How to appropriately address clients amid the pandemic
The pandemic has changed almost every nuance of our lives; however, it shouldn’t change your communication with customers. Now — more than ever — is a critical time to reach out to your clients, family and friends, and effectively show compassion and interest in them. Many individuals have more time than ever before to reflect and communicate.
Be authentic in your approach and seek creative ways to safely stay in touch with your clients. People appreciate the reassurance of being connected to familiar networks. Just because many aspects of life have stopped, do not let your connection to customers falter.
There are three key components of empathetic and appropriate communication during Covid. A genuine approach that is on target for your intended demographic is a thoughtful and ideal bridging of the lack of in-person communication. This effort also helps to maintain existing online and virtual relationships.
Now is the time to engage and reaffirm relationships with customers. What worked in the past with you and your clients? Was it a phone call, in-person, a facetime call, email, text, or even snail mail? Whatever was working, never abandon that line of communication. Don’t suddenly start texting a client who up till now only communicated with you in person. Rather, educate your clients on the many options they have for engaging with you.
If your client base is on a newsletter system, this is an excellent source to reiterate ways to get in touch with you. Create a menu of options for clients and let them pick the communication method that is best for them.
Don’t recreate the wheel. Use the same information on all the types of communication that you have available, and make sure it is up to date on your website. If you have a physical address, you can always check in with Google address, Yelp, Yahoo, etc., to make sure all of your information is up to date.
You need not wait for a website to fail or a phone line to go down for a client to become extra stressed. Create multiple means of communication to ease your clients’ potential stress. This way, there is a consistency to your relationship and they will have numerous ways to get ahold of you in emergency and non-emergency scenarios.
Customers have been inundated with robotic communications, automated messages, spam phone calls, excess emails, random texts, etc. Make your communication channels honest and simple. A customer in crisis does not want to wait on hold for 20 minutes only to be connected to another operator for assistance. Be extremely up-front and honest about how you want people to communicate with you during business and non-business hours.
Society is stressed. Individuals are stressed. Now is not the time to add to your customers’ agendas. When you reach out to communicate needs, wants or even future plans, be clear about timelines and expectations.
Communication is how we maintain human relationships. While in-person meetings and group sessions are not possible, clients still want to communicate. Use your existing resources like eblasts, newsletters, phone calls, and social media to reiterate the numerous ways you want to engage with your audience. The result will be that when the pandemic passes — and it will — you and your company will have maintained a seamless and helpful communication line with your clients. They will be happy and you will too.
When you or your clients see information about a product or service, do you know if the information is provided as advertising, or is it considered public relations? Knowing the differences can help you decide what might work best in your marketing efforts.
described as a paid, non-personal, one-way public communication that draws
public communication towards a product, service, company, or any other thing
through various communication channels, to inform, influence and instigate the
target audience to respond in the manner desired by the advertiser.
Advertising can be
done through print ads, radio or television ads, billboards, flyers,
commercials, internet banner ads, direct mail, etc. Social media platforms are now
a major source of advertising. The advertiser
has exclusive control over what, how and when the ad will be aired or
published. Moreover, the ad will run as long as the advertiser’s
budget allows or determines it is effective.
As advertising is a
prominent marketing tool, it is always present, no matter if people are aware
of it or not.
Public Relations is a
strategic communication tool that uses different channels, to cultivate favorable
relations for the company. It is a practice of building a positive image
or reputation of the company in the eyes of the public by telling or displaying
the company’s products or services, in the form of featured stories or articles
through print or broadcast media. It aims at building a trust-based
relationship between the brand and its customer, mainly through media exposure
Public Relations can
be called as non-paid publicity earned by the company through its goodwill,
word of mouth, etc. (It is often referred to as “earned media”). The tactics used in public relations are
publicity, social media, press releases, press conferences, interviews, crisis
management, featured stories, speeches, news releases.
Key Differences Between Advertising and Public Relations
Adverting draws public
attention to products or services through paid announcements. Public Relations
uses strategic communication to build a mutually beneficial relationship
between the public and the company or organization.
Advertising is a
purchased media, whereas, public relations is considered earned media.
While advertising is a
monologue activity, public relations is a two-way communication process. The
company listens and responds to the public.
Advertising is used to
promote products or services with the objective to induce the targeted audience
to buy. Public Relations aims to maintain a positive image of the company in
the media, with an indirect result of those effected becoming customers.
In advertising, the
advertiser has full control over the ad, such as when, how and what will be
displayed. In public relations, the company pitches the story, but has no
control how the media uses or does not use it.
In advertising, the ad
placement is guaranteed, but there is no such guarantee of placement with
In advertising, as
long as you are willing to pay for it, the ad will be published or aired.
Usually in public relations, the story is only published once, but it might be
published in many media.
Credibility is higher
in public relations than advertising. This is because customers know it’s an ad
and may not believe it easily and be skeptical. For Public Relations, third
party validation improves credibility.
uses paid announcements (ads) to draw public attention to products or services.
Public Relations is the use of strategic communication that aims at building a
mutually beneficial relationship between the company and the public.
Advertising and Public Relations both use communication channels to inform and influence the general public. While advertising is a highly expensive marketing tool, it can reach a large number of people at the same time. Public Relations is “free of cost” implied endorsement along with validation of the third party.
the modern digital age is
changing the way journalists rely on information gathering
While traditional press releases – distributing
promotional news about your services, products, brand or business through mass
communication channels – should still be part of your
communications cannon, the modern digital age is changing the way journalists
rely on information gathering.
