Right now, you’d need to be stuck in a hole to miss the anxiety, cancellations, and general unrest that the global virus is causing right now. We are based in the Pacific Northwest and we have been bombarded with news, government recommendations, and a sudden urge to buy a LOT of toilet paper.
While we are not medical professionals (but we follow medical professionals’ advice – wash your hands!), we can’t help but notice the shift that has taken place socially.
In Seattle, where the most COVID-19 cases are located in the United States, a chain reaction is taking place.
Amazon, Facebook, and other large companies with thousands of workers have asked that everyone works from home. As news of the disease spreads, more businesses are closing their storefronts and asking workers to work from home. This might sound delightful to those who like to work from home with their dogs – however, this is not ideal for others.
Hundreds of businesses that rely on daily foot traffic for business are now empty. Think about small coffee shops, lunch joints, and gas stations which have been abandoned. On top of the day-to-day traffic that has ceased, events and conferences have been canceled. This does not just affect the sponsors and attendees – think about the catering service who provides food to conference attendees and the AV crew who might rent extra equipment just for a specific event. A single cancellation of a 300-500 person event can cause ripple effects for a handful of businesses. Now imagine what is happening right now with hundreds of events canceled.
With this change in behavior, we are thinking about businesses who may be reeling from the abrupt change brought about by something completely out of their control.
What can we all do to take care of each other during times of upheaval? Let us break it down, from our social media manager perspective:
If you are a member of the public:
- Use social media for good. Are the memes, news reports, or articles that you share factual, and do they add value to your online community by providing actionable steps that everyone can take? Sometimes we share things we think will help when it might actually cause more panic than you intend. Let’s keep the content in our communities as factual as possible.
- Support small businesses. There are several ways you can do this – if they have an online store, purchase something from them. If they are a restaurant or other experience – purchase a gift certificate. Purchase delivery if you wish not to leave your house. Small businesses have a harder time bouncing back from an abrupt change like we are seeing, while larger businesses have more reserves to fall back on.
- Limit your social media exposure. Yes, we are a social media agency and we *love* social media! However, we recognize that it can be damaging to mental health to receive an endless stream of evidence of panic in the streets.
- Be positive. With all your spare time at home, sit down and write POSITIVE reviews of all the places you love. It is a fact that people are much more likely to write a negative review than a positive one, so let’s take this opportunity to change that.
- Limit in-person contact. If you have an at-risk loved one or friend, this is a great time to learn how to FaceTime!
If you are a business wondering what to do:
- Turn to your online store. Have you updated it lately? Are your products ready to head out the door? It’s okay if they aren’t, but assess if you are ready for online orders. If you are, it might be time for some online ads.
- Think about video. Utilizing Instagram Live, Facebook Live, or any streaming service is a great way to reach people! If your audience has deserted your business in-person, go find them online. During times of upheaval, people crave ‘normalcy’ so a fun, educational weekly video series will be a welcome update for them.
- Get creative. If you rely on events or foot traffic, get creative and see if you can start a hashtag, a contest, or a campaign that can engage your audience. Check out how this nonprofit ran a virtual gala after their live one was canceled: https://www.upayasv.org/blog/2020/3/10/virtual-reality-making-an-online-fundraiser-connect-with-donors?fbclid=IwAR1tn_DN6W4N5OOj3gjIQfBidK0Z7x2TFWu_oP4mZoRxMV3CL_5BU–5Ydc
- Support others. See how you can support other businesses which might be hurting right now. If no part of this epidemic is hurting your business, that’s awesome! However, see if you can pitch in, lend a hand, or even engage a colleague in a project if they have had multiple cancellations or business deals fall through.
- Check-in on your coworkers! Even if the illness does not affect them, the stress caused by the news and the threat of the unknown can unnerve people. Digitally checking in to see how friends and coworkers are handling the stress can really help people feel less isolated and ease the fear factor.
We can all take care of each other virtually if we just get creative.
Spry is a remote team, so we are well aware of the benefits of working remotely, but we still recognize that social distancing can be problematic for some. Let’s all take care of each other!