How To Maintain Relationships during COVID-19
Recently, novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been at the top of everyone’s mind. As a small business owner, you should continue to be a source of calm, encouragement and support for your clients. By sticking to the basics of a working by referral system, you can still provide your clients and community stability during a time where uncertainty feels like the new norm. Here are some ways you can continue to provide compassion, competency and exceptional service to your clients during this unusual time:
Calls, Note & Popbys:
More than ever, this part of the work by referral system holds true. In a time of uncertainty or when people feel uneasy, hearing from others is a great way to provide a sense of calm. With more people working from home or avoiding crowds, they may feel isolated. Go through your client list and call those you know could use to hear a friendly voice, or might need some support. Or, sit down and start writing some notes. Receiving a kind note in the mail never fails to put a smile on someone’s face. Need to break up your day and get out of your space? Put together some Pop-by gifts and start delivering them to your A+ clients. You can leave them on their door steps to avoid contact if necessary. These little extras of making calls, writing notes and popping by with small gifts will be appreciated.
Connect on Social Media:
Using social media to work by referral is a great way to bridge the gap between your online activities and offline relationships. As you scroll through your social media feeds, take note of what’s going on with your clients. We call this social listening. Not only should you comment on their posts when it’s appropriate but take it one step further and follow up with a call, note or pop-by (see above). Come across an article that might help parents who have to work from home while their kids are off of school? Share it on your platforms and tag those you know have doubled their work-from-home duties.
Gather a Virtual Group
Know some folks who might benefit from getting together? Using the concept of the Client Appreciation Party, gather clients together to break bread — but on a smaller scale, and online. Using Zoom, Good Hangouts or Facebook, think about like-minded clients who may benefit from a get together to discuss topics. Know some bookworms? Create a monthly book club with select clients and commit to reading self-improvement or motivational books. Discuss what you learned and how it can be applied to everyday life.
Social Media Communities
While this is not something new, it is definitely something that is becoming more popular now than ever before. Social media communities are basically social groups that are created by brands to provide a networking platform for their customers. These are usually private groups that like-minded people can join to talk about their shared interests.
Facebook Groups are a brilliant example of such social communities. Many brands utilize such groups to bring all of their existing and prospective customers together and engage with them in a meaningful way. Group members can discuss various topics, share their experiences, and seek solutions to their challenges. Brands can also utilize their social media communities to launch new products, seek customer feedback, and gain valuable customer insights.
Become More Social (Media) Active
A big part of meaningful and valuable experiences on social media is the way that brands engage with their audience. While sharing posts that you believe your target audience will enjoy is part of maintaining your social media presence, you also need to encourage and cultivate interactions that are more than a simple like or share. The following are tips to help you become more socially active online:
- Educate with your content
- Only 1 out of 10 posts should be sales post.
- Host a Live Class/Event. Is there a class you put on now that you can now do via live stream?
- Post at least once a day
- Post Jokes (related to your industry)
- Try predictive text games (related to your industry/product)
- Post practical tips
- Post quotes from your industry’s leaders
- Post a “Commonly Asked Questions Answered” thread, article, or video
- Post links to products or resources you love
- Post any kind of challenge on social media, but the most successful challenges ask people to post images or videos of them doing a specific thing on social media.
- Behind the scene content – images or videos of you doing work.
- Use Ephemeral content (short duration stories that disappear afterwards). Instagram and SnapChat stories are perfect examples.
- Start a blog/vlog (we’ll send something later on how to get started with this)
- Have products your sell? If you don’t currently have an eCommerce site that supports that, you may take to social media or other means to display your goods and then offer drop-off or porch pick-up as a delivery option.
Remember, your goal is to build relationships, provide value and world class service and to generate high quality referrals.