It seems like just yesterday, we were pitching away placing beauty products on Refinery29, hosting launch events for clients, attending NY Toy Fair and getting our #hugmechicken client on #nbcnewyork. We were laughing. We were meeting our media friends for a drink or a coffee. We were ordering lunch from the place two blocks away with the BEST tacos or the patisserie across the street with scrumptious pastries and much needed afternoon coffee.
Then the world turned upside down and Covid-19 came barreling through our doors - literally.
It seems like one day we were ok and the next we were working from home. Zoom became our new BFF and we were listening to clients who just the month before were booming - now having to make difficult decisions about their employees and their businesses. Everything changed in an instant and no one knows what tomorrow will bring.
So how do you handle public relations and social media during a pandemic, while our front line health workers are desperate for PPP, our friends are unemployed and our small businesses are suffering with lack of orders or ability to fulfill orders and everyone just simply fearful. And rightly so.
But we are all trying to move along as best we can so here are a few tips that might help you and your small business while trying to find the balance of what is appropriate and yet trying to stay afloat.
1. Don't Shut your PR and Social Efforts down.
We might be in quarantine but many of us are working from home and our businesses are still very much alive. Be mindful but know that there are journalists who are working on non-virus related content. Long lead are still in the works. Remember when this is over you will want to jump back to work and you want your brand still to be relevant. Maybe you are launching a new SKU or product later in the year - remember long leads are just that - and those stories are being written now for publication at a later date. Bookers for shows will be looking for stories and you want your PR team or your social team to be ready.
2. Cleaning your Marketing House
If you cannot promote your product or service now then use this time to clean house. Go through marketing collateral, clean up your LinkedIn account, update your company bios, take new photos if you can, clean up your constant contact lists or marketing lists, organize things you might not have had time to organize before -think of it like a spring clean for your business instead of your closet.
3. Communicate with Your Consumers
Don't go radio-silent! While there is a fine line of being sensitive during these times - it's also important for your consumers to know what you are up to. How are you helping your employees? The community? Are you giving back? Are you still shipping? Are things taking longer to ship? Do you have a waitlist? While you may still be promoting your products on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter - maybe scale back on the "BUY HERE NOW" and mix it up with "How are you coping?" posts, thanking first responders, offering a special discount or gift for nurses and doctors and teachers. Use your platforms to both promote your business but also to encourage others to give back, highlight a local HERO, and update with information from your local officials. Throw in a funny meme to create some levity but be mindful of humor vs. thoughtless. These are trying times for all and you have a platform so use it wisely.
4. Don't Take Advantage!
Whatever you do don't use these time to take advantage of the pandemic. You might have products or services that will help people - this is not a time to raise rates or take advantage of people. Don't jack up your prices while people are trying to stay afloat.
5. BE CREATIVE!
We are all living in uncharted waters and no one knows what tomorrow will bring. Use this time to think outside the box. TV shows for the most part are all Covid19 or dark - so WE got creative. One of our friends is a media influencer - we helped her to create a TV show in her basement where she could film herself and highlight products and post online for us all to share. Use this time to think of the things you can do for your employees working from home or a creative way to engage your followers. Maybe host a Zoom Afternoon for customers! Have an old fashioned "tupperware party" via zoom for your customers. Or create a platform for kids on your site for parents. There are lots of creative ways to express yourself and your brand. Nothing is off the table these days.
In closing, we know these are really hard times. We are feeling it too across the board. The Media Maison team has had to get creative, be sensitive and overly careful in how we pitch and to whom and what we pitch. We have had clients who have put retainers on hold and it has cost us employees. We have had to tighten our belts and work harder and smarter than ever before. But we have faith that this will end soon and we will be back at the office ordering from the taco place a few blocks down and complaining about how crowded the subway is.
We will all get through this -and we will do it if we work together. There will be winners and losers who come out from something like this - be a winner!
Happy Monday everyone. Stay Safe!!!!!
CEO media maison