Avoid the Talking Heads
We’d normally encourage you to consume as much diverse media and information as possible, but hours and hours are filled with unnecessary and often discouraging coverage. Now is the time for information, not reactionary hysteria from the media—we’ll have plenty of time to grade our elected officials once this is over. A better alternative is to rely only on trusted sources, such as industry associations, government websites (local and national), or even set up specific Google alerts on your phone so it filters out as much of the nonsense as possible (see resources below). Any information CD shares is about your business and only from vetted sources.
Use Social Media Cautiously
Facebook and other social media sites are valuable ways to share suggestions and a few chuckles, but beware of erroneous information being spread regarding COVID-19. There’s nothing wrong with laughing at the hundreds of toilet paper memes that have circulated, but be especially wary of well-meaning friends sharing cures or treatments, recipes for homemade sanitizers, or anything medical related. The CDC knows better than your Facebook friends. Even political information can be woefully wrong or a terrible scam, so think twice before believing, clicking, and sharing. These posts can be cleverly disguised and appear to be from legit sources, but do your due diligence now, in the future, always. Check snopes.com if in doubt, or better yet, only rely on official sources.
According to a Facebook live broadcast by Simon Curtis of Curtis Gabriel, the key to any crisis is calm thinking and good decision making, while being both proactive and reactive. Marketing isn’t about advertising right now, but showing that you are engaged with your customers when they need it the most. Everyone has coronavirus fatigue; people are looking for hope. Share inspirational messages and show that you are human, too. Like and comment on your customers’ posts. Show how you can lend a hand to them and your community. How about a personal phone call to your customers? Most of all, don’t go dark and disappear from social media! There are a lot of decisions that you’re being forced to make right now, but keeping up with consistent content three to four times a week will show your customers that you are taking this seriously but also focused on the future—and that you’re ready for when America is moving again.
- There’s no shame in promoting your ramped-up efforts to clean your vehicles—as long as you are using approved cleaners and sanitizing products. Don’t assume; check the list on the EPA’s website here: epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2. Communicate that with your current and future clients via email, on your website, and on social media.
- Many states have restricted restaurants to pick up or delivery only, although many of local options don’t have delivery services available. Check with your area restaurants to see if they could use your services. Those that already deliver might need help, too, as the demand grows.
- Offer an errand service to customers and their families. Many customers have older relatives or those with underlying illnesses who have been asked to self-quarantine. Picking up some essentials for them such as groceries or home essentials (toilet paper if you can find it!) can free up stressed care-givers for other tasks.
- Health care workers are putting in extra shifts in already-stressed medical facilities. Partner with a local hospital or medical office to offer late-night or end-of-shift transportation home for exhausted professionals. Sell it as a safer option than them driving while drowsy. But don’t forget to pay special attention to cleaning your vehicle before and after.
- As passengers are told not to use transportation options, such as flights or trains, they still need travel, for example, to sick or distant relatives. Offer longer-distance transportation for a special rate. They can multitask or just enjoy the ride. You know your business best, so be sure to check with your lawyer, accountant, and any local authorities on new services.
- NLA: limo.org/page/COVID-19
- American Bus Association: buses.org/about/consumer-information/coronavirus-facts-not-fears
- American Ground Transportation Association: agtaweb.org
- Global Business Travel Association: gbta.org
- The Transportation Alliance: thetransportationalliance.org
- United Motorcoach Association: uma.org/covid19
- Small Business Administration: disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov
- World Health Organization: who.int
We’ll keep you updated on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter) and through our newsletter. Keep the conversation going and don’t forget that we’re stronger together!