I love reading New Year forecasts from industry leaders and NO one could have predicted how strangely 2020 would have turned out.
The thing about communicating is it’s always best to honestly tell your story and content marketing is all about your story. If there’s anything that this global pandemic has taught us is it’s important to be flexible. The same goes for your social media and content marketing strategy.
As I’ve helped my clients navigate these uncertain waters and as things slowly begin to return to “normalcy,” here are a few lessons I’ve learned.
Don’t go radio silent – If you’ve had to completely shutter your business, don’t cease communicating. Continue to update your social media with news about your possible reopening and the projected timeline. Let your customers know what’s happening. My favorite local cafe has gone completely quiet on social media this spring and I’ve only heard rumors of their opening on a local community Facebook page. It would be fantastic if they’d update their Facebook page with some news..ANY news.
Think outside the box – Yoga classes going the way of Zoom, book stores offering curbside pickup, authors doing virtual tours and restaurants adding alcoholic beverages to go (maybe that’s just a Nashville thing?) Your core customers love you for YOU and whatever your business offers, whether it’s an amazing product or an experience or service. How can you provide them with that end product but in this new era? For example, if you’re a travel agent you obviously can’t plan trips but you CAN offer virtual tours or social media posts or blogs about your favorite excursions and travel tips for when things to open. This is also a great to to collaborate and partner with other small businesses or support local nonprofits. If there ever was a time to be creative and think outside the box, this is it! Take advantage of this pioneering and somewhat strange time. One of our favorite pizza restaurants offered a roll of toilet paper with every large pizza purchased during the height of COVID19 toilet paper hysteria.
Be authentic – Local news personalities are broadcasting from their back decks without fancy studio makeup, people are having Zoom conference calls while their kids and pets make an occasional ruckus in the background and people are turning to humor during stressful times. This is not a time for slickly produced marketing videos or campaigns. If you own a small business get real with folks…maybe go live on Facebook and give a tour of your business or store and let them know what’s going on. Share your favorite local businesses. Ask your customers how you can help them. Share how you are dealing with this unusual time. One of my clients owns an exercise studio and she’s been sharing photos of herself and her dog as they quarantine together and people love it.
Have a Plan B – Although many states are starting to open up and slowly return to a quasi normal way of conducting business, things are not going to be the same for a while. Plus, quite honestly business owners should all prepare for a “what if” scenario in case there is a spike in COVID19 cases this fall or winter. Have a plan of action that makes your business and marketing as COVID19 proof as possible.
Rethink long-term marketing campaigns – If you normally start planning for the holidays over the summer, make sure you continue to put a COVID19 lens on whatever you’re planning. For example, now is probably not the time to plan a big speaking tour or marketing that relies solely on in-person shopping or events.
How have you adapted your marketing plans this year in the wake of COVID19?