Muck Rack and the Zeno Group, for example, published a survey
last year that produced some surprising results: only 3 percent of journalists
worldwide rely heavily on press releases distributed via newswires. Even more telling:
53 percent of U.S. based
journalists don’t rely on press releases at all.
Consider these additional
findings from the Muck Rack and Zeno Group survey:
More than 41 percent of
journalists consider the potential “shareability” of a story when deciding what
to write about
63 percent of journalists in the
U.S. and 68 percent of journalists worldwide track how many times their stories
are shared on social media
27 percent of journalists choose
Twitter as their primary news source
To be clear: Press releases are
not dead. Even in today’s digital bonanza, they’re still a formidable medium
for delivering your message, especially when that message is well written,
informative and has a strong hook.
Still, these findings, if nothing
else, should compel communications professionals to rethink how they
communicate – and build relationships – with
journalists that go beyond an email and a formulaic press release.
To bolster your message, consider
implementing these three additional strategies.
Follow reporters that cover your
beat on social media.
Make sure to follow reporters that
cover your industry on social media platforms. A journalist’s tweet may spark a
pitch for a story idea or the opportunity to become a source or an expert for a
forthcoming article or column.
The more familiar you are with
the journalists that write about your industry, whether it’s trends, news or thoughts,
the more you’re likely to understand the kind of stories they’re looking for.
Share, share and share some more.
When your business is featured in
a publication, video or blog post, share the story to your own social media
And always tag the publications
and reporter that wrote the story. Spreading good news extends the story’s
reach for your business, and it also benefits the publication and the reporter.
It’s a win-win situation for
generating visibility across the spectrum.
Make your pitch personal.
Distributing a mass pitch is
easy, but it’s not advisable. If you’re going to do the research to craft a
press release, ensure that you devote time to developing customized angles and
narratives that are personalized for the specific reporter or outlet you’re
Journalists receive dozens of
pitches every day; make yours stand out by personalizing your pitches and
letting reporters know why, specifically, they’re the right person to cover
Additionally, think beyond text: the inclusion of infographics and videos in your release is proven to generate more attention.
Remember the days prior to social media? Nor do we. Just
about every business – big and small – has a designated social media manager or
consultant that’s responsible for tweets, content posts, audience engagement,
follows, shares, comments, insight and data reports and messaging.
It’s a big job that goes far beyond those “likes” and
shares. To be a social media pro, you’ve got to master some skills.
Be creative: To stand out among your competitors, you need to create a dynamic and persuasive visual content across all your social media platforms.
Images, polls, invitations, posters, graphs, videos and
illustrations don’t have to be in every post, but the eye loves visuals, and
the more visuals you incorporate into your posts, the better chance you have of
being noticed in what’s becoming an increasingly crowded field.
Inspire conversation: Interacting
and engaging with your audience (think potential clients) is crucial to social
media success – and that includes responding to comments in a
Whether it’s a simple
acknowledgement of thanks to someone who has responded positively to a post, a
call to action for someone posing a question or a conversation starter that
opens dialogue, you need to know how to foster communication.
That, in turn, encourages
your audience to share your content, which increases your post’s longevity. And
sharing content grows you audience and results in leads and “likes.”
To post engaging ads, take
advantage of Facebook’s Ads Manager, a powerful tool that enables businesses to
launch campaigns that reach a large audience.
Live video has the kind of human
touch that doesn’t exist in text, and social media audiences can’t get enough
Shooting spontaneous short
videos on your smartphone and streaming them live on your social media
platforms has become easier than ever with recent technological advances, and
the content can range from entertaining to informative (or both).
Live streams tend to be more personable and
authentic than text posts, and studies have shown that social media audiences
overwhelmingly prefer live video.
Sixty-five percent of homeowners nationwide view buying a house in their zip code as a “somewhat good” or “very good” financial investment, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Housing Expectations.
As well, existing homeowners are eager to
invest more in their homes, says the report, noting that the percentage of
homeowners expecting to invest at least $5,000 in their homes over the next one
to three years continues to increase.
We’ve found three tools that make it easier to manage your social media platforms.
A strong social media presence is one way to increase the visibility of your business, expand your reach and generate new leads:
Buffer: Buffer is a relatively simple web application that allows users
to schedule social media posts across a variety of social network platforms.
Dually mobile and desktop friendly, the app optimizes posts for peak engagement
times (it also allows for customization) and best of all, its users receive salient
feedback, via analytics, to view social media post performance, improve results
and create data-driven reports for clients and managers.
Canva: That old cliché that a picture is
worth a thousand words rings true with Canva, an intuitive, easy-to-master
graphic-design creator that businesses can use to increase website traffic and
social media engagement. It uses a drag-and-drop format and provides
access to over a million photographs, graphics and fonts. You don’t need a
background in design to use the tool, and with more than 50,000 templates to
choose from, it’s easy to design just about anything,including those all-important info graphics.
and buzz are key when it comes to social media, and with Woobox, an
increasingly popular marketing platform, businesses can create contests,
giveaways, polls, quizzes, brackets, photo contests and more, all of which
encourage your audience to engage. Bonus: It allows businesses to seamlessly
integrate several social media platforms while running campaigns, plus it collects
and exports useful data that stems from those campaigns, an advantageous perk
that all but guarantees robust leads.
According to a recent study published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), expensive home prices, coupled with high demand, are driving today’s youngest homebuyers to smaller cities.
long as supply keeps up to meet demand, and prevents costs from rising too high
and too rapidly, these identified metro areas are likely to see an uptick in
purchases from millennial homebuyers,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist
of the NAR. A robust job market and affordability are
two of the main factors that impact home-buying decisions by millennials, notes