*This blog originally appeared on The Southern C blog in March 2020 by contributor Nancy McNulty, owner/president, Forest Home Media.
On the night of March 2, deadly tornadoes swept through Nashville devastating lives in a matter of seconds. By Thursday of that week, the first coronavirus case was confirmed by Tennessee’s governor. Rightly so, the way in which public relations and social media is conducted is changing drastically.
Messaging Sensitivity In Times Of Crisis
For my company, Forest Home Media, one client’s entire four state operation was on an annual awards cruise in the Bahamas and a second client was hosting a media/ influencer event that week unveiling a new partnership with Martha Stewart.
Immediately, all Facebook scheduled posts were reviewed for any sensitivity issues while any cruise celebration posts were postponed. At the end of the cruise, several groups got off the boat and went to work for Nashville. This was shared immediately.
For the media/influencer event, California Closets Nashville unveiled the new Everyday System designed nationally with Martha Stewart. However, a giveback element was added with donations accepted at the event for the Red Cross and a percentage of any future sales in March are earmarked for tornado recovery efforts. This was reflected in email blasts, during the event and event follow up.
This all sounds so elementary but, spending any time on social media, frivolous posts remained and felt very tone deaf. But, this is only the beginning.
Crisis Social Media
As our country faces this pandemic, each company and person can play a role. The news outlets are handling the crisis updates and social media channels monitoring for misinformation. Take a look at your company or brand and determine any positive energy you can inject into your social media posts. Right now, people are looking for comfort and hope.
For the home industry, we’re focusing on things that can be controlled by the individual like the peace of mind found in an organized and clean home with stories soon appearing with California Closets Tennessee as a source. For my other clients, we are highlighting ways to safely expend energy, make your environment comforting and healthier while spending quality time with your family.
Consider these elements to weave into your messaging:
-Encourage social distancing by highlighting in-home projects which bring comfort.
-Create hopeful social media posts.
-Acknowledge the present while planning for the future.
-Determine if your company offers an alternative or activity for isolation.
Public Relations Positioning – Carmen Johnston Gardens
Now is NOT the time to back away from public relations. Smart business owners are evaluating ways to strengthen their company’s operations and positioning themselves for post-crisis business while determining any relevant role they might play in this current situation. Here’s an intriguing example.
Moments away from launching nationally an Alexa, Google Home voice assistant initiative, garden lifestyle expert Carmen Johnston is redefining her public relations messaging. Preparing to launch her spring gardening and DIY projects with Alexa and Google videos, we are working with Carmen to evaluate her role in this crisis and what positive contribution she can make. Her intriguing, pioneering moment with Alexa and Google will still happen; it will be pitched and revealed a bit differently. Check out this demonstration on Nashville’s Talk of the Town.
What we know for sure is social distancing and self-isolating is critical and we are all going to try to fill our time constructively. Carmen is preparing to launch a series of home garden activities for the entire family; activities which can be done to provide stress relief, be a positive use of energy and a creative outlet. In her lessons from the garden series, she has created content for the next 14 days from creating a beautiful project to brighten up the home to self–care ideas like hydrating drinks and hand moisturizer. She’s emphasizing health tips beyond washing your hands. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram for full details.
Find A Role
It is definitely better to give than receive and one of the ways we will all survive this crisis mentally and emotionally is if we spend our time trying to make the lives of others better. Today is the day to check in on an elderly neighbor by phone. Engage your neighborhood Facebook group to determine any needs of folks with existing health issues. And, be clear on how you can bring light.