Ep. 71 Coronavirus + The Online World
Hey everyone, this is Julie and today’s podcast episode will be not like any of the others. Because this is a time unlike any of the others that I can remember. So if you’re looking for marketing advice, today it will not be here.
But I want to talk to you guys today about what’s going on in the world. Obviously we are living in unprecedented times with the spread of the Covid-19 virus. For those of you that follow me on social media, you know that I have been talking about this since late February, thinking about it much, much longer than that, since it really began in January. And I sent a message to all my subscribers and followers on March 12 about what I think about this whole scene.
And when I mean scene, I really mean the social media scene surrounding the virus. And I know a lot of you probably can relate that you probably see two types of responses. The first are the people who throw out statistics about other viruses H1N1, HIV, other things like that, and how this is just some sort of plow from the media to get us all worked up, to crash the economy, to knock our president out of office, there’s a whole bunch of reasons. There’s conspiracy theories galore. And you will see that there are people who play totally into those conspiracy theories, and there are others who don’t so much, but they basically tell you to simmer down. “Simmer down, quit buying toilet paper. Get a grip. Stop panicking. This is no big deal. This is just a cold.”
And then on the other side you have, which prior to March 12th, it seemed to be what you would consider outliers, outliers talking about this being a big deal. There were not as many because especially in our circles, in entrepreneurial circles, because it seemed almost like a sign of weakness to show concern or worry.
So I was really torn, conflicted about this and I on February 25th is when I think I started talking about it publicly. Then on March 1st I just couldn’t handle the level of urgency I felt inside of me. I posted a blog post on it, then on March 2nd, I fell into a Facebook group where they were giving out horrible advice to this woman who wanted to travel. And that got me writing another post. So all along, I’m thinking a lot about this idea of influence, and when we have a platform as marketers or entrepreneurs, we have people following us, and our words mean something.
Whether you have a following of 3 or 3 thousand or 3 million people your words carry weight with those who trust you. And so watching this sort of uniformed hysteria sweep social media, lots of making fun of the toilet paper virus, and yet the cognitive dissonance was so loud and so strong in my head, I felt like I just couldn’t not share what was going on with me. And so what’s going on with me, and what’s been going on with me is definitely falling down a rabbit hole of following scientists, medical journals, ER physicians, other people like this on other social media platforms, and recognizing that we are in an unprecedented crisis.
So talking about it today doesn’t feel weird anymore. It feels like the nation and the world has finally woken up with what’s been going on in Italy especially and now Spain and France. And cases are rising so fast in the US as well, and now everybody’s talking about it. Now what used to be sort of an outlier conversation, is now the conversation. So it can be hard to get on social media and do business as usual. It’s hard. I had to create some bookmarks on my browser bar to go into specific groups that I need to manage, because if I don’t and I go through the newsfeed, I’m just inundated.
And honestly, I didn’t have a specific point for today’s podcast episode except to say that life as we know it is definitely going to change over the next several months. I don’t know how long this is going to last, but it can be very hard to do business as usual when it’s not business as usual. Many of you probably are listening to this and you are stuck at home. Maybe your kids are out of school, you could be under a curfew, you could be someone who was thinking about the laptop life, but still working a job even though your job may or may not be there for you right now.
We are in times that none of us have ever seen. So how do we keep going? How do we do business as usual and also recognize that we are in a time unlike any other? And that’s hard. I would encourage you to join the conversation. If you are a business owner, don’t put your head in the sand. Don’t shame people that are worried, don’t talk down to people as if they’re stupid or the word “sheeple” goes around, which is like talking about people as if they’re sheep. And I get it, I get the concept behind it, but it really doesn’t help anybody to talk like that.
I would encourage you to join the conversation in a way that is helpful to not just you, but to society. What can you do today to help society do the right thing, to help society do business as usual, to help society also do business as usual in this new world?
So that’s my encouragement to you, ask yourself that question everyday when you wake up. What can I do today? You know, a lot of people are worried about local businesses, and there’s a lot of great resources out there that says, go buy gift certificates, stir up the economy, continue to spend money with these local businesses so they don’t go bankrupt. How can you help people in your company? Can you continue to pay them, even if there isn’t work? Can you continue to pay things like your nanny or your housekeeper? We are currently paying our house manager, even though she’s not working here, because we’re going to do our part to continue. Everybody, no matter what part of the supply chain you are on, and to be honest, the higher up you go, the more responsibility you have.
