We live in a digital age ordinarily, but when so many workers (and that includes executives) are sheltering in place, digital becomes an effective and necessary way to communicate.
In the beginning of March, I posted a FleetOwner IdeaXchange blog on how companies should optimize their social media presence. That was before we were aware of the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic. But this crisis will pass, and when it does, you will need to find ways to re-energize and grow your business.
The blog cited Dee Reinhardt, social media strategist and principal at Time2Mrkt. Who provided the four reasons your business needs social media in order to:
- Build brand awareness
- Position yourself as a thought leader
- Increase lead generation and sales
- Support customers
Each of these reasons is one every company understands is necessary for growth. The blog continues to offer some helpful tips to follow. But looking back at this blog got me to thinking about the need for both social media and digital communications in general.
How a Crisis Shows the Need for Digital
Here at NationaLease, we understand how business has been impacted. We have had to postpone one of our membership meetings until much a later date. And we are definitely not the only ones. The hospitality industry has been hit hard by this. These meetings are incredibly important as are face-to-face meetings between sales teams and their customers. Fortunately, smart phones, emails and WebEx have enabled salespeople to stay in touch with their customers without staying “in touch.”
A recent Forbes article covered this issue and the author found that businesses want “to become more sophisticated in their use of live social platforms. Clients are turning to Facebook or LinkedIn Live.” Companies are now integrating these platforms into their marketing strategy, initially as a fill-in; but as they see the potential these platforms offer, they may seek to optimize the use of social media.
An article on CMO.com offers some tips and some warnings about the use of social media during this pandemic. As the author notes, “in times of national and global emergencies, social media has a more important role than ever.” So here are some ideas of what to do:
- Always make sure your content adds genuine value
- Be consistent and frequent in your messaging and “take the format, timing and distribution channel of the message into consideration with every engagement.”
- Update customers on the details of your business, but “do it in a way that shows confidence and concern for their circumstances.”
- Don’t necessarily look to always focus on your company. You may also want to “promote certain charities to highlight positive ways to give back and be a source of good news to be a counterpoint to all the bad news.”
- Use social media to support customers, even if it doesn’t include mention of your product. This is a great way to build and increase loyalty.
There is one overriding DON’T…DON’T ALLOW YOUR COMPANY BE PERCEIVED AS OPPORTUNISTIC!!! That is an incredible turnoff and creates really bad optics. And that means it is vital to review all creative and content before posting to make sure it is appropriate for the time.
The CMO article quotes Ellen Dugan, Chief Marketing Officer of WP Engine, “Brands that engage with their customers effectively and empathetically are those that will resonate the most during and after a crisis. In times of uncertainty, open and transparent communication is the key to retaining loyalty and trust.”