This is the 3rd in a series of episodes helping you make sense of what the coronavirus pandemic means to your business. This episode will be focused on the marketing aspect of your business. Is it OK to publish content on social media now? Is it OK to advertise? What should I be posting about? What marketing activities should and shouldn't we be doing? These questions will all be addressed in hopes of inciting you to action to show up and help your own community by pivoting your marketing in these continued uncertain times.
Stay at home and stay safe everyone!
[02:33] TalkWalker Webinar
[05:30] How Can Your Business Do To Help People
[07:15] Corporate Social Responsibility
[08:23] Second Way Your Business Can Help People
[09:19] Digitzing Your Product And Service
[09:45] What If You Don't Have A Digital Product Or Service?
[12:01] Another Way of Leveraging Influencers In Time Of COVID19
[12:46] Time To Optimize Your Marketing Infrastructure
[13:41] Deepening Relationship With Influencers
This is the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer, where I help sales and marketing professionals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners, build, leverage and monetize their influence in digital and social media. Hey, everybody, this is Neal Schaffer. And welcome to episode number 156 of the maximize your social influence podcast. I want to welcome my regular listeners as well as those new listeners. Obviously, we are in the midst of this pandemic crisis. So today's episode is also going to be about what businesses specifically marketers should do in this current situation. But this podcast is all about the concept of Digital Influence, and how marketers, entrepreneurs and small business owners can leverage that. And yes, even in today's era of COVID-19, I do believe that there are ways of leveraging influencers. And I'm going to talk a little bit more about that, in this third episode have talked about the pandemic, in episode number 154. What businesses should be doing now, episode number 155, was with my friend and marketing Thought Leader Mark Schaefer, which also went over the human touch that companies need to provide more than ever, Mark, for those of you that don't know has actually tested positive for the virus. He is still recuperating, and hopefully, by the time this publishes, he will be over it. But if you're a friend of his or know of him, I hope that you'll find him in social media and send him some encouraging words. So as a reminder, this podcast is being sponsored by the age of influence, which is my new book, which just came out, and this podcast will mark. Well, by the time you hear it, it'll be about a month since the book was published. It's all about really this concept of Digital Influence that I talk about in this podcast, and how your business can leverage influencers who actually exist all around you, regardless of industry. So I hope you'll check that out. I really appreciate all those that have spent the time to write a review for it on Amazon, I am offering for anyone who writes a review, to just send me the screenshot, I'll put the email address in the show notes. And I'm going to offer up a free 15 minute consultation so that I can help your business personally and customized to your specific situation. So let's get on with the show, shall we? So what I'm going to talk about here is actually part of a webinar that I am doing together with the social listening tool talkwalker. This webinar is actually happening shortly, a few hours shortly after publication of this podcast. So if you hear it in time, it starts at 10am. Pacific time, on Wednesday, April 15. If you happen to hear it by then please go to my social media, and you will find the link to actually register and join the webinar. But during the webinar, which is all going to be about influencer marketing and how to use social listening tools. Obviously, we can't avoid not speaking about COVID-19 and what marketers should do in light of it. So that's why I want to share with you what I'll be sharing on that podcast, all of my advice, which will comprise this podcast episode. So recently, I had someone from my university that I graduated from reached out to me. Now I went to a liberal arts college called Amherst College. And every year, we get a few letters, asking for donations and actually Amherst College, the alumni are very generous in their donations, and I donate to my alma mater as well. But this one was very, very different. This donation was saying, we have I believe my class only had 400 Something people on it very, very small college, that out of that more than 10% I think there are over 50 of them, were a medical professional. And as medical professionals, they were at the frontlines fighting this battle. And one of the people that I graduated with actually has her own apparel factory here in Los Angeles, she decided to completely shift gears and start to manufacture masks from that factory, which I believe she's already donated about 10,000 to hospitals, mainly locally, I believe in Southern California, but I might be wrong. But regardless, the idea was like, look, let's donate and for every you know, $3 or whatever costs, you know, we can make this many masks. So please donate if you can, and we're gonna send it out to all of the hospitals and healthcare facilities where the alumni work and dedicate it to those alumni that are working there. And that really touched me in a lot of different ways as I'm sure we're all being emotionally touchdown inspired during this pandemic, but I immediately, you know, helped, I immediately donated something that, you know, I want to help. And we all have complete respect for those that are at the front line. They need PPE, they need