Small Business Social Media Messaging During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As a small business owner myself, I understand how stressful the coronavirus outbreak has been for entrepreneurs like you. Temporary closures, fearful consumers, mandated quarantines, and a stressed workforce have made this an unprecedented time. It feels like everything is shutting down or moving online, and the future is very uncertain for all of us. But if I can offer a little good news in terms of your communication with customers, it is this:  They are more willing than ever to hear from you. And they have never been as captive as they are now.

As I write this, Wisconsin just entered its mandatory ‘safer in place’ order. As of Wednesday, March 25, 50% of the US population has been urged to shelter in place. What are the masses doing to occupy their time? Flocking to social media to stay on top of the latest virus developments, while also connecting with friends and family. This article’s headline from The Verge says all you need to know: “Facebook says coronavirus is pushing usage through the roof.

That said, if you are in a position to create content and share it on your social media channels, you most likely should be doing it right now.

But what if my business is closed?

If your business has been ordered to close, don’t hold back from interacting with your customers. Just make sure your message is appropriate and that your tone is sensitive to the situation (see below for tips on this). Use this time to educate your customers. Help them to get to know you. Connect with them on a personal level. Because when this is all said and done, you want to be in a stronger position than you are now. While we can’t control what has happened in the last couple of weeks, we can control how we respond. Use this time wisely. 

Are you an ESSENTIAL BUSINESS?

If you are considered an essential business, regular, simple communication is key. Our world is changing by the second, so straightforward posts helping customers understand how they can do business with you is very important. If your hours vary, plan a daily post that states your hours each day. Don’t share anything that might cause a panic (e.g., “We only have two rolls of toilet paper left!! Hurry and get them while you can!!”). And if you ship products, proactively let customers know if they should anticipate any delays in processing or shipping. Open and ongoing communication is key! 

A NOTE ABOUT YOUR MESSAGING STRATEGY

Not all messaging and not all marketing is a good idea right now. For example, a campaign promoting social interactions is a very bad idea. Also, pushing the sale of non-essential items (e.g., luxury watches, vacations, women’s formal wear), or products that just don’t make sense during a pandemic, is not a solid strategy either. But that doesn’t mean that you should just sit back and be silent. Connect and educate. Share encouraging stories. Provide ways you can help.

All that said, here is a short list of social media ideas you can use to connect with your customers right now.

4 social media messaging strategies to use right now

  1. Share personal stories about how this is impacting your business and employees. People connect to people. Remind your fans we are all in this together. Don’t create panic; your customers are already panicked enough. But consider giving fans a behind the scenes look at how your business is responding. Video is king so we’d recommend starting there, but pictures and written text can still be powerful when used correctly.

  2. Restaurants and food service providers: Tell your customers how you are ensuring their food is being prepared safely and with the utmost concern for cleanliness. Make placing an order simple, and provide curbside carry-out or delivery options. 

  3. Share a story about something positive you are doing for the community or something uplifting that you’ve experienced first-hand. Ask how you can help your customers. 

  4. Repurpose old blogs and videos. Dust off some of your old content and repackage it, especially content that offers a distraction. Think ahead to summer and fall. Give people something to focus on now that will benefit them then. 

This is a situation none of us have been in before. Remember to remain human. Help as much as you can. And if you find yourself struggling with how to develop an appropriate message right now, reach out and let us help

Take care and stay well. 

We had a baby!

So, it’s been a little (understatement) crazy over here at the world headquarters of Aplomb PR.

Earlier in the year, we had a baby.

And not the type of baby that people sometimes refer to when they are in the deep end of a really, really big project so it becomes like a baby to them.

We had a human baby.

Our first human. (As you all know, our first baby is the worlds most handsome dog (learn more about our CNO here).) For anyone that has experience with birthing and raising a newborn, you know how it turns your world upside down and twirls it around on spin cycle for a few months (also have heard this continues for 18+ years but we are only speaking from our experience thus far). Time now disappears at warp speed as we do our best to keep this adorably cute, yet crazy demanding, tiny being happy and alive.

