Social distancing guidelines have become everyone’s new norm. For some businesses, the toll of not being able to engage with their contacts physically is obvious. For others, it’s more muted. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, we may be living in a wholly digital world soon. Fortunately, in 2020, there are numerous tactics to make this more feasible. Even if social distancing is affecting your business functions, you can fight back by expanding your digital presence.
Here are a few suggestions to engage with your users online.
Use SMS to Update Your Network
Need to get an essential message to your contacts as soon as possible? SMS is the quickest way to engage with your contacts. Share information on how COVID-19 is affecting your business, whether that means you’ve shortened your hours, reduced staff or sent people to work from home. Businesses remaining open can provide details on how they’re enforcing social distancing and cleanliness. During this time, your audience will likely be delighted to see your company being proactive and responsive.
Write A COVID-19 Response
You’ve probably seen a handful of heartful emails from brands outlining their response to COVID-19. Transparency like this can help ease your contacts’ likely stressed minds because they want to know how their favorite companies are handling the situation. There are multiple ways to distribute your message outside of email too. Publish a blog and make it a featured item on your website. You can promote it by adding a banner to your homepage as well. Then, after that, you can easily incorporate a link to your full messaging in an SMS campaign.
Update Your Yelp or Google Business
Social distancing guidelines have caused many businesses to transform their business structure, including hours, staff, and location. As a result, consumers may assume you’ve eliminated your services. With platforms like Yelp and Google Business, you can showcase your brand’s new operating hours alongside contact information. Keep your users in the know by including any of these updates so they can stay in touch. For restaurants, you can highlight your takeout and contactless delivery approaches to encourage “socially-distanced” visits.
Move Conferences Online
Conferences as small as local tradeshows and as large as SXSW have been canceled in the wake of COVID-19. If you’re able, you can take your in-person event to the comfort of your audiences’ own homes by pre-recording sessions or going live on Zoom. This way, they can attend without having to break social distancing recommendations. Your users win by continuing their learning, and you win by increasing digital engagement!
Start a Webinar Series
Webinars, or other similar online events, offer a way for people to interact with your organization and other attendees. Using platforms like Zoom, GoToWebinar, and others, audience members can engage with you by asking questions, responding to polls, and utilizing chat boxes. Another benefit? They get to hear directly from you during a time of uncertainty, which reveals your continued availability to them. If you’re stuck on topic ideas, you could start with a series on your COVID-19 reactions or whatever your business is an expert at.
Incorporate Live Chat to Your Site
Onboarding a live chat system to your website can boost 1:1 communication with your leads and customers. As more people switch to a home office, some extroverted individuals will cherish the opportunity to chat directly with your sales or customer service representatives. You’ll get the benefit of hearing their questions, concerns, and feedback on everything from your solutions to your COVID-19 response. Those users will enjoy the chance to speak to someone outside of their quarantined bubble.
Switch to an E-Commerce Solution
If you’re a mom and pop shop, you may be reeling from social distancing. But you don’t need to lose your entire revenue stream. You can still offer your products or goods during social distancing by using an e-commerce platform. Shopify, for example, makes it quick and easy to install a way for your consumers to shop and make purchases online. To increase your consumers’ confidence, be sure to mention how you’re handling merchandise to keep it clean!
Open Your Blog to Guest Writers
COVID-19 has sent shockwaves across different communities. Some may be experiencing job changes and are spending more time at home. Corporations may be more focused on other business needs than their internal marketing. One way to expand your digital presence while helping your network and own marketing department is to call for guest bloggers. Writers can engage with you throughout the copywriting and editing process, and you can enjoy new content. If you’re able, you could store their contact information for future needs.
Add Something Fun to Your Newsletter
Send a regular newsletter to your contacts? While it’s important to get your COVID-19 messaging out there, adding something fun could be uplifting. Try incorporating something to help them feel more connected to you while they’re staying home. It could be a joke, exercise tips, pictures of your pets, movie suggestions, or anything that could help them through a rough patch.
Get More Social
And no, we don’t mean that kind of social! Engage with your leads, clients, or customers across different social media platforms. You can like their tweets, reply to messages more frequently, or share their content. On the flip side, your company can offer advice on social distancing, such as providing alternatives to everyday group activities. For example, if your business is a gym, go live on Instagram or Facebook with an at-home workout. They’ll get the experience of going to an aerobics class in their living room. Whatever it is, try and make your ideas and guidance relevant to your business.
Social distancing can open digital opportunities for you to provide insightful guidance to your contacts. For instance, as a remote company, we’ve been offering advice on a range of topics to businesses new to working from home. We’ve seen others give concrete tips on how to handle sales calls and meetings in a remote environment. No matter your organization does, now is the time to reach out– but don’t try and seem too advantageous. Focus on being a valuable resource without sounding “salesy.”