personal protective equipment. So to me, that all made sense. Now, this was done through alumni. Right? This was not sponsored in any way by the college. These were people that were coming around to help people. And really, you know, I sort of talked about this in the last two podcasts. But your business can be helping people as well. What do you have to offer to help people? And this is a great example. This is a clothing factory, that now they're manufacturing mass. We've heard of GM manufacturing ventilators, what is it that your company can do to help and maybe if you can't do that, you can help people in your community, you can contact a local hospital, and see how you can help or people that need food, how you might be able to help them, there is help that any one of us can provide, I see it everyday next door, this social network for local communities. And there's one person that is often posting, how can I help you let me know, if there's anything you need, you need someone to pick up groceries, let me know. Now, I'm not suggesting that every company should do this. But I am suggesting that there are ways that you can help. And I mentioned this because obviously, while the intention is not to be marketing your company, indirectly, yes, you are marketing your company, and you are invoking positive emotions about your company in the act of helping others. And if you're seeing my webinar, I show a picture of Budapest, Hungary in 1956. And I talked about this in the last podcast episode number 155. But that people remember right, people remember the good and the bad, and people will remember those that helped them during this pandemic, become one of those entities. So your community needs you more than ever, and we are truly all in this together. So instead of saying, I shouldn't do anything on social media, I can't do any advertising. Well, you probably shouldn't be doing blatant advertising anyway, during this time. But there are a lot of things you can do, just to communication, right. And I think the number one thing, and I sort of already hinted at it, is something we call corporate social responsibility is at the heart of it. If we, my daughter is a freshman in high school, they have a business cohort at our high school she's taking it's pretty cool, because she's going to be taking a marketing class as part of that. But her first class was a class on ethics, right. And there's something to be said for, you know, businesses are in business to serve others to help others to provide solutions to other problems. And this is the biggest problem we all have. So part of Corporate Social Responsibility is tapping into your responsibility as an enterprise to help others. And if you haven't done this before, this is really a great time to start. So Corporate Social Responsibility is something that I think more is on the public relations side of things. I am not an expert on an anyways, there are a lot of people out there, if you were to do a search for corporate social responsibility, you'll find a lot of really, really great advice on that. But that is something that you should definitely, if you haven't been doing it, doing it. And if you are doing it, this is really the time where you should be maxing out all of those activities that you are doing. So the second thing you can be doing, which is sort of tied into this is really providing for those in need. And if you can provide your product for those in need. I think a lot of people read the newspaper and hear about farmers and how to destroy fresh eggs and you know, milk and meats, because in vegetables because they couldn't get it to market right and it went rotten. Now, I don't know how much they could have done. And I'm sure they're already doing a lot for their communities. But we don't want things to go to waste right now. And if you have products or services that are sitting in your warehouse that can help people. Or if you have some sort of digital product or service that can help people, you know, now's not the time to monetize that you you should be able to monetize it to some extent. But now's the time to be a little bit more liberal with giveaways with extending free trials. And we see a lot of businesses doing this. You know, normally we'd ask for your money, we're going to do three months free now instead of one month or whatever it is. A little gesture like that to help those in need, can go a long, long way. So the next thing that you should be doing for your marketing, it comes down to the product product marketing, right. And this is something that I also spoke about in episode number 154 Is the digitizing of your product or service. And if you do not have a digital product or service, this is really a great time, the best time to create one because the digital transformation is only only going to be accelerating and part of what you can do. If you don't have a digital product or service. What you can be doing is keeping your customers engaged. So we're seeing you know my brother, for those of you that don't know he runs a winery in Santa Barbara County, California, and he has a wine tasting room. Well, he can't open up that wine tasting room right now that's an essential business. And state of California, well, he'd be breaking the law if he did operate it. But he can still engage with people that enjoy wine, and drink together with them virtually. So he's doing virtual wine tastings, right? On Instagram Live. And we see a lot of, you know, companies that are doing, you know, cooking live streams, or, you know, all sorts of different virtual summits and webinars and live streams, to keep their customers engaged. But part of what they're doing in that engagement is not just the entertainment and being together with