As news continues to share more information, guidelines change (what seems like) every hour, and the unknown weighing on many, businesses are moving at a fast pace to adopt business continuity plans, remote working, store closures, and more. The need to communicate remains paramount and perhaps the need to communicate multiple different times through many different channels. What your business communicated yesterday might have to change tomorrow. We need to be thoughtful, strategic, and fluid in our messaging, channels leveraged, and remaining on brand.
If we simply look at Google Trends for interest over time on search results across the United States, we see the interest growing exponentially. This is not surprising to anyone watching the news, scrolling through social media, or opening their inbox. Over the past three weeks, the news, search results, and the number of tweets has only escalated quickly.
From the many communications that RyTech has assisted in developing as well as the myriad of pieces of communication that we’ve received from vendors, suppliers, partners, friends, and brands, we’ve compiled our Top 5 Takeaways on Communications.
Top 5 Takeaways on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Communications
1. Communicate Pertinent Information. Everyone is being inundated with content and communication. Be thoughtful and strategic in what you are communicating and the need for your communication. In one day, I received 50+ COVID related email communications from small businesses to major retailers to large hotel groups. Make sure you’re not communicating just to communicate, but rather that you are offering actionable insights, information that your audience needs to know, and reassure your audiences that work can still be performed (if possible).
If you are a law firm that has transitioned to fully remote work and there is no change in the quality, delivery time, or availability, there is likely not a reason to communicate that directly to your client base via email, perhaps a Facebook post would fill that need. However, if you are a bar or restaurant that has been closed by a state, you likely need to communicate on multiple channels to promote drive-thru and delivery service. You still want your audience to know how they can support your business.
2. Prioritize Your Channels. Where do you typically see the most return on investment with your communications? If you have an active Twitter account with large impressions and engagement, then you should prioritize communication there. Rather, if your email list is healthy with an above-average industry open rate, this should be prioritized. You might also find that you need communication to go out on multiple different channels; make sure your message is consistent but different language for each as your audience might be slightly different in each capacity.
Some social media channels (i.e. FB) allow you to edit your posts. If a previous post has information that is no longer relevant or out of date, edit that post and reshare it to your audience. This will prevent misinformation about your business from spreading. If you have claimed your Google My Business profile and hours of your business have changed, we recommend updating that frequently to keep those searchers out there with the right information.
3. Bandwidth for Responses. As you are sending out your stakeholder communication, make sure that you have the necessary resources and bandwidth to support the management of responses. With every social post, email, website content that is sent out to your audience, there will likely be a response. Depending upon your audience size there may be a flurry of responses or only a few likes and comments, you need to be prepared for comments, questions, and reactions. You want to make sure that you respond accordingly, appropriately, and timely. Don’t let your audience wait for a response; try your best to respond in less than 24 hours. If your communications team isn’t staffed for churning out this much content or managing responses, you might consider bringing on additional, temporary support.
4. Remain on Brand. In all of your communications, it is important to stay true to your brand. How you define your brand and/or your communications is unique to each business. Keep your branding alive in your posts, emails, and press releases. Use similar language that reflects your core, guiding principles. Focus on your message, word choices, and efficiently getting your main points across. Your brand is an asset at this time (and all times) and should continue to be utilized in that way.
5. Revisit the Pre-Scheduled. If your communication teams work ahead and pre-schedule social media posts, email newsletters, or other outbound communication, someone needs to make sure that each post has been reviewed to ensure it’s still accurate, timely, and appropriate. What you don’t want to have happen is a pre-scheduled tweet going out about an in-store event that’s already been canceled or an email with untimely information confusing your audience. We appreciate the ability to work ahead, but it’s also time to take a step back and make sure the communication is accurate.
Communication is critical during this time, but over-communication or communicating just to communicate is not a prudent course of action. It’s also not wise to rush your communications. Make sure multiple individuals are involved in the writing, reading, and proofing of your communication. What sounds right to one person might be misinterpreted by another.
If you are in need of strategic assistance during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to our talented team of professionals. We’re in it together and here to help.