Whenever a crisis occurs, it is always met with some amount of panic and fear. However, when it's all over, new opportunities always arise. The opportunities can be business related such as a new emerging market, or even in changing customer behavior.
Right now, I believe business leaders like you have an opportunity to help others navigate the coronavirus crisis. If you find yourself in a position to help others grow, now is a great time to step up. This isn't about capitalizing on a crisis, but a new way to think about how you can help others in need because of your experience.
I started creating my personal leadership brand online shortly after the last recession in 2008. As I've gone through my own struggles, I learned how to communicate and build a loyal social following online, and I wanted to share some tips on how you can create a strong personal brand during a crisis based off of what I've learned.
Offer actionable, specific tips.
Of course, it's okay to tell everyone to be safe during these times. But, at some point, people start looking for other guidance that's going to help them in their specific situation and don't need to be told that they should be safe.
Some of the best people I follow on social media are offering precise tips that have helped founders pivot their business, and help leaders become better during these times.
What I like to do is pick a specific audience that I'm going to address for a certain time period. In my case when I was in the early stages of building my personal brand, I focused on the people who were looking for new jobs when they were at the lowest point of their careers or their business. So, every tip I gave was specific and actionable for them. And these were easy tips for me to offer since I was in that same situation before.
I didn't give tips on how high-performers can get raises or new positions, because they were never my target market.
Some of the people I follow on Twitter are doing a great job at addressing a specific audience, with valuable, relevant information. The tips included creating a list of new business ideas that could emerge from this pandemic, and also specific business advice for entrepreneurs who need to pivot from their existing business. The engagement in these posts are usually really high, and the positivity it spreads is contagious.
If you're posting on social media now, the more specific, the better.
Be genuine in your marketing and approach.
What people are craving now is authenticity. This means that even if you're having a bad day, it's okay to admit it. In fact, the more "real" you are to your audience, the better off you are. It's very easy to edit everything you produce to create a perfect image of yourself, but it will only get you so far.
Also, a good thing to do in this time is to offer your guidance or assistance and offer to do one on one calls with anyone who needs help. Often your network is too afraid to reach out to you and ask for help unless you explicitly permit them to reach out to you. So, put out a request right now offering your support, at no charge, even if you don't think you can help them right away. You will be surprised by the response you get.
There are many people I'm following now on social media, specifically on Twitter, who are offering to assist individuals, and not only is that a great thing to do to build relationships and a following, it's also the right thing to do during these times. Your network will never forget how you helped them during a crisis.
Put your brand on the line, even if generates negative conversations.
A strong personal brand, in my opinion, has as many haters as it does lovers. Take a look at Chrissy Teigen, Scott Adams and Elon Musk's twitter accounts and you'll see exactly what I mean. For every tweet, you will see many people agreeing with them, but you'll also see people vehemently disagreeing with their approaches.
But, what's interesting, is that they stand the course, state their opinions, and move on regardless of how the community responds. That is the foundation of a strong personal brand.
Focus on your audience, figure out how you can give back and offer the specific, genuine tips that can help them, and don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.