Maintaining an effective online presence is critical during a crisis. Rather than retreat, startup founders should see circumstances like the current COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to expand social influence.
Thoughtful communication at a time like this can increase social capital, generate new business, and attract top talent. In our experience, we’ve seen many companies actually enhance their brands and grow stronger through challenging times.
Consider the following strategies to help bolster your brand image while the world is craving for examples of heroism, purpose, and positivity.
1. Tell Honest Stories
One of the best ways to connect with people right now is to share powerful stories that aim to provide value to others. Without diminishing the consequences of the coronavirus, share original blog articles, newsletters, and more that highlight how your team and business are responding in light of the situation.
Recognize that many people are anxious and concerned about their own lives. Convert inwardly focused marketing to content that is geared towards helping others. Put your campaign about the new business you just won on hold and think about what might be meaningful to someone outside of your early-stage venture.
2. Engage With Well-known Industry Experts
During times like this, people are hungry for advice, guidance, and insight. Dig deep and figure out what you can share that others might find helpful. As a founding team member, you undoubtedly have a myriad of experiences that could be beneficial to someone else.
On top of that, try and get influencers within your space to engage with your content. Even if they disagree with you, the engagement is an opportunity to showcase that you deserve to be in the conversation.
The more you exchange thoughts and ideas in the public sphere, the more people who follow your industry will come to recognize your brand.
3. Invite Others to Participate
Another way to increase your brand’s visibility is to allow others to participate in your content creation strategy. Invite guests to submit blogs, videos, articles, and other content that push the conversation forward around how to deal with the challenges of COVID-19.
The chances are that you are not the only startup that is struggling with certain issues or problems. Bring the idea exchange that happens on social media to your platform and become a go-to resource within your market segment.
4. Share Best Practices and Guidance
Although it may not be directly tied to your core business, share helpful information from health experts and leading institutions around how employers can keep their people safe during this time. Acknowledge best practices for stopping the spread of the virus and point others to loan programs that they might find valuable.
We’re all going through this unprecedented time together. Show that you have more than your own interest at heart by deprioritizing market share and pushing positive messages out there that help everyone in your community.
5. Stay Active
While many leaders choose to pull back on branding efforts during uncertain times, there is value in staying active. Work closely with your marketing leader to design capital-light campaigns that reinforce your brand without breaking your budget.
It may not be an appropriate time to move forward with the large-scale rebranding endeavor you planned for 2020, but that doesn’t mean you should pause all investments in your startup’s image.
Continue to engage consistently on the platforms where your target customers visit often. Radio silence on your end might make it seem like something is wrong when, in fact, you are simply working hard to figure out how you will survive the next few months.
Set aside time to let your audience know you are still here. Make sure others know you are a leader, not a victim.
Find the Silver Lining
Undoubtedly, we are in the midst of an incredibly challenging and uncertain season. Early-stage ventures, especially, are struggling to survive.
We at Funded.club understand that you have a lot on your plate right now. However, we know that there is often an opportunity in crises to invest in your brand voice. Create the capacity to share positive stories with your network. Engage and invite others to fight hard alongside you.
Remember, we will get through this. The future will be tough, but those who communicate effectively will be rewarded after we get out of this storm.
Interested in learning about how Funded.club helps startups recruit top talent, even during tough times?
Contact us today.
Ray Gibson is founder and CEO of Funded.club. He brings 20 years of experience in recruiting across Europe, North America and Asia and 5 years running his own startups.