Surviving COVID-19 – a business perspective.
Nicole Montgomery, when she isn’t working on her patient advisory business Trusted Surgeons, offers digital business solutions, marketing and social media advice to the industry through her platform Trusted Digital Media. This week, she shares exclusively with SPA+CLINIC how to manage your social media and digital presence throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, when everything is incredibly uncertain and your business may either already be closed or facing an imminent shutdown.
Things are about to get real. The spread is not slowing, and extreme measures are on the way. There are several scenarios I can see: Sit on our hands and pretend this is a storm in a teacup; freak out and start applying for a business loan to support the business during this difficult time, work on an exit strategy to pack up shop quickly and minimise the loss. It’s time for fight or flight and we may be looking at 6 – 12 months to get to the other side.
If you decide you want to fight, have your business succeed and want to get through this difficult time stronger, wiser and tougher, then this article is for you. I have listed my top COVID-19 strategies you should implement into your marketing and social media.
Pivot – I don’t think I can say this enough, pivot, pivot and pivot some more. If you have been in business for a few years, you will be familiar with the term pivoting. As you learn about your clients and their problems, you pivot to provide the best solutions. With COVID-19, clients want treatments more than ever – we always want what we can’t have, right? However, social distancing requires a separation between people of 1.5 metres, which completely contradicts having a facial treatment, injectables and/or any unnecessary treatment. GPs are urging patients to teleconference (with this in mind), so it is not ideal to be marketing to clients encouraging them not to worry and to come into your clinic. Have you ever told a worried woman not to worry? I would not recommend it. So, if you can’t perform services that are the bread and butter of your business, how are you going to pivot to pay rent?
Consider creating videos – providing education and mentioning the services you provide. It’s a great time to bolster your video library by creating some situation specific videos and using them to educate. Provide complimentary virtual skin consultations – people isolated need human connection and will love the chat via video.
Tone – Keep your content appropriate and relevant to the times, considering the constant developments occurring now. If you are using a scheduling app with weeks of posts waiting to go live, now is a good time to pause all posts. Posting an image of beautiful people out enjoying their best life is not relevant or appropriate to someone self-isolating. Holding events, going out to dinner and flaunting a vicarious lifestyle could also be perceived as inconsiderate. Now is not the time to “fake it till you make it” whilst the world is struggling. Being careful, considerate, kind and vulnerable is the current tone on social media.
In any normal instance we would all post our greatest angles and the great Easter parties, egg hunts and our fun lives. This Easter long weekend will have a very different tone. Instead of promoting body sculpting to compensate for too much chocolate and preparing for the long weekend, we will be posting about gratitude and supporting others. Weddings, honeymoons and parties celebrating major life events are all being cancelled or minimised. We can’t visit and hug our dying grandparents in aged care facilities or relatives in hospital; we can’t visit our family or friend who just had a baby and we are banned from hugging those who suffer anxiety, value touch and need a hug. If you do not consider your social media content carefully you may lose loyal clients and potential new clients.
It’s time for fight or flight and we may be looking at 6 – 12 months to get to the other side.
Context – constantly re-assess the context of your messaging across social media, email marketing and your website. The environment is rapidly changing. Before you post something ask yourself “Is this appropriate creative placement and is this in context?”
I saw a post today: “Get your Fraxel before quarantine – now is the perfect time”, I also saw a post from a clinic closing its doors until mid-April. How do you think this type of conflicting messaging is perceived by the general public? We are certainly not on the same page regarding moving forward and adapting to the times. I appreciate some clinics are desperate and need to generate appointments, but this is not a well thought-out campaign. In another example, a wedding post promoting surgery prior to your big day might be great in any other context. You may have a June wedding campaign planned, which would have been amazing if COVID-19 did not happen. But is it appropriate to post about a hen’s party, big wedding and glamourous honeymoon right now? NO.
Social considerations – I have seen posts with staff hugging captioned “we are stronger together” and others with a large team of staff together with arms over each other’s shoulders. Consider that we are practicing social distancing right now. Your creative visual imagery needs to be scrutinised – no hugs, handshakes, kisses, touching and high fives. Your tone and copy needs to be carefully checked, tongue in cheek humour will not be received well by all. Be cautious, you want to make people smile and laugh without being insensitive or causing offense to anyone.
As a medical professional and nurturer, take this opportunity to be helpful, educate and drive the dissemination of factual reliable information. You will retain clients, gain new clients and restore your business when this is over if you maintain a meaningful presence. If you are of no value to a user, annoying people with unreliable fake news and acting as though it’s ‘business as usual’, you will lose clients.
Empathy and listening are two of the most important skills when working in aesthetics. People are scared, so acknowledge that, empathise, and validate in a meaningful way in order to stay connected.