Written by Rose Souders
With months of shelter in place and social distancing under our belt, we’re starting to see many people get more comfortable with going out into the world, armed with masks, hand sanitizer, and anxiety (just me?).
It’s only natural for a concerned citizen that’s been holed up for months to feel nervous about going to get a beer from an outdoor bar or shopping in person instead of online. Not everyone is following the recommended (or even required) health and safety protocols, so it’s incredibly important as a business that you reassure customers during COVID-19 and showcase how you’re taking safety seriously. If you’re not communicating with your customers, then you’re leaving it up to them to fill in the blank. It’s an uncomfortable guessing game.
Showcase your safety protocols and reassure customers during COVID-19.
Here are some ideas for how to showcase what you’re doing to keep your customers safe using social media, along with the pros and cons of each.
Use Live Video to provide transparency and build trust.
Don’t just publish staged photos of an employee spraying down a table or cart. This feels orchestrated and really doesn’t provide much relief. Instead, try doing a weekly Facebook or Instagram live that shows what it’s really like, unedited, at your businesses. This unedited video shows your customers that you’re transparent and consistent.
I recommend keeping this video to at least 5 minutes and focus on something that shows the behind the scenes, while still in the background showing the safety protocols in action. For example, you could show the bar making cocktails, but the background view is your outdoor tables being cleaned, customers properly using masks, tables spaced out, etc. Remember, this is a real unedited video so it’s up to you to maintain the safety protocols, which I hope you would be doing anyway.
Pro-tip: don’t forget to use a tripod. Also, ideally, for this type of video, you’d have no or very little talking. The purpose is to show the experience one would have going to your business, not to be your stage.
- Pros: You’re going to quickly build trust with your customers and they’ll immediately feel more comfortable visiting your business when the time is right for them. You’ll also stand out. Not many businesses are likely to make this move because they think it’s too risky or complicated. See “Cons” below.
- Cons: Yes, this is a risk. What if in the video, someone doesn’t follow the rules? However, if you’re on top of your protocols and your staff is consistently enforcing this, you shouldn’t have any issues. If you’re worried, you can keep the videos to 5 minutes instead of a longer 15 or 20.
Record and edit a video that sums up the safety protocols and experience visiting your business during COVID-19.
Again, rather than just a photo of a spray bottle or hand sanitizer bottle on a counter, take the time to brush up or learn video editing skills and record a montage of your safety protocols and what someone can expect when visiting. Publish it to your social media accounts and embed it on your website. The Mall of America recorded a fantastic video like this and I highly recommend watching it and following its structure. You can watch it here.
- Pros: This is an engaging and visual way to show vs tell your customers what to expect when visiting. Many businesses are just posting photos of a staff member spraying something or wearing a mask. If you can pull this off, you’ll likely stand out and also received positive feedback from your customers.
- Cons: Yes, this does take time to make. The good news is, you don’t need any fancy equipment. You can record the video on your cell phone and use free or low-cost editing software to cut together the clips. Customers are forgiving right now when it comes to photography and video. They prefer honesty over the perfect lighting and backdrop (although both would certainly be nice!). Think of this as an investment in your business. While creating this video, you’ll also learn crucial video editing skills which you’ll be able to use in the future for different marketing campaigns. If you don’t want to do it yourself, then hire someone to do it.
Upload an Instagram carousel post or Instagram stories sequence that lists your health and safety protocols.
You could list the individual protocols in text overlay on the photos (keep it simple), then record a short video or GIF of someone implementing that protocol. If you go the Instagram Stories route, then make sure to create a Highlight on your profile with the sequence so that they live on past the 24 hours.
- Pros: Easy and low cost to create. You can use Canva to create your graphics.
- Cons: This is still pretty close to the “take a photo of a spray bottle and post it” scenario. If you’re going to do this, make sure you have some other means of communication to go along with this. This shouldn’t be your only piece of content or line of communication with your customers.
Created a pinned post on your Facebook page that lists what a customer can expect when visiting during COVID-19.
This is a really good way to make sure your protocols are front and center on Facebook. I recommend adding a note about when the post was last updated in the text so that people know the information is still relevant. Something at the top of the post like, “Updated: July 12, 2020” would be just fine. Keep it updated every day. It’s best to keep the same post and update it rather than posting a new post every day so that you don’t have old content floating around and getting shared. Also, people will get really sick of boring daily updates with basically the same information. The pinned post is the way to go.
With this concept in mind, don’t be afraid to add the same information from your pinned post front and center on the home page of your website. Remember, people want to know right away if visiting your business fits in with their own personal safety plans. Be transparent and quickly deliver that information.
Pro-tip: If you normally incorporate boosted posts on your Facebook page, then make sure not to boost this post. If you boost it, you won’t be able to edit it later.
- Pros: This is really really easy and very effective in making sure that people have the information they need to visit.
- Cons: You’ll need to keep this post updated. It shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes a day, but you’ll still need to stay on top of it.
Reach out directly to reassure customers during COVID-19.
I know this isn’t exactly using social media, but it should be said: Don’t be afraid to directly contact customers. If you have customers that have upcoming appointments, send them an email in advance with what to expect when visiting and your business. Try giving them a call on top of that to make sure that they say it and feel comfortable. Leave them a voicemail if they don’t answer. Aside from email marketing and phone calls, another way you could tackle this is through paid ads to a current customer list. You can also send physical mailers with your safety protocols + an offer for people who visit either in person or online.
- Pros: This shows effort and will make you stand out. Most businesses are failing to effectively communicate with their customers right now. Your customers will appreciate your efforts and also feel a lot safer knowing what the expect.
- Cons: You’ll need to (wo)man power to tackle this. It will take time to complete, but it should definitely be done. Simply put, a social media post is not enough.
Going out into public spaces for many creates anxiety. By investing just a little time to showcase your safety protocols and reassure customers during COVID-19, you can build trust and even increase in-person sales.
Try using these approaches to help your customers feel at ease:
- Use Live Video to provide transparency and build trust.
- Record and edit a video that sums up the safety protocols and experience visiting your business during COVID-19.
- Upload an Instagram carousel post or Instagram stories sequence that lists your health and safety protocols.
- Created a pinned post on your Facebook page that lists what a customer can expect when visiting during COVID-19.
- Reach out to your customers directly.
If you’re looking for more resources, try this shortlist of relevant blogs for assistance + subscribe to the Potluck Consulting newsletter to get our weekly emails. Click the purple “Newsletter” tab at the bottom of your screen.