them, and providing them that human touch. So that they are remembered, obviously, but also, they're providing them customer education, right? how to best use our product, how to best cook with our product, which wine pairs better with what type of food, and I know that customer education content is always sort of back of mind, you know, not top of mind, but somewhere in the back of mind that marketers think and entrepreneurs and small business owners, you know, we need to create content, and we need to promote all of our products and services. But a lot of companies neglect to create really, really great customer education content, this now is the time to do that. This is one of those, we shift from the outside externally marketing our company to the internal, what else do we need to do in our marketing infrastructure. And I think that a lot of companies really lack true customer education content, whether it's blog content, or videos, and you can actually repurpose your live streams to create those videos, but really take the time to better educate. And by the way, that this isn't what I was going to talk about. But as part of that education, yes, you can bring in influencers, and do a live stream together with them to help in the education, especially if they're using your product, right. So this is another way that we can be leveraging influencers, even in the era of COVID-19 is through this sort of collaboration with the objective being customer education. So one more thing that I talked about in episode number 154. And this is just sort of a summary, right? Think of this as the third part of a three part series on marketing and business in the age of COVID-19. Because I don't plan to talk about this forever. We are going to get through this pandemic. And as everyone who around me knows, I'm all about creating evergreen content, which is why I never intended to make these three podcasts to begin with. But it is a question I'm getting asked. And I think it is important. But I believe that these are really, you know, lifelong lessons for anybody listening to this. So the other thing I mentioned in episode number one, and 54 is, you know, when we go from switch from looking outside to looking inside, what are those other marketing infrastructure projects that we can be doing, or that we've put off doing because we didn't have time, or we didn't have a budget, right? This is you know, your your website, your website, design, your marketing, automation, whatever it may be. These are things where it's a great time to really make sure that your infrastructure is as optimized as possible for because we're going to get really busy, right? Once we get through this pandemic, I think every business is going to become very busy very quickly, and you want to prepare yourselves for that. But also just to be able to implement all the things that you've been wanting to do. So the last note I want to give you and it sort of ties together everything we've been doing and I want to make it specific to influencers is now is the time. If you're looking at beginning influencer marketing, or doing more influencer marketing, now is the time to spend more time with influencer identification, whether it's you're doing it for the first time, or you want to find new influencers, as well as it's great time to deepen relationships with influencers, as you find them or your past influencers. So I mentioned in terms of customer education, you have a great way to collaborate with influencers, but at a minimum, you can be deepening relationships with them, you can get on the phone with them. And you should be doing this with your customers through social media as well. But when we talk about influencers, they are also facing this recession pretty hard. As you can imagine, one of the first budgets to go when recession hits is advertising and influencer marketing budgets are also getting hit as well. So what you can be doing, though, is just like I talked about the internal party or marketing versus the external, you don't have to activate influences for campaigns. You could be deepening relationships with them. You could be asking them what they've been working on. How are other brands handling this? Do they have any ideas? maybe create a roadmap a plan for the rest of the year when businesses do get back online? And yes, if there are ways to collaborate them with customer education or live streams or other types of content? That's awesome. Right, but use this time wisely. Especially not just that market infrastructure, but in developing relationships, relationships with the public, around you, your community, your customers, and with those influencers that you plan on investing more in once we get out of this pandemic, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the maximize your social influence podcast. We have a number of great interviews lined up over the next few episodes. And I'm going to be talking hopefully next well, Episode 158 on the role of this concept of Digital Influence, and influence marketing for salespeople, believe it or not, this is something that I've talked about on to podcast very, very recently. And I want to share, sort of develop and share those views with you on this podcast. So make sure that you're subscribed, whether it be Apple podcasts, or whatever podcast platform you're on. And by the way, we also have not only our own Facebook group for this community, but we now also have a LinkedIn group, the maximize your social influence group on LinkedIn. So whether you're a Facebook person or LinkedIn person, I hope that we can continue the conversation there. Well, that's it for this episode. Wherever you are in the world, be social virtually, and make it a great day. Bye bye, everybody.