by restaurants, etc.), this allows for a good way to provide value too.
4. Holidays / National Days
Recognizing upcoming holidays or industry specific national days is encouraged now and going forward. Topics like this are lighthearted and should still be celebrated to provide a sense of normalcy.
5. Showcase Stories of Positivity
Add a more personal touch by sharing stories that are uplifting, yet something people can relate or look up to. Highlight “everyday heroes” within your business or organization or share “survival stories/stories of perseverance.”
Another way to share positivity is by promoting any sort of internal campaign your company has been running or participating in to support those serving on the front lines (I.E. meal donations, fundraisers, etc.). Encourage others to join or donate if applicable.
It’s still an uncertain time, however remaining positive and staying connected with your audience via relevant content is imperative. Soon, business, and life, will return to (new) normal but in the meantime, focus on upholding proper messaging and maintaining a presence online as part of your reopening plans.
For more information on how PTE can help you manage your messaging and social media content, contact us.