And I don’t say that lightly, but I think that it’s important to note that if you have a business where you are more in the top of the food chain than the bottom, it’s your responsibility to do what you can in this moment to help those who are less fortunate than you. It’s very anti-capitalist thinking, huh? But I believe it so I’m just going to say it.
Also, I would say that if you are on social media and you are, and you want to talk about it, talk about the virus, talk about how it’s affecting life, talk about all those things, I would encourage you to talk about it as freely as you want to, but don’t attach it to a sale. I think when you attach it to a sales pitch, it just sounds terrible. Not only does it sound terrible, but it can feel like a real not so good tactic. So my recommendation is to join the conversation, to talk about it, to be relevant to your audience, but do it with your free stuff. And let your customers decide if now is the right time to buy. Don’t draw the conclusion for them that, “Oh, because you’re stuck at home”, “Oh because you’re in quarantine”, or “Oh because your job is at risk” let them draw that conclusion.
Use other hooks, there’s lots of other hooks and angles you can take when you sell, and the question has come up multiple times to me, “Should I be selling right now?” Yes, you should be selling, we have an obligation to continue the economy in every way, shape, or form that we can. Our economy crashing is a terrible, terrible, terrible problem. So yes, you should be selling. Just don’t sell snake oil as CoronaVirus treatments. Don’t sell your products and be like, ‘Well, see this is, don’t you wish you had started your business earlier? Because now you’re out of a job because of CoronaVirus.” Don’t use it as the hook, but yes, you should continue to sell.
And remember that people are right now scared, they’re nervous, and that’s normal and that’s okay. But at some point, this is not something that is going to end this week. Eventually the paralysis is going to end, and people are going to be bored, people are going to be restless, people are going to want to take action. Right now we’re in a phase of sort of freeze. Everybody freeze, you know, and there’s that fight or flight mentality kicking in, but it’s not going to stay that way forever, because this is not a quick problem with a quick solution.
So the point at which people are going to be in the newsfeed, people are going to be on social media and bored and restless, if you have something valuable to offer, that’s going to help somebody else, you have an obligation to continue as much as you possibly can, business as usual. And remember that the people who come out of these sorts of crises and thrive are those who notice that even in crisis there is opportunity, and not opportunity to leverage the pain of somebody else, but opportunity to see where you can serve. And money always follows value.
So see where you can serve, see where you can provide value. This is a great time to see lots of people coming together. I started a Facebook group, sort of on impulse even, when I sent out an email about the CoronaVirus, because I felt like at the time I really didn’t want to overwhelm my newsfeed with posts about it. But I knew I couldn’t not talk about it. So I thought well, I’ll just talk about it in a group and then whoever wants to join the group can hear whatever I have to say about it, and then that way, this was sort of my delineation factor. That’s really why I started it. It’s called We’re In This Together it’s on Facebook, you can find it.
What I didn’t realize, or that I thought might happen, but didn’t realize how much it would happen is that over the next week, it became so obvious that CoronaVirus was going to stop all our lives, that now it’s totally normal to talk about it on your newsfeed. However the group has sort of taken on a life of its own, it’s an amazing place of firsthand accounts, questions, people who feel like they can’t talk about things with friends and family, but want to talk about it. They post in the group every day. We have a pin thread and people post articles that they find that are helpful. A real spirit of camaraderie and support has formed in there. So if you’re looking for that, I would encourage you to join it.
Like I said it’s called, We’re In This Together. And very science based, encouraging, no fear-mongering, no conspiracy theories, no you know, big Facebook group cover photo of a giant virus attacking you, like some of those groups are.
So that’s the small part that I have done. I said, “You know what, I can continue to pay my employees, I can continue to run my business, I can continue to encourage people to market with heart and integrity in the midst of this, and I can create a place in a community where people can share and learn and take all the research that I’ve done and make decisions for themselves and their families.
So that’s what I’ve done. I encourage you to figure out what you’re going to do today. Also, side note, keep a journal, keep a log. Do some writing, do a blog, do something. You’re going to look back on this time, because you’re going to survive it, we are going to get through it, we are going to come out on the other side, and someday you’re going to want to look back and be like, “remember when…” “Remember when in March of 2020 the whole world stopped for a tiny, little virus.” And so I appreciate you all, thanks for listening, and I’ll talk to you soon.