The impact of social distancing on businesses
We are living in unprecedented times for business amid the current COVID-19 outbreak, with social distancing restrictions impacting usual business operations and customers forced to stay at home. Many consumers are also tightening their purse strings with many jobs impacted by the health crisis.
While the crisis might be affecting business as usual, there is an opportunity for companies to increase their communications and reach audiences in different ways.
The current situation
People have increasingly turned to media for information and entertainment throughout this crisis. In fact, the March Nielsen poll found there was an average increase of 57 per cent across Australia’s top 10 news sites, including ABC, news.com.au, 7News.com.au, and The Guardian.
As people spend more time inside, the way they interact with media channels has changed. We are starting to see strong audience growth in:
- Free-to-air TV viewing
- Online news and entertainment sites
- Audiobooks and podcasts
- Streaming services like Netflix and Stan.
With more people consuming news, there’s a greater opportunity to have you and your brand viewed and heard. Consider what expert advice you can offer and use that to demonstrate the value you bring to your clients. Social distancing doesn’t mean distancing from social media, so there are also strong opportunities to connect with your audiences through social channels like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and TikTok.
How to reach audiences
In times of crisis and uncertainty, people look for strong leaders to provide information and reassurance. Your content should reflect this and include messaging that won’t cause panic and fear among your audiences.
Social media will continue to connect people to the outside world and is a way to share in our collective humanity in a troubling time. Your content needs to display empathy and kindness in the face of a crisis. You can effectively engage and connect with people by providing support and comfort through the information and content you share.
Think about how you can utilise video and audio to communicate with your audiences. People have more time to engage with online content now, so longer videos and podcasts are becoming even more popular and present avenues for you to explain what you do, your background, and offer advice and insights.
- Know your customers: Your audiences’ lifestyles and priorities will change during this crisis, so know exactly who you are talking to and what’s important to them now.
- Target your most valuable customers: Stay connected with your most valuable customers. In times of crisis, people will be re-evaluating every purchase decision so make sure you are doing what you can to retain your customers.
- Empathise with their world: This is the time to empathise with your audiences and remind them they are not alone while reinforcing the value and strengths of your business.
- The economy will bounce back: We are living in unprecedented times where the future is unknown. Although businesses are just trying to stay afloat, we need to keep the economy ticking over so that when this all comes to an end, we can hit the ground running again.