Delivering communication that hits the right note at a time of anxiety and uncertainty is crucial to protect your business and maintain positive relationships with your customers. Here are a few tips:

Thinking differently
During a time of crisis, the focus is on protection rather than growth. By communicating what people need, rather than what will increase business profits, will protect your business’ integrity. Be prepared to be honest, transparent and agile. Protecting your brand reputation at a time like this is essential to ensure customers and their confidence returns when the storm passes.

Listen to the relevant social media conversations about your brand, your town and place, and the current crisis impacting everyone. Think about how your business can help the needs of the public during this time.  

Doing this will enable you to engage in conversations and answer questions honestly and accurately. It will also help you track trends in a rapidly evolving conversation, so that you can proactively plan ahead. Ensure you have enough resources allocated to social media to listen, field enquiries and engage.

Fact check
Stick to the facts, demonstrate empathy and help other people and businesses out. Address others’ concerns before your own.

Serve your customers
Demonstrate what you are doing to continue serving your customers but be honest about changes to your existing service levels, availability and operating hours to avoid disappointing people. Remain polite in the face of angry or anxious feedback.

Pause and reflect
Pause any scheduled content that is irrelevant or insensitive. Swap it out for content that is useful to your customers and audience.

Be mindful
Go a little gentler with your tone. Keep it calm but still be authentic to your brand. If you use humour make sure it's appropriate. If not, consider swapping humour for help, and candor for kindness. If your usual tone is directional and advisory, keep up the good work. Be a safe and supportive pair of hands.

Communicate as a human being. Businesses still need to trade and to serve to ensure their survival. The economy is counting on it. The majority of people will understand this, when they can see that business owners are human beings, who are also impacted by this, yet still doing all they can to serve.

Also see Why engaging on social media is more important than scheduling and How convenience stores can support their community using social media

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