Isolation is one of the toughest orders you can inflict on human beings and engaging them when isolated is critical to their well being.
Humans are social creatures and isolation brings on loneliness which has severe effects on mental health.
In March 2020, this isn’t a punishment but a necessity - although to many of us it is overwhelming and making us feel more separated than we ever have.
Besides the common side effects of isolation such as loneliness, anxiety, boredom, frustration etc. You also become less likely to deal with stressful situations...so overall you’re feeling pretty bogged down and that’s expected.
But how do we keep engaging when isolated over this time?
The cold hard truth is that as businesses we are trying to survive as much as we’re trying to keep customers loyal and yet still be kind. It’s a challenging balancing act.
We’re going to look at some key ways to keep engaging isolated people, how they work, why they work and why we should keep connecting with each other.
The reason our very global world isn’t completely disjointed.
Skype was invented in 2003 and people have been globe trotting long before video calls were ever on the horizon. They used to keep connected with letters and phone calls (that would cost a fortune).
Social media is a fantastic tool for keeping people engaged when isolated virtually.
Trevor Noah is a comedian who is adding spoonfuls of humour to the current isolation scenario by posting videos like this one about singing with his neighbours…which isn’t as effective as it is in soulful Italy! But he is uniting strangers all over the world who are now having moments of shared joy!
Using social media to lessen the distance between us is a great way to keep people engaged.
Not only does social media act as a platform for active interaction but it also;
- Establishes direct connections with people you may not have had the opportunity to meet in person.
- Helps you get to know people better because you have more flexibility in communicating.
- Gives you valuable insight into your customers that you might have otherwise missed.
There are so many options to open up communication with people thanks to the advances of social media, we don’t always have time to take full advantage of them in everyday life but now is a great time to focus on creating meaningful connections. Think about how you can engage people when isolated.
Here are some ideas;
- Do more lives! People love them and they are 100% for being a part of your life for those moments.
- Share success. If you like what another person is saying or selling or sharing - share it too!
- Join groups - get involved in communities.
- Like and comment. This makes all the difference to small businesses but it also can really lift people having an off day.
- Video chat. If you can’t have a glass of vino in person do it over video chat.
- Check in on people, take the time to let them know that you’re right there with them.
Emails are wonderful. You can do so much with them.
You can automate them. Put them in a campaign sequence. Use them to nurture your list. Make offers in them. Make people feel seen, this will help you engage with isolated people.
Emails are the letters of the modern age and they have the potential to have the same effect if written to benefit the receiver.
The beauty of emails is the level of personalisation.
A personable approach makes an email bespoke and it makes people feel special. When people feel special they feel connected and when they feel connected, they feel less isolated.
The other benefit of emails is the regularity of communication because we don’t have to rely on snail mail to get correspondence from A to B. We have the luxury of instant messaging with emails which means we can be there to offer support, guidance and kindness at the drop of a hat!
Email marketing is defined as pretty much anything you send to a potential customer but there is a big difference between reassurance and pushing your product. Here we’re talking about engagement.
We want them to open your emails because they make them feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. You want them to feel that they can trust you and your business. Ultimately the goal is stronger relationships because humans are social creatures as we’ve said.
Here are some ways you can add value to your customers;
- Distract them. Send them a video of a sock puppet munching cars.
- Be honest with them. Everyone is in a tough spot and you want them to know you’re there for them.
This email from Bupa informs, supports and reassures brilliantly
- Be kind. Offer what you can. If you’re a greengrocer who can spare some stock, make boxes for the families who can’t do their weekly shop.
- Talk about the future. No one wants another Covid19 email.
- Give them actionable advice for right now. Are you a small family business? Offer entertainment solutions for kids. Are you a chef? Create some affordable meal options with easy to get ingredients.
- Remind them consistently that they are not alone. Nobody likes to be alone.
Freeprints are offering free cards to help loved ones feel less alone
- Share enlightening stories of people coming together to get through the pandemic.
- Run competitions, get them involved and get their heads off the anxiety track
These are just some ideas to get your customers connecting with you, building stronger relationships and increasing engagement.
So many businesses rely heavily on face to face meetings.
We get it. Face to face gives you that exclusive contact that not much else can rival...or can it?
We are precariously wobbling on a line that most of us never thought we would be familiar with and yet here we are. Creativity is going to be such a strong driver to push us through so get creative.
There is no reason you can’t invite someone for a cup of coffee and each make a cuppa and have it via video conference on one of the multiple platforms available.
Don’t miss out on better nonverbal understanding just because social isolation dictates we can’t be in the same room together.
The human race has travelled to the moon, transplanted hearts, created artificial intelligence and can operate on foetuses in utero…
We can lