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2020

Regardless of your industry, what you do, and where you live, when a crisis hits, it’s bound to impact you and your business. Here are my 7 tips for your social media channelsjon-tyson-PXB7yEM5LVs-unsplash.jpg during a crisis, which is extremely relevant as the whole world addresses the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

 

DO

 

Pause and breathe: I know it’s not specifically for social media, but the first thing we all need to do in a crisis is to take a moment to evaluate everything from an emotionally calm state, if possible.

 

Review all scheduled posts. Whether or not the crisis directly impacts you, you may want to stop your scheduled posts. Inspirational posts after the initial impact may be appropriate, but overly upbeat or overly positive posts may not be appropriate for your entire audience.

 

For instance, if you are dealing with a natural or unnatural disaster that affects a section of the country or a certain industry - and your business is not impacted at all - stay out of the conversation. In the case of devastating tragedy, that means halting all posts. Give the crisis and the casualties the respect they deserve, and cautiously return to your regular schedule when it makes sense.

 

Right now with the coronavirus pandemic, thoroughly review your social media content and see if it makes sense to pivot or edit your tone.

 

Communicate. Use your social media platforms to stay in touch with your employees, as well as prospects, clients, and your community at large. Post news, announcements, and changes to how your business is functioning during the crisis.

 

Along with using your primary social media channels to communicate with your community, you may want to add new ones. For instance, start a new Facebook Group, Slack channel, or create virtual events for conversations specific to the crisis. A town-hall type interactive video may be just what your community needs, to share their feelings and know they are not alone.

 

Become a resource. Beyond being a conduit for information, your business can create new content for your audience that educates, informs, provides a source of relief and more. Explore new platforms and features, such as Instagram Stories, video, and live streams.

 

Not sure when and what to post? Take a cue from others in your industry or location. Watch how similar companies react to crises, and adopt strategies that make sense for your business.

 

Check out how these 15 businesses are communicating in the Coronavirus era.

 

DON’T

 

Panic. Your business may be going through a rough time and you are not alone.  Hold off on posting on social media until you know what to say and how to say it. There’s an opportunity in a crisis to step up to the plate and be a powerful leader in your community, industry and beyond.

 

Ignore what’s happening. When a crisis strikes, your company will want to address it head-on, although it may make sense to stay offline until the dust settles. Still, you don’t want to ignore or downplay a crisis, even if it doesn’t directly impact you. Approach your response via social media messaging with compassion. Keep a light yet respectful and informative tone, while being true to your brand.

 

If the crisis directly impacts your business, make sure you are accessible to your prospects and clients. Set “office hours” on Twitter, or live chats in your Facebook group, so people can ask you questions, knowing they will also get a response. You can set up a private group for similar conversations with your employees, resources, and partners.

 

Make things worse. Remember people’s emotions are running very high and you’ll need to be ultrasensitive and compassionate. Social media allows you to directly communicate with your community, especially when you can’t be together in person. But you want to remain professional and compassionate at all times.

 

When posting about or responding to a crisis, never:

  • Make fun of it
  • Profit from it
  • Cause more problems

 

The best fail-safe is to set guidelines for what you will post on social media during times of crisis. Have someone on your team double-check every post before publishing on your channels. Also, be aware that the people who engage with your posts may not be in the best mood.

  • If tempers flare, be ready to act quickly, take the conversation offline, and find necessary solutions.

 

When a crisis strikes, you may be able to make things better. And you definitely don’t want to make things worse. Take your time with your messaging, and be available to share news and information. Strive to be a voice of calm, integrity, courage and hope.

 

Ultimately, when things hopefully calm down and get back to some semblance of normalcy (even if it’s the ‘new normal’), your prospects, partners, and clients will remember how gracefully you got through the crisis.

 

About Mari Smith

 

 

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour Amari headshot.png Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

There are so many rules for email marketing. Send email on this specific day at this specific time (great if everyone you mail lives in the exact same time zone and industry). Email must be this length and not any longer (or shorter). email marketing rules pic. resized. jpg.jpg

 

Rules, rules, and all of them very much based on “someone else said.”

