By Honest Communications.


Let’s be honest. With everything going on at the moment, it’s more important than ever to communicate with our customers. We are all facing uncertain times. It’s time to rally together and help one another.

You might know you need to communicate with your customers, but perhaps you don’t know how? Are you stuck with knowing what to say, where to say it and how to get you message out there?

  1. Firstly, do you need to communicate at all?
If all you have to say is the same as government advice, then you probably don’t need to say anything at all. We don’t all need to be reminded to wash our hands and cover our mouths. You don’t have to offer a statement and comment on things. You can continue with business as usual and carry on with your normal social posts– that’s ok people will welcome a distraction! But if you are going to use the C word, remember your customers will want to know how they will be affected, and not what government advice is. They’ll want to know if and how you are contactable, if you are still operating and to what extent.
  1. What do you need to say? What is your communications purpose?
Just because this is a crisis, doesn’t mean you don’t need a plan, a strategy and a purpose. Don’t just type and hit send.

Generally, there are two categories crisis communications are falling into right now. The main one is offering business updates to communicate how and when you are contactable; what you are doing about order fulfilment; letting people know if appointments still stand or if they are now going to be by video; confirming if your team are working from home or if you are operating on minimal staffing?

The second is to offer advice. If your line of work means that you have skills, experience and knowledge that can help others in this time of need, then do so. Help others to understand what is going on and how they can protect themselves and their businesses. Canva has created some design templates to help you share your helpful information in style.

  1. Be clear, be transparent, be honest
No one knows what is going on, or what the future holds so don’t try to predict things. Now more than ever, it’s ok to hold your hands up and say “we don’t know… but here’s the current state of play”. But make sure you are appropriate, is it the right time to launch a new sales promo campaign? It still might be, so you needn’t ditch your plans but just consider things first.
  1. Which channel is best to use?
If you’ve got a lot of info to convey then consider a newsletter, but remember to keep it simple. If you’ve not created a newsletter before, Mailchimp is easy to use. Even better, it’s free! But give us a shout if you get stuck and we’ll give you a hand.

If it’s just a quick update you need to give then use social media. Think it through, word it carefully, and amend the post for each channel. You can also pin the post to the top of your profile on Facebook and Twitter, so it stays there and doesn’t get lost in future posts.

Facebook live streams and Instagram stories are a great to communicate with people too, and are far more personable – which will go a long way in these times of isolation.

Social media is also a good way to keep in touch with customers during quieter times. Remember it’s meant to be social and created with conversation in mind so talk to people!

  1. Check any prescheduled social media posts!
Scheduling tools can be an amazing time saver but it’s easy to forget about them and the last thing you need on your hands is another crisis to be dealing with. Check your accounts to make sure you know what is going out, and review to make sure it’s still appropriate in light of everything that is going on.

They can also be a great tool when your focus needs to be elsewhere. They will ensure that you still have content going out, and that you don’t have to be there to post it. It’s vital that you maintain a presence at times like these to stay at the forefront of people’s minds – then when all this has passed they know where to go to for your help!

All that aside, your communications at the moment needn’t all be around crisis and business. Share good news! Among all the bleak news and dark times, there have been some rays of sunshine bursting through on social media this week with people rallying together and communities uniting. From teachers offering help to forums, discussion boards, supporting local businesses by sharing posts and heart-warming stories of people helping each other.

The past few weeks have been tough, and there are uncertain times ahead of us. Glimmers of good news like this really make a difference and will help those feeling cut off from things. Failing all else, put your Christmas lights back up, like these people have!

The main thing to remember is to support each other. We are all going to be up against it, unfortunately not all businesses will emerge from it unscathed. It’s going to be tough at times, but we can get through it together.

Share each other’s social media posts, recommend each other where possible, shop as locally as you can and reach out to people (not literally obviously…) to just offer a sounding board, or to have a chat. Sometimes it can be the distraction needed to brighten up a dark day. Use technology to connect with people ‘face to face’, on FaceTime, Skype or the new app Houseparty.

At Honest Communications we’ve experienced first-hand the strength and support of the small business community, and what can happen when we pull together. If you have any questions whatsoever about how you can communicate with your customers in these difficult times then get in touch.