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The littlest Aplomb PR team member

So if you’ve been wondering why we’ve been a little quiet on social media, and here on our website, you now have a solid explanation. We’ve been pouring ourselves into this little guy while at the same time, working with our super amazing clients to ensure their marketing, social media, and public relations continues to rock without a hitch. (Some notable projects from the last few months include continuing to direct the Wausome campaign for the City of Wausau, including the release of a wausome video series, the launch of a new eCommerce website and all of the social media and email marketing strategy that comes with that, and promotion of some great resources that are fighting to protect children from the dangers of hypersexualized dance choreography, costumes and music.)

We feel blessed to call this little guy ours and we look forward to including him as part of the Aplomb PR story. Much, much more to come.

How Aplomb PR Came To Be (And a little about our team)

May 9, 2019

By: Elizabeth, CMH

How does one go about launching a public relations and marketing agency? Like any good entrepreneurial story, I saw a need and went for it.

But let’s start at the beginning. During my college years, I hustled and got a lot of different marketing, communications, and PR experiences under my belt. My first internship and then job out of school was with a non-profit organization in Eau Claire. I worked in the development and PR office of a rehabilitative homeless shelter serving western Wisconsin and got a lot of experience managing the fundraising and donor development side of communications and public relations work. From there, I made the move to Wausau to manage the corporate communications department for a senior care resident and employee engagement solutions company. In both of these rolls, my experiences showed me that I love tackling messaging, marketing, and public relations challenges, while meeting people from all over the United States and helping them most directly connect with their target audiences.

As I worked in this role and grew my network, I kept seeing small businesses and nonprofits struggle to tell their story. It bothered me as these companies had great products or services to offer, they just weren’t hitting the mark with their marketing and communications efforts. Perhaps they were sharing the wrong message. Or sharing a great message but in the wrong way. Small opportunities began presenting themselves. Opportunities that let me help companies and individuals develop solid strategies and tactics. Soon, my phone was ringing with more requests from additional entrepreneurs wanting me to help them tackle their marketing or PR challenges. From there, the snowball continued to roll. I put a plan together and launched a full-service agency that exists to tell our client’s story. That’s how Aplomb PR came to be.

Throughout the past ten years, we’ve had the opportunity to work with companies and organizations with amazing stories to tell. These are stories that people need and want to hear.  From assisting a national author and well-known choreographer in her organization’s fight to end the sexualization of children through dance, to the City of Wausau’s economic development initiatives that position the community as a great place to live, raise a family, retire or own a business. We’ve helped a woman take her hobby for baking and make it a career and have project managed Google’s Wisconsin Safety Roadshow public relations efforts to protect kids from online predators.  The list goes on and these stories are compelling and important.

That’s the thing. Every person, business, and nonprofit organization has a story to tell. And we live and breath figuring out the best way to tell it, and then sharing it so the people who need to hear it get the message.

What else is special about Aplomb PR? First and foremost, we have the best office mate. He goes by Brewster and his official title is CNO, short for Chief Napping Officer. He’s a rescue coonhound from our local humane society who has become our teams right hand guy. When he’s not napping or pawing at me for food or a walk, he generally lends his support and poses for cute pictures.

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In addition to Brewster and myself, we have a great support team in place. My husband Trevor is a high school Business and Marketing teacher and tennis coach. When he’s not doing that, he offers assistance primarily with our video editing and social media. We love to travel, spend time with friends and family, and support all things Wisconsin, including the Packers, Badgers, Brewers, and Bucks, and cheese. Lately, we’ve been spending most of our free time preparing to welcome our first child into the Aplomb PR family.  

We also leverage the talents of a few other local and regional marketing and design rock stars. From superb graphic artists to web designers and editors, we bring these people to the table when it makes sense for projects and client needs. We love our extended team and take great pride in the quality of work our small agency is able to pump out.

Aplomb PR Team

That’s a little bit about us, our story, and how Aplomb PR came to be. We’d love to connect with you. We invite you to follow our blog for marketing, social media, and public relations tips, advice, and experience.  You can also connect with us by checking out our website aplombpr.com, following us on Facebook @aplombpr, or by emailing us.