We know it feels like the end of days right now. People are frankly freaked out about the coronavirus (or COVID-19). But if we don’t adjust our thinking around this, our economy, starting with small businesses, will be even more dramatically impacted than they already are.
Here are five ways you can support your community and hopefully stay profitable during these crazy times.
1 Double Down on Digital Spends
A lot of businesses are scared, and they should be. Because they’re scared, they’re questioning their marketing and advertising spend. Don’t be one of those companies. Now is the best time EVER to double down your dollars so that you can capture more market share. It may sound a bit callous, but we saw the same thing happen in 2008/2009, and the smarter companies that survived and thrived turned a challenging time into an opportunity to grow. It will be good for you long-term and is the right thing to do to keep the economy going.
2 Get More Social (Online)
I don’t know about you, but I’ve cancelled most of my social and business plans. This has left me feeling totally disconnected and frankly a bit lonely. That’s why now is a great time to start or increase your social media content. Act as if things are as normal as possible and talk to your community through your social channels. More than just talking at them, start a dialogue and use these challenging times to truly engage your community in honest conversations about what you’re doing to support them and how you’re working towards business as usual. Make them feel the love even if it’s only online. (P.S. Social media views and engagement have increased by over 30% in the last two weeks, so give the people what they want where they want it.)
3 Put Your People First
I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but there are still a lot of companies out there that don’t have emergency protocol around this virus. Worse yet, there are a lot of employees who, if they don’t show up physically to work, don’t get paid. There’s no other way to say this than don’t be a d*&k! Like us, I’m sure many of your employees have kids and, with the recent school shutdowns, are feeling the pressure more than ever before. We live in amazing times where a ton of work can be done remotely. When you treat your employees with respect and let them put their health and families first, they will be more loyal and committed to the work and will likely maintain productivity and service levels, and that’s good for business and morale alike.
4 Convert, Don’t Cancel
Brands that rely on fundraising efforts like non-profits are rightfully freaking out right now. Many events and galas have been cancelled and the teams behind them don’t know how they’re going to raise the working capital they need to maintain their staff and support the work they’re doing in the community. We have seen smart companies both in the for- and non-profit worlds quickly convert events and fundraising to digital. Whether it’s micro-donations through social media or crowdfunding platforms, there are tons of great digital tools, if done right and quickly, that can slow the decline of fundraising efforts. There are also tools out there such as Zoom that can supplement the intimate connections between donors, keep meetings on track, and keep communities and communication flowing. So don’t cancel that meeting, just convert it to a Zoom and keep things moving forward as normally as possible.
5 Content Is (Still) Critical
Let’s be honest, with everything cancelling and everyone wondering what to do next, most businesses have a lot of unexpected time on their hands right now. Look at it as an opportunity to develop quality content for your digital channels and to set yourself up for a successful future. Use Google Docs to collectively ideate ad concepts. Use Zoom to interview employees for human-interest story vlogs. Use a project management platform to make a more robust marketing plan. We know how hard it can be for brands to devote time to building out their content calendar, so take this time to write blogs and prepare email campaigns and audit your content. Because when you come out on the other side of this thing, we’ll all have to hit the ground running.
We’re not trying to tell you that this isn’t a scary time, but it is a time for us to take our heads out of the sand and start focusing on what we can do to instill a sense of normalcy, even when it feels like things are on fire all around us. We will be ok if we all start adjusting what business as usual looks like and, of course, washing our hands.