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“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis’. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognise the opportunity”. – John F. Kennedy.

While some may argue this as a miss-translation by the western world, the sentiment behind this famous JFK quote is one we can all get behind!

In this video I (James) spoke with Tom Gibbons, Marketing Director at The TEFL Academy, about how they’ve adapted to find the opportunities available to them during the COVID19 crisis and what other businesses could be thinking about at this time and into the future.

Watch below and keep scrolling to read my thoughts from our chat. I really hope it helps you think about ways to adapt now and when we move back into some sort of normality.

Here are my top takeaways from our discussion…

1. The details matter!

Just with any strategy you need to set yourself up for success first. 

The TEFL Academy didn’t just jump into changing their message right away, they first ensured they could continue to deliver a great service, setting their teams up with exactly what they needed to keep going. From providing online only certificates to making sure their customer service team could work from home – providing them with the technology needed.

This preparation work was essential and meant that when they started reaching out to wider audiences they were able to back up their own hype and deliver on their promises.

This is an important point that too many businesses miss when building their marketing strategy – remember marketing won’t fix your problems but it will help you grow a dedicated community IF you’ve done the work to ensure you can provide a truly awesome service.

The TEFL Academy wanted to get this right before growing their awareness further, they knew online courses were becoming more popular due to lock down but wanted to ensure what they could continue to provide a highly valuable product and that they could be as responsive as possible.

2. Create opportunities to build your brand

Now is not the time to disappear into your socially isolated bunker, it’s the time to build brand awareness and become closer to your customers.

As Tom said “this is an opportunity for businesses, whether you can adapt to [sell] online or not, you can actually build some really strong brand awareness at a much cheaper cost over the next couple of months away from the competition that you normally have.”

With many businesses pulling budget away from social media there is less competition in some industries but increased awareness. As such this could be the perfect time for you to test Facebook and Instagram advertising or to just become more consistent on social media as a business.

People are spending more time online and you should too, even if it’s just to keep your loyal customers entertained with what you’re up to at home, giving them something fun to get involved with, or sharing knowledge and advice.

The TEFL Academy have obviously been trying to sell more online courses but at the same time they’re sharing fun posts from their alumni and advice about teaching and earning money from home. We’ve been using paid advertising to help them reach more people with these engaging posts and they’re seeing great results.

Here’s some nice examples of posts involving their alumni:

3. Become part of your customers' stories

“We might be physically distant but we shouldn’t be socially distancing” – I believe in this so much! With social media we don’t have to be socially isolated, that goes for individuals and for businesses.

I’ve loved seeing businesses getting involved in social media trends, helping customers get through this time with fun content and involving themselves in worthy causes – NHS Million, #ClapForCarers, to name just a few.

While building brand awareness you should be finding ways to be part of your customer’s and society’s stories. For instance, my local pub are filming short videos on making cocktails from home, my gym is posting daily exercises on Facebook Live (I’ve only done one of them, sshhhh don’t tell! 🤫), and The TEFL Academy have been writing blogs with tips on working from home and have been sharing some great memes too! 

We all need a laugh right now so think about ways you can bring some positivity into the world. 

For example The TEFL Academy, with our help, have also developed an AR filter for people to discover their work from home personality! It’s just a bit of fun but it’ll help their alumni and current students, plus anyone else working from home, forget their troubles for a second and give them a laugh at the same time.

Try out the filter on Instagram here, and Facebook here.

How can you innovate and engage your customers? You don’t need to go as far as creating a filter and you don’t even need to spend any money. Think about ways to ensure you’re not forgotten at the moment while also helping your customers get through this time.

4. Think ahead, even when life seems uncertain

How will you come out of this? Will your business be remembered, or will it be boycotted (we’re looking at you Whetherspoons!). By building positive engagement and awareness now, and treating your customers and employees right, people will want to do business with you after this.

During our discussion Tom came up with a great idea for pubs and restaurants – the prohibition party, or rather the post prohibition party!

Why not start to build a list of customers who are engaging with you online and start to get them excited about your big post-lock down shindig. I know I know, we don’t actually know how long this will all last or when people will be able to gather yet but failing to plan is planning to fail!

Now is the time to think about what you so with all the awareness and engagement you create, how will you be part of the positive story after all of this? The TEFL Academy are already thinking about messaging around travelling again when people can teach and travel once this is all done, and you should be thinking about post-lock down too.

This will all end, we will go back to normal-ish, yes some things will change and hopefully for the better but we people will start visiting your business again, they will start buying your services, make sure you’re doing the right things now and you’re prepared for then.

And that's all folks... for now...

We really hope you found this blog useful and now have some thoughts on what to do in social media now and in the future. 

We’re planning to continue this series of videos and blogs so drop us a line at hello@digitalfirefly.co.uk if you’ve tried something that’s really worked and you’d like to share – we’d love to hear about it. 

Get in touch to talk about how we can help you succeed with your social media marketing.


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