Nearly every individual and organization is feeling the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak. With wide spread, indefinite closures and cancellations, the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our lives in ways we’ve never imagined—and I’m not just talking about the mystery of panic toilet paper hoarding. Globally, businesses are suffering, and they are feeling the devastating financial effects ripple through like rapid wildfire.
As hard as it is to believe, challenging times can create opportunities for many; along with adversity comes creativity. And now more than ever, it’s time to re-think how your business can survive and evolve during these unprecedented times.
- Speak up: Out of sight means out of mind, so staying silent during a time of turmoil is an easy way to sink your business. Your customers want to know what measures you’re taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Will you be offering your products online? Are refunds available? Keep the lines of communication open: reach out to them via email, post a note to the homepage of your website, call them, let them know what they can expect in the coming weeks and how they can find you.
- Get Social (at a distance): Increasing your social media presence has never been as important as it is now. Consumers are yearning for some sort of entertainment while in quarantine. Engage with your audience via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Set up a virtual fitness group, do a Facebook Live every day with a new craft idea or product demo, or share some educational content, perhaps even a webinar series. Whatever is relevant to your business, share it! Check out what our friends at Zirkova Vodka are doing on their Instagram page for some inspiration!
- Spotlight: Brand Awareness and visibility are of the utmost importance during this time. Don’t be shy about leveraging your local media partners to provide tips, advice and insight on how this pandemic is affecting your industry. You may even suggest doing a light-hearted interactive segment (virtual, of course)—people still need the ‘feel-good’ stories, especially at a time when we’re being inundated with bad news. This is the time to start writing those blogs or how-tos, experiment with video and video conferencing platforms, and brainstorm new methods of getting in front of your audience so that it is meaningful and helpful to them.
- Reflect: Whether we like it or not, life is moving a bit slower these days, which is a great opportunity to catch up on ‘administrative work’. Re-evaluate your business plan, work on business development, ensure your website is well-optimized for search engines, create evergreen content, offer online deals or discounts, maybe even think of creating a more engaging marketing campaign.
- Build Relationships Not Just Connections: More and more people are online using social platforms to network. Take the time to engage with them by sending a personal note, comment on their posts, get to know them, look for opportunities to collaborate or partner with them. Support them, don’t pitch them.