Does Your Business Have a Digital Crisis Plan in Place?
From how you communicate internally with your employees to carrying out business transactions during this pandemic, many companies have been struggling to adapt to the changing business climate. Many large corporations develop solid crisis plans in anticipation for circumstances like we currently face. But for many small businesses, it’s simply adapting from day to day.
Figure Out How to Communicate With Your Internal Team
The first step is to develop an internal communications plan. Remember phone tree lists? Those were a vital way to convey information before texting and social media streamlined mass messaging. How you communicate with your internal team will set the tone for how you will communicate with clients. At PPA, the executive team met to determine how associates would be able to work through various scenarios, from equipment and setup needs to handling deliveries. With some preplanning, our team was able to adopt workable solutions that allow all team members to work in safe locations and communicate efficiently while maintaining social distancing and quarantine guidelines. Some of our favorite tools include Zoom, Slack and G Suite.
Determine a Strategy to Communicate With Clients and Outside Parties
When news changes daily, and even hourly, it’s important to be able to quickly update news and share it with your audience. This is when a digital presence is imperative.
Create a landing page on your company website
The landing page should be dedicated to the crisis and how your company is responding to customer needs and conducting business. Do you have a special customer hotline number set up? What about a specific email address they need to use? That information should be included on your crisis landing page. This page can be updated as often as needed to share the latest news that affects the business, customers and families. Keep this information updated as often as possible. There are numerous ways to share the landing page URL with your customers and other interested parties once you have the page built.
Set a confident tone
It is crucial that you speak to your audience with professionalism and confidence that addresses how you are responding to the crisis. Alarmist hype and scare tactics are not the way to retain customers. Open and honest communication helps your audience understand that you are working hard to address their needs and challenges.
Add a banner to the homepage that addresses the crisis
The banner should link to the crisis landing page. This banner should be highly visible and placed at the top of the page. Using a secondary or tertiary branding color can be a good way to distinguish the banner from the rest of the website, while still maintaining your company’s brand standards.
Email the landing page link and other news to your audience
Email is a quick, efficient and inexpensive way to get your message out. Make sure you write a subject line that is not salesy and encourages readers to open and read the email. If you have multiple audiences, you may need to tailor your messaging to each audience. For example, you may need to reach vendors, customers and family members. Each one requires a different message and tone. Vendors want to know how they will continue to work with your business during the crisis, so a confident and professional tone is key. Customers want to know their projects or deadlines won’t be affected too drastically, so it’s important to reassure them that your team is working hard to ensure operations are continuing with minimal disruption. In healthcare situations, family members need to know that their loved ones are receiving quality care and protective measures are in place. This is why open and honest communication is crucial. Email frequency may be dependent on your type of business, but once per week can show that you are taking their concerns seriously while not overloading their inboxes.
Share the landing page link on your company’s social media channels
If your company managers have LinkedIn pages, this is a good way to share news with clients, as well as on your company’s LinkedIn page. Sharing the link on Facebook is an effective way to reach consumers if you operate a B2C type of business. It’s important to remain positive, informative and honest on social media. If you receive any negative feedback, quickly acknowledge the person’s concerns and do what you can to take the conversation offline. We’ve found that mixing up serious business posts with some lighter hearted posts (especially showing PPA associates working from home with their pets) has helped us engage with clients throughout social distancing while sharing relatable situations with our clients.
Create short videos explaining how you are responding to the circumstances
These videos can be posted on your social channels and added to your crisis landing page. You can shoot short videos (the shorter the better … think 20 seconds or less) on a smartphone and show a snippet of life or business operations to share with your audience.
PPA is here to help you during this challenging time. Whether you need a short-term crisis package during COVID-19 or struggle with social media and need a stronger online presence, we are here to help. Contact Perry or Kara to get started.
From all of us at PPA, we hope you stay safe and healthy.