business, marketing

How to stay connected
with your audience in times of crisis

3rd April 2020

In the blink of an eye, it seems like the world flipped upside-down. Few people saw the repercussions of a worldwide pandemic, leaving countless businesses floundering for how to manage the crisis and what to do next.

There is genuine economic uncertainty, as well as anxiety and concern across the board. These feelings are perfectly valid, and the good news is that businesses can make it through these trying times.

One of the first things to do is to connect with your audience. This is not about selling to them in a time of crisis (whether you can or not), but about staying afloat and seeing your company through to the other side, but we can’t do this alone, now more than ever we need to stick together.

In this post, we will share with you a few ideas on how you can connect with your clients and audiences online, and make the best of this time of social isolation and lockdowns.

The perfect time to be online

New Zealand has already seen record-breaking numbers of people getting online during this lockdown, making it the perfect time to connect with audiences.

Spend time on your social media accounts, share your own content as well as other relevant content, and start conversations in the comments and respond to anyone who leaves a message. This will make individual customers feel seen and valued.

You can also update your website, add a new blog or two, and send out an email update.

Another option is to host an online talk, webinar, or a question and answer session. You can do this with anything from your Instagram story, to Facebook Live, to a Zoom conference, and this will allow you to truly connect with your audiences and maintain a positive brand image.

However, be wary of sharing Covid-19 articles, as many audiences are getting oversaturated with these messages. While an update about your services during this time is expected, there is no need to add to the pandemic information overload many people are currently experiencing.

The world breaks everyone, and afterwards,
some are strong at the broken places. Ernest Hemingway

Make your business available to help

Ask yourself what your brand can do to help people. This may simply be by continuing with business as usual as best you can. Yet even if your company is unable to operate at this time, there is plenty you can do to improve your audience’s day.

To start, be ready to answer any questions about your business and continuing your services or products. If you don’t have the answers right now, remain positive and upbeat to let your customers know that you’ll be back before they know it.

If nothing else, you can be a beacon of positivity in these trying times. Share a joke, a cute photo of your cats in your home office, or anything else that will remind your audience that you’re there, you’re looking on the bright side, and there are still things to celebrate.

Offer advice and ideas

Are you able to help your clients simply by giving them advice or inspiration?

Perhaps a painter could offer their best tips for maintaining painted walls while everyone cleans their homes. An accountant might share a list of things people will need at tax time so they can start preparing their paperwork. A florist might share their secrets for creating an eye-catching bouquet from backyard flowers.

Every business has helpful knowledge they can share, and now is a great time to spread those tips around. This can improve your audience’s image of your brand, and keep you top of mind for when they need your services once more.

Seek collaboration

With this unprecedented downtime, businesses can also use this moment to see what opportunities can be found.

Are there other companies that would complement your own that you could pair up with to offer an even better service or product to your clients? For example, a bookseller could pair up with a local winery to offer great reads and great wines to enjoy together. Or a hairstylist could pair up with a local nail salon for a package pampering deal.

Collaborations can improve your own image and open you up to new audiences, but just be sure to consider your audience wants and needs, and don’t stray from your core messaging and brand.

Final thoughts

As you spend this time developing your audience connection, keep in mind that communication comes first¬† sales a distant second. This is a time for kindness and support, not pushing products on frazzled customers nor fighting for new clients. Let’s continue to be kind, support one another, and weather this storm together.