The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all. Small businesses, large corporations, entrepreneurs, influencers, and more are all self-isolating and practicing social distancing. With more screen time being inevitable, small businesses are taking advantage of new marketing opportunities. However, strategizing the right message is imperative for success. This doesn't mean you should necessarily stop your existing practices, but in light of the situation, it's important to pause and refine your message. Here are a few key tips to help you get started: 

Address the situation.

Covid-19 affects everyone. To ignore its presence is basically ignoring the new priorities of your audience. Address the situation, but do so in a way that is authentic. Use your brand's voice and your most compelling channel content (video, blog, newsletter, etc.)  to address your response. Don't dwell on the pandemic or reinforce how scary this is for everyone. Instead, aim to provide comfort for your audience and try to create more much-needed connection. 

Reinforce positive messaging.

There's plenty of negativity and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. People are looking for hope and escape. Address the issue, but do so in a positive way. Publish content that reflects your positive messaging. For example, you can create an upbeat challenge for your social followers and ask them to tag their friends, encourage daily gratitude, or provide learning seminars or online content that helps your followers learn a new skill. Don't make light of a serious situation, but do provide some light in the darkness. 

Messaging Dos and Don'ts 

It's important to remember the key do's and don'ts surrounding Covid-19 messaging. Here's a breakdown to help navigate the context: 

DO

  • Be authentic. You know your audience best. Stay true to your brand and communicate in the ways that resonate with your community. 

  • Create messaging that reinforces hope, camaraderie, and community. 

  • Be empathetic and compassionate. Whether you are writing a caption or email copy, remember to be sensitive. 

  • Provide factual context when creating messaging for any marketing related to Covid-19, and ensure you are abiding by the WHO and CDC guidelines

DON'T

  • Now is not the time to stop creating content. Your audience needs you now more than ever, so continue to post content. 

  • Share travel or social gathering content without context. Whether you're under official shelter-in-place orders or not, we're all encouraged to self-isolate. Sharing photos of large gatherings (concerts, games, bar settings, etc.) or travel photos can seem irresponsible and create a backlash. Make sure the context is very clear that this is not a current photo. 

  • Post content encouraging gatherings or not practicing social distancing. We should all be using our platforms to enforce the CDC guidelines to mitigate any further spread of the virus. 

  • While the public may be in a stockpiling mood, don't exploit fear-based buying or overpromote to a panicked audience.

Ask for input.

Now is a great time to build your audience and connect at a deeper level. What do they want to see from you? Poll your audience and ask what content they seek. Try a few new content ideas for a week, and then ask your audience what they loved. 

This is a trying time for all of us, but it's important that we come together (virtually) and do our part to stop the spread of Covid-19. Your brand can have an impact, and your audience is craving the connection. Be mindful of your messaging strategies, but use this time to create, build, and grow together.