Each company will have its own set of challenges, opportunities, and preferences when it comes to the unprecedented situation we face globally. During this uncertain time, we’d like to offer our best advice, resources, and practical tools and tips to help you navigate your way through this new digital-first world. As a fully remote company, we’ve got a fair bit of experience to share, and although we can’t offer any scientific or medical advice – we’ll leave that to your county’s health advisors – we can offer you reassurance, ideas and information to help you and your business face whatever the pandemic throws at us next.
Our CEO has also written an article about adapting your business strategy, and SmarterQueue’s offer to help your business in any way we can.
How to Adapt Your Social Strategy During the Coronavirus Pandemic
A few weeks ago, it was business as usual. Suddenly, things are very different. It’s no longer enough to hope it all blows over… things are changing rapidly, and the world is going to be looking very different for months to come.
If you’re a small business or solopreneur, you’re likely concerned about the financial implications all this will have on you and your business. We hear you! It’s scary. So, we thought we’d share some of our best advice on the topics we know best: social media, and remote work.
The fastest and most economical way to stay connected to your customers and community during this time is with social media – and people are hanging out there right now, a lot.
- Sense-Check Your Scheduled Posts
All of them. Promotional posts, inspirational posts – everything. For example, a post like this, which would’ve once been totally innocuous, would now appear completely tone-deaf.
This was inspired by a real Tweet we saw this week, with the quote: ‘life is short. Book that flight. Take that trip.’ It was met with a series of incredulous replies, some more forgiving than others. In short: Check, check and check again!
💡You can use SmarterQueue to pause all of your posts, or only certain Categories.
Listen Up! 👂
You should be doing this anyway, but ramp social listening up. People are glued to their devices more now than ever, so show that you’re there, and listening! Empathy is vital. Ask questions, join Twitter chats, reignite your Facebook Group, go live, use the ‘Ask Me a Question’ sticker on IG Stories. Reply to comments, start conversations, join conversations, be present.
Monitoring conversations from your customers, peers and competitors is a great way to stay abreast of the unfolding situation in the context of your industry and business. Be aware of what challenges they’re facing, and be poised to help them.
Set up a Twitter List of your customers, so you can view all their Tweets in one place. You can also do this for competitors, to track how they are responding to the situation.
💡 Use SmarterQueue ‘Engage’ to monitor your Twitter Lists, keywords and relevant social accounts.
Be Extra Vigilant 🕵️♀️
If you’re sharing content related to the pandemic, ensure your sources are reliable and up-to-date. There is a lot of misinformation out there.
Curate reliable sources within SmarterQueue’s Find Content, so you can easily access and share posts from trusted sources.
Focus on Helpful, Informative and Human Content 🆘
Have you been meaning to create an eBook? How about a Youtube series? Now is the time to hone these more longer-form pieces, while you may have a little more time on your hands. As always, consider what your audience will find the most useful. Hey, why not ask them what sort of content they’d appreciate during this time? That’s a great place to start. Here are some quick ideas:
- Share uplifting stories
- Best practices for your industry/expertise
- Thought leadership pieces
- Videos on how your business is responding to the crisis
- Highlight potential benefits (tactfully)
- How other brands and businesses are responding
- Training webinars
There are plenty of opportunities for you to use social media for your business in this challenging time, but we’d advise easing off the self-promotion for a bit, as a general rule.
How to Set Your Business Up for Remote Working 🌍💻
The SmarterQueue team is in a pretty-much constant state of self-isolation. It’s an introvert’s dream. 😉 Jokes aside, we’ve done this for a long time so we have some solid tips to share to make this easier for you, if you’re not used to it.
First up, the communication tools.
- Slack – The holy grail for remote team communication.
- Asana – For project management. We chose it over several other PM tools primarily because of the Inbox feed, so you can easily see all the activity that you need to take action on.
- Trello – A light-touch task management system
- Loom – For easy screen recording with audio narration. Great for internal use, but also for helping customers out. A little video of your face on the bottom-left is optional, depending on on how presentable you are that day! 💁♀️🧟♀️
- Figma – Like Photoshop, but collaborative, and cloud-based. It’s great for design, UX/UI tasks, and storing/reviewing inspiring screenshots. It has lots of cool plugins, too.
- Nuclino – For all company internal comms and processes
- Google Meet/Hangouts – Free, easy, and fool-proof.
Next up… now what?
All the gear, and no idea?
💡 This set of remote working best practices from Benedikt Lehnert is a great starting point towards helping you stay sane, focused and productive.
🆕 New to Slack? Join their Working Remotely in Slack: Getting Started webinar.
⚠️ Important: don’t panic. Your team, if given trust and autonomy to do their jobs remotely, will likely want to continue to do a great job!
If you’ve never worked remotely as a team before, it might be helpful to implement morning stand-up meetings, to ensure everyone is set each day and knows what their goals and tasks are. If you’re on different time-zones, you can use plugins like Howdy, a virtual Q&A for staff that you can set to message them automatically for an update at any time of their day.
You can set up Howdy to ask anything like, what are your three main goals for today? And the answers can be set up to be posted in a public Slack channel so everyone is kept up-to-date.
Here’s a list of Slack’s essential apps, that integrate to make your remote team’s life even easier.
How Can I Prepare My Business for A Digital-First World, Besides My Staff Remote Working? 💻
🎧 Client Meetings – It might sound obvious, but try and run your planned meetings online via video call. We’d recommend trying to use video where possible, instead of just audio. Human interaction is important during self-isolation, and facial expressions help! 🙂
⛺️ Events – Can you think creatively to change your event format to online? OK, so Glastonbury Festival might not be able to run from Facebook Live – but smaller events like classes, workshops and tutorials definitely can! Just make sure you do a practice run, get used to the software, and take advantage of the ‘mute all’ button. 🎤
🤫 Make Use of Quiet Time – If you’re going to experience a bit of downtime, use it wisely. Are there tasks you’ve been meaning to get done, admin that you’ve been putting off? Now’s the time!
How Can I Help My Customers Through This Uncertain Time? 🤔
Depending on your offering, you may be able to help in myriad ways. Here’s a compiled list of companies that are making extended efforts during the COVID-19 / novel coronavirus outbreak –– skip to the ‘extended services’ section to see creative ways companies are helping.
- Headspace is providing free subscriptions to healthcare professionals working in public health settings in the US through 2020 to address rising levels of stress and burnout.
- U-Haul is giving 30 days of free self-storage to college students who are impacted by sudden schedule changes at their schools
- Airbnb is issuing full refunds and waiving cancellation fees
- Loom has expanded its free plan, and cut prices of its paid plan – it’s a vital tool for remote work that we rely on in the SmarterQueue team.
- Our friends, the SMM Hub, have been offering free Zoom calls with freelancers worried about the impact on their work, with advice to maximise revenue
- Forbes is launching a free digital summit to support business needs #Forbes8Summit
- Mother Pukka, founder of the Flex Appeal campaign for workers’ rights, set up a virtual ‘clinic’ for questions around the impact on work
Or Even Just a Positive Voice
Despite the fact this is a bit of a scary time, there are wonderfully positive stories of communities coming together and supporting one another. Sharing the good in the world is one way to lift people’s spirits.
@The_Happy_Broadcast is using Instagram to spread ‘anxiety-free news’, featuring positive stories from around the world, beautifully illustrated.
In uncertain times, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Acknowledge the situation, and adjust your messaging in a way that feels true to your brand, and the new landscape we’re living in.
Keep calm, and carry on social networking!
How are you handling the COVID-19 outbreak? Do you have any tips to share, or cool campaigns you’ve seen? Let us know in the comments! 👇