Over the last few days, we've seen the obvious influx in conversation around COVID-19 in the news. We have also heard more and more talk about the impact that it's having on our garden industry businesses. From closures to shifting business models, our industry is certainly adjusting.
We will get through, and spring comes (today!) and so will summer. People will garden, hopefully more than ever. But in the meantime, business must go on.
So we compiled a list of things you should be checking on, or be sure your marketing & social media firm is checking on for you.
Read more to learn some suggestions for communication during this unprecedented time.
Social Media Plan
- Pause current content that was pre-scheduled through the Content Calendar. Any content your clients are posting right now should be timely and relevant to your audience.
- Pause all promotions & contests.
- Set Message Spike Alerts to help you and your team stay on top of inbound messages and quickly flag when things may be escalating.
- Establish a Message Protocol & save any responses to help your team quickly respond to inbound questions around your clients actions surrounding COVID-19.
- Utilizing a Social Listening tool such as we do with Sprout to quickly and effectively track crisis management, competitors messages to audience and re-invent content strategy for the coming weeks.
- Collaborate with all teams remotely.
External Communication Plan
- Develop relevant internal & external messaging for any crisis
- Identify your team’s assignments and roles
- Compile a list of key team member contacts
- Perform a media audit and update the contact list
- Decide on a preferred vendor list
- Outline a digital communications plan comprehensive of best practices and guidelines
Above all else, lead with empathy. These next few weeks are not only going to be difficult your social audiences, but for your employees as well. Everyone has a ton on info coming at them. Only share info you know to be true and do not spread panicked, sensational information.
There are some brands leading by example. In the IGC Talk! Facebook group retailers across the country are doing Facebook LIVE videos to educate, inspire and sell. Stores are using their websites, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter to update customers on what is in stock. They are taking orders by phone, Instagram DM and internet. And, they are offering curbside pick up or delivery.
Above all else, be sure your customers know the precautions you are taking to protect them and your employees, while allowing them to pursue the pastime that they love.
I sincerely hope you all are staying safe- it's quite a bizarre time that we're all in together.