Showing Up in a Crisis
Communicating in a crisis isn’t easy. Marketing your business can have struggles at the best of times, but mix in a Corona Virus and all bets are off. When a crisis hits, our natural instincts take over. As much as I would have been ecstatic to think I’m all about fight, I’ve discovered I had a bit more flight than I had hoped. But now it’s time to fight.
I’ve seen so many posts in the small business groups that I’m a part of that businesses are available for this, that or the other. However when I head over to their social feed, there’s nothing there. Nothing to help their customers to know how to do business with them. Nothing to inspire their customers to want to help.
Are you showing up?
Showing up is as simple as putting up a post showing you still exist. But let’s go through some ways to make showing up a bit easier and a lot more effective.
Do they know you’re open? I get it, you may not be able to let someone into your store, but you can definitely still close deals another way. Are you offering delivery or curbside pick up? Having these services is great, but if you don’t let anyone know you’re not going to get any business.
I want you to think back to when you first opened your business. You were shouting it from the rooftops. You worked hard to make sure that everyone and their dog knew that you were open. So why not do the same now? The reality is you could consider this the “Grand Opening” of your new business. It really is the start to a new way of doing business.
Ask your customers for what you need
You’ve spent the last number of years being an amazing community supporter, but now is your turn to ask for help in return. Don’t shy away from it, accept it. Embrace the ask. Your customers are people and people are inherently driven to help right now. There are ways that your customers can help even if they aren’t able to spend money.
Ask for the business. Let your customers know how they can do business with you and ask them to do so. Not everyone is unemployed. There are many people who are currently working from home at the moment or who are still working in a “business as usual with their paychecks coming in” sort of way.
Ask for a review. Google reviews are the best and so helpful, but don’t forget about social media as well. Let them know that you would love it if they would be willing to share some love and let their friends, family and the rest of the world know how awesome you are.
Ask them to join your newsletter. Social media followers are awesome, but you don’t own your real estate on social media. Having a solid email list ups your marketing game significantly. In fact of your social media followers only about 3-4% will see your posts organically whereas your email list will statistically have a 30% open rate. (I’m proud to say my list runs around 50% each week, if you’re not already on my list you will want to join here, see it’s just that easy to ask)
Share small bits of communications with your audience on a frequent basis. We are all craving pieces of life that will make us feel ‘normal’. What information can you share? What kind of questions might your audience be asking themself? Jump on a live and share with them. Create a post filled with content to help your audience. Just make the pieces of content you put out easy to digest and easy to manage. Keep it short and consumable. For videos, as an example, only 2-3 minutes is great. For written content, make sure you have a specific person in mind that you are speaking to. That there is value of some sort as a reward for slowing down to read what you have posted. The longer the post, the more value there needs to be. Always ask yourself if there is more than one thought in the post and will it be better served in two posts?
The key to over communicating is remembering that while you know how many posts you’ve put out (or will put out) it doesn’t mean your audience does. In fact most often they aren’t seeing your posts hardly at all. Increasing your frequency right now is a great way to get more eyeballs on your business.
Show up with Empathy and Authority
Many are hitting their limits of what they can process in a healthy way. The last thing we want is someone to pop up in our newsfeed who seems completely oblivious to the world around them. You can’t just avoid it altogether, but you also don’t need to dwell. Share your empathy with your audience. Let them know you see them and hear their concerns. Let them know how you’ve adjusted your business to better protect and serve them.
As with any crisis now is when people are looking for leaders. Show up with authority. Be the leader in your industry, in your community or simply be the strength that someone can look up to. It may seem like a daunting task, but just having a calm voice to reassure them that it’s all going to work out is sometimes all it takes. Let them know that your there, that you’re going to show up and if you are committing to something, that you actually do it. I’ve recently committed to going live each day on my social platforms. I could come up with a million reasons why I shouldn’t do it. I suspect in a few weeks my lack of seeing my hair colorist will rank really high, but failing to show up when I promised I would, does not create the authority I’m committing to providing. It doesn’t mean I have all the answers, it just means I’m going to share the answers that I do have. Your voice has power, use it wisely and with respect.
This is a time for leaders to show up. The way you show up in your business (and quite frankly your life) during the hard times says so much more about you than all the good you do when times are great. Your audience is looking for a voice. Even if that voice is to let them know that they can pick up dinner to go by calling your restaurant.
If you take nothing else from this, take the action to “SHOW UP”.