We’ve heard over and over that this current situation with Covid-19 is unprecedented, and it is. But as communicators and marketers, we’ve been through crisis communications before, and we want to share our knowledge. Because communications and engagement through crisis or trauma is so important – for now, but also for your business recovery once this period ends.
You may have seen over the last few weeks, we’ve been developing social media freebies for the health industries (check them out on our Facebook page). This is because we know it’s important for you to communicate to your clients, and we want to help.
How a business deals with a crisis is often indicative of their brand integrity and values. You want to keep your stakeholders (your clients, staff and general public) safe, and the best way to do this is through the dissemination of accurate and easy to understand information in a timely manner. You also need to weigh up the pros and cons of spending money on marketing (like advertising Telehealth), against income loss.
Here are our 5 crisis communication tips for your business:
1. Follow department and association guidelines.
- Yes, common sense. Keep informed about the changes your Local or State Government may be implementing and follow their recommendations. If you can, create your own content using this information, or if you don’t have the time or knowledge, simply share their posts to your channels.
- Anticipating and being prepared for worst case scenario will help you have a clearer direction for the next steps you may need to take. For example, your city may be put on lock-down. In this case, if your business is in the AHP sector, consider rolling out Telehealth consultations. Visit the website of your governing body (for example AHPRA) to make sure this is permitted and is in the best interests of your clients and staff. Also check in with medicare – they are currently allowing clinics to bulk-bill for Telehealth with Doctor referral.
2. When making safety precautions, ensure to communicate these to your clients and staff.
- If you have decided to thoroughly sanitise equipment between patients, your clients may be waiting slightly longer than normal, which could make them frustrated. Be sure to communicate any changes in your service delivery to your clients and staff to ensure everyone is well informed.
- Some of the best ways to do this are through sending a mass email to your client base (our team would be happy to guide you through this), posting a statement on your website and/or Facebook (it may be worth looking at spending a small amount of money to boost your post). Or share recommendations published by the World Health Organisation on your social media channels (such as Facebook or Instagram). You can also print notices to hang in your clinic advising of any changes (Check out our free signs!).
3. Keep your marketing going!
- If your business isn’t at risk financially, it is so important to keep your business fresh in your clients’ minds. Often, it’s how businesses act is a crisis that impacts on their recovery post-crisis. So keep your marketing and engagement going if you can. At the very least, keep your basic marketing going – client emails, blogs and social media posts.
- Google ads: Just a helpful note to say that if you’ve been delivering ads via Google Ads since early 2019, Google are giving away credits for you to continue your advertising. We don’t have much more info on this at present, but Google has said to check your accounts – credit will be automatically applied if you qualify.
- This may be a time when a lot of your competitors stop their marketing activities, so it’s a great way to have a competitive advantage.
4. Keep patient contact as normal.
- Check in with your clients as you normally would, even if they cannot attend their appointments. Providing at home advice and asking how they’re feeling will be valued and help engagement and important relationship building.
5. Change your marketing plan to suit the changing needs of your clients.
- Think about what your patients might need – exercises to do at home? Video or phone consults? Reminders of how to look after their injury? Turn these questions into engaging content that your clients can interact with.
- Some great examples include Facebook lives, demonstration videos, emails with imagery and social media posts or announcements. This is a great way to engage your clients while promoting your services.
- What’s even better, is that informational content can be used for any channel, even after the emergency has passed. For example, you can re-use informational videos as website content (after small editing changes).
We hope that this has provided some much-needed guidance during this stressful time. If you have any questions about any of our tips, or would just like some guidance in implementing crisis communication strategies, you know where to look!