Right now is a difficult, stressful time for most businesses. If you have a physical location or are a physical service, it's uncertain day to day whether your business will be able to stay open. If you're entirely online it's hard to know if your revenue will stay consistent in such an unstable economy. If your major concern at the moment is keeping yourself afloat and your business alive, absolutely put all your focus into this area.
If you happen to be in the position where revenue isn't too much of an issue - maybe your business is only a side hustle and you don't rely on the income, maybe you're digital only and business is good, maybe you have enough money to get you through a close-down period - then now is a great time to double down on your digital strategy. Not only is your online presence more important than ever, but lockdown will likely give you some additional spare time that can be spent on the nitty gritty details and the stuff you never normally have time for.
Try your hand at the below 3 tasks that often fall off the bandwagon when time is scarce, as they can take a lot of work and their benefits aren't immediately obvious. But trust me - done right they're a huge step in the right direction for your brand!
Posting content regularly & consistently is one of the most important parts of a content strategy - and is also the part that is most likely to be ignored. We all know we should be producing and sharing content, but brands often do one of two things:
The best strategy is to pick a time period - say weekly, or fortnightly - and post your content at that time, every time. If you've chosen weekly, that's 52 pieces of content you'll need. Cause you're stuck at home every night, you can start to pump these out and build up a backlog so you don't have to find time every week to sit down and create.
Since you're creating content for the future, you can also plan each piece and how it interacts with the others. You could do a blog series, or photo set, or a 5 part educational video. This will not only have your consumers coming back for the next piece, it also creates a larger vision of who your brand is and what your focuses are.
When you've got the content ready you can then lay it out in a calendar so you know exactly when each piece is due to published. Likely you'll have new and exciting things happen in the next year which you'll create content for at the time, so you can just insert these into your calendar as they happen. Since you now have a big backlog you'll always have something to post every week (or day, or fortnight, or month), even if you haven't had the time or the resources to create anything recently.
And that's it! You've created a years worth of content! What a load off for future you!
Very small businesses tend to be much better at creating a brand personality, as generally it's just one person managing everything, and the brand's personality tends to be exactly the same as their own. However as soon as you've got more than one person communicating on behalf of the business it's important to know who you are and how you speak.
If your brand was a person, how would you describe them? Authoritative? Friendly? Cheeky? Calming? Professional?
Brands that require a high level of trust - like banks, doctors, security companies - often benefit from a more professional tone. This is because people want to feel like these businesses are experts in their field who handle sensitive matters and possessions, like your health or your savings, with care and responsibility.
Brands that are in more creative industries - like fashion, entertainment or beauty - tend to connect more with their customer when they use a more casual, friendly tone of voice. These brands can act like your friend who's giving you fashion advice, someone you'd want to invite to your birthday party.
I've had plenty of clothing companies call me "babe" in their confirmation emails, but if you took out a home loan and the email they sent you said "Thanks babe!" you'd be a little concerned right? That's why your brand personality is so important. Consistency of this personality across platforms also helps consumers to trust, as it seems as if they're talking to the same entity during all of their interactions instead of a fragmented herd of people.
Build out your personality onto some paper or into a digital file - charts and drawings can often help you to figure out all the fine details - and plan how it extends to your wider company communications.
Then, question how you already do things. Write a guide for how your social media posts should be structured. Do you need to alter the tone of your automated emails to be in line? Do you need to give your team a run down on how they should communicate to potential clients? Do you have an external agency who should be aware of your brand personality positioning so they can write communications on your behalf?
Once it's all mapped and confirmed, create a bible. This file can be given to anyone who ever works for and with your brand to understand how you communicate & how you position yourself.
Whilst this is probably something you can only do if your business is a little larger and has a decent following already, it's not everyday that you have the time to respond to all your messages & get back to every Instagram comment. Community engagement is very important for every brand but it's time consuming and can seem like a seemingly never ending task. But nothing creates customer connection like one-on-one interactions, and your customers will be online more than ever in the current situation.
In your downtime, see if you can get to know your customers better and what they're really after. If you can afford it, run some giveaways or competitions in exchange for their opinions or feedback.
If you've decided that your brand personality is playful or humorous (see above point) load up on some dank memes and start posting some fire stories (Ok sorry that language was awful). Ever wanted to be in a Buzzfeed article titled "*This brand* had a series of tweets that will make you lol!"? Nows your time! This actually plays into both nutting out your personality and getting your content calendar down, because responding and posting in a way that is both on brand & full of value needs planning.
If you're looking for more ways to build your digital strategy in your down time, don't be afraid to reach out! I'm always up for a chat.
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