In times of crisis, it’s especially important to understand what your audience wants.

How do you know? Your discovery process does not start now. Instead, it’s time to reassess what you already know.

As part of your ongoing and everyday marketing and communications efforts, you should have an idea of your audience. Those questions you asked yourself when you launched your marketing strategy—who is in my audience? what platforms are they already on? how do they like to be reached?—should come in handy now.

When members of your community are experiencing stressful, uneasy, or difficult times, they are looking for friends and helpers. They may not be willing or know how to ask for help. This is where your new communications strategy comes in.

Using your background knowledge, think about who they are and what they want. They likely don’t have the time or bandwidth to answer a new survey and give you their pulse on a new product. You need to be ready to understand what they want without asking and deliver it to them. How would you feel in their shoes?

Be a helper. It’s not time to sell, push advertisements, or launch a new campaign. It’s time for you to share information and become a trusted source. Focus on putting everyone’s mind at ease by sharing thoughtful, meaningful messages. Think along the lines of starting conversations with the phrase “How can I help?” 

Here are a few ways to use your marketing and social media platforms to be a helper:
  • Acknowledge the situation. It’s important for your community to know you understand what’s happening and that you are in this together. Make sure they know how to reach you if needed and briefly describe what your next steps will be. If you don’t fully know, be upfront  and share that you hope to be back in touch soon.
  • Curate a list of contacts and community resources. What is happening in your community right now? Consider the different hurdles they might be trying to overcome and share on your platforms.
  • Think about how your business might uniquely able to help. What do you do? Do you have  special advice, resources, tools, or supplies you could offer? 
  • Keep your feed clear. Sometimes it’s best to take a pause. If you’ve acknowledged the situation and told your community how to reach you, it’s time to keep their social media feeds and inboxes clear so the important messages rise to the top.
How you treat people in difficult times will be remembered. Take a breath and assess your strategy.

If the best thing for you to do is to pause your communications, so your community can focus on their priorities and not be blasted with further noise, do that. Look to what you already know and understand about your audience and deliver.

It’s time to be a trusted friend and helper.

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