These are difficult times. And in terms of communications, we can learn so much from the tale of Goldilocks and the tree bears. You see, the bears offered Goldilocks three options: too hot, too cold, or just right.
I think we all might know what too hot is. In a crisis, you have got to stay in your lane. This is not the time to open a new front, unless you have no option. And while communicating is vital and needed- don’t try to be the CDC, or offer all kinds of advice. There is no need to reproduce what the experts are saying or doing. And that kind of over sharing can have some consequences. Sharing bad information cannot only damage your reputation, it can cost you business. Worse, the flurry of COVID posts can lead to the impression that you are in panic mode. Think about it, who do you know who is over sharing on social media – from candles to dubious advice – and what kind of image are they putting out? Is that you? And, how many websites have you been to with big red COVID banners on line that do everything but calm you. And then you read the text and it is a mix of navel gazing and trite writing – and of course, everyone is “monitoring the situation.” Don’t let that be you.
Then there is too cold. How many sites have said nothing at all? As if all is fine – and it is all ahead, full. Or how many sites on social media are full of event that won’t happen but never got cancelled. Or some odd joke that seems really out of context. Like it was programmed 3 months back. In the time of any crisis, the first thing you need to do is pause or review your social media. You don’t want to seem to be tone deaf. Or worse, offensive. Or worse even, that you just don’t care about anyone but yourself.
So, what is right:
Be hopeful. This sucks. But, we will get through it. Share images and thoughts of hope – certainly we all are overdosed on bad news right now. And it is ok to look to a better future.
Have empathy – it is not about you, but your customers and staff- and their safety.
Don’t be a victim, be a leader – show a way forward, and emphasize being safe.
Stay in your lane and be clear on how this impacts your customers/staff.