 

I propose you break a lot of rules to make your email marketing work better. At every step of the way, ask the same question: does this make sense to me? I promise it all will - unlike a lot of the “rules” you are told.

 

Get More Personal

 

First, change your “from” address in your email marketing to something like “yourfriends@yourdomain.com.” So many people send their email from pleasedontemailmebackever@noneofuswanttotalktoyou.com and that starts the inbox relationship on the wrong foot. I never advocate that it come from the same address as your primary inbox, but something reasonable.

 

Mine comes from nl@owner.media and people know that the “nl” stands for newsletter. And let me explain why this type of thing matters.

 

Encourage People to Reply

 

I send out a letter every Sunday to about 24,000 people. We cull the list often (removing people who haven’t opened or clicked on anything in a few months), so that list is highly focused and responsive. I frequently encourage people to hit “reply”, and often, they do. A few hundred every week.

 

Eek, you say. Let people reply? Won’t that fill my inbox? YES! With prospective customers and existing ones. Companies pay tons of money for just this: access to their customers. And you get it for free sent to your inbox.

 

Get Naked When It Comes to Formatting

 

I send out the plainest email I can possibly send and still be technically html. It’s black letters on white background. It looks just like an email your mom or best friend would send. Because that’s the plan.

 

When you send very formatted and “pretty” html letters with big banners and lots of graphics, our minds see that in the preview pane and think: Oh, I can ignore this until I get some time later. (Later never comes. You know this.)

 

If you send something that looks like it came from a human, oddly humans will check it out before deciding whether or not to ignore it. That extra few seconds is worth a potential open and click.

 

Be Brief

 

I write my newsletters to be fewer than 500 words. When I’m feeling even more clever, I shoot for around 250. Everyone is overwhelmed. Why bury them with more to read?

 

Use Segmentation/Labels/Tags

 

Every email service provider software offers a variation of this, most of it automated and super simple to use. I’ll use the term “tags” but it might be something different on your platform.

 

Use tags to separate out different clumps of email recipients and then get even more specific and personal to those groupings. This means you can send mail to one group saying: “Hey, I know you haven’t yet purchased an event ticket, so I wanted to see if I could answer any questions.” To another, you can say: “How to prepare for your trip to our event.”

 

More and more, if you can be very specific as to who you reach with what content, the world will get better for you.

 

One Subject Per Mail

 

If you really want to wow people, get very specific when you send out a newsletter. Make it a single-serving message with just one specific idea to cover and one specific call to action involved.

 

This laser focus sometimes shakes a distracted “Netflix-scroller” out of their malaise and makes them sit up and take notice.

 

Sample: “If we offered a spring cleaning, would that be interesting to you?”

 

Send Out “Ask” Emails

 

This is a favorite magic trick of mine. We think of newsletters as content to consume.

 

Instead, flip this. Send out an email asking a question to get actual feedback. “What should we focus on?” “Do you need more help with installing our systems yourself?”

 

Ask something you genuinely want to know about and try to keep it as open-ended as possible. Sure, there’s work in reading and responding, but it’s couched in a conversational email tone and people will respond in a very different way than your “just take this very brief survey.” (They’re never brief.)

 

Try Any and All of These

 

All of these ideas are simple and modular. You can do any one of them and see what works and what doesn’t. None of these are deal breakers, but all have an opportunity to make a difference.

 

And like I said at the beginning, just keep asking yourself whether these make sense.

 

I can’t wait to hear how it turns out.

 

 

About Chris Brogan

 

Chris Brogan is an author, keynote speaker and business advisor who helps companies update organizational interfaces to better support modern humans. The age of factory-chris Brogan headshot.pngsized interactions is over. We all come one to a pack. And it’s time to accept that we are all a little bit dented. Chris advises leadership teams to empower team members by sharing actionable insights on talent development. He also works with marketing and communications teams to more effectively reach people who want to be seen and understood before they buy what a company sells.

 

Web: https://chrisbrogan.com Twitter: @ChrisBrogan

Read more from Chris Brogan

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Chris Brogan to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Chris Brogan. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

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