We are living in unprecedented times.
It’s unbelievable how many things we’ve taken for granted.
Things are going to get worse before they get better.
Insert your cliche of choice for what’s happening in the world right now.
Unquestionably, the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic have taken hold of our world and, as of the time I sit to blog this out, quarantines, lockdowns, and business stoppages are continuing to rage forward and when it will stop is anybody’s guess. I know you don’t need me to tell you to listen to the instructions being administered by the CDC and our local, state, and federal governments. But…in case you’re reading this and you’re one of the people who still thinks it’s cool to gather in groups with others or not respect reasonable boundaries of space while we do everything we can to slow down this aggressively contagious disease: Please. Stop. It. Now. PLEASE.
One thing I’ve noticed since non-essential businesses were forced to close their doors is that creativity abounds when our backs are against the wall. Businesses of various shapes, sizes, missions, and initiatives have thrown the proverbial middle finger up at Corona and are doing everything they can to stay in contact with their audience, community, and current and potential customers in a digital capacity. This pandemic has exemplified the fact that we are all human and all in this together, with celebrities taking time to do Q&As on their social media platforms and musicians hosting live concerts from their living rooms for all to enjoy.
If you’re not using this time to capitalize on the brand experience you deliver, you’re missing out. Now more than ever, people are looking to social media platforms for comfort and a sense of normality.
Are you present in their world?
Are you bringing your brand experience to their feeds and giving them an opportunity to connect and engage?
You should be.
What you can offer might not be your picture perfect idea of who you are and what you do. But right now, work with what you have at your disposal. And what you have can be pretty powerful.
If you’re struggling to find things to share on your networks, here are five easy ways you can keep your brand operational during this worldwide crisis.
1) Be positive. From media coverage gone wrong to political spins to people not adhering to the guidelines of quarantines and social distancing, there’s no question that news feeds are already littered with negativity. Don’t add to it. Create a positive, uplifting message for your audience. Be entertaining. Be inspiring. We are all well aware of what’s happening in the world. There is no need to amplify it by adding negative fuel to the flames. Use this time to acquaint people with your brand story. Use your network to create videos about how you see people doing positive things during the pandemic. Talk about what you’re doing at your business to keep your employees safe. Pushing a positive agenda is a good rule of thumb for building your brand experience at all times. And right now, it’s paramount.
2) Don’t ‘hardcore’ sell. Throughout this pandemic, I’ve received multiple emails from the same companies still trying to sell me things. This is not the time to be in sales mode. This is the time to show the human element of your brand and highlight the fact that your company is operated by humans battling through this pandemic, too. Aggressively selling your products and services looks insensitive. You can make much better progress being a ‘digital third space’ for consumers, establishing trust and loyalty with each interaction. When you do this, they’ll patronize you when the time is right. Without you having to ask.
3) Create a comfortable vibe. I mentioned in #2 the idea of a ‘digital third space.’ Right now, people are missing their third space more than ever. Third space refers to the place a person goes that’s not their home or work. Here, they meet friends, enjoy quiet solidarity, and take time to unwind. Undoubtedly, you have a third space you like to frequent. Coffee shops, bistros, bars, restaurants, etc. These labyrinths of social interaction are currently not available, so digital platforms are bridging the gap and providing opportunities for people to stay in contact with friends, colleagues, and loved ones. Use your networks to create a space that people want to frequent. Your digital presence is a true indicator of what a real in-person experience with your brand will encompass. Use this time to shine the spotlight on it.
4) Be creative. Businesses are digging deep into their arsenals to do whatever they can to stay operational in these unpredictable times. Right now, it’s all fair game and no idea shouldn’t at least be discussed and considered. Again, the Internet is on your side and gives you many ways to reach your audience. Live video feeds, starting a podcast, digital conferencing through platforms like Zoom. Think outside the box, draw a box around what you discover, then think outside of that. You never know…you may stumble upon the world’s next big idea.
5) Be thankful. Can you IMAGINE what would be happening if we didn’t have the Internet to keep us connected during this pandemic? I don’t even want to think about it. But remember – generations before us suffered through plagues, epidemics, and pandemics without the World Wide Web and civilization continued to move on. We will get through this…but be thankful you live in a world that allows you to stay connected to breaking news, people you love, and, in the case of your brand, an audience of people anxiously craving a trusted friend they can turn to.
One thing all of us need to be doing frequently and consistently is thanking all of the essential workers fighting this pandemic each and every day. Their duties do not offer the ability to go into quarantine. They are battling daily to see us through this. The least we can do is listen to what we’re being told to do. Stay home. Go out ONLY for the essentials. Practice social distancing at all times. We will get through this together and those on the front lines are doing everything in their power to see to that. Let’s follow suit.
THANK YOU for all that you do and to everyone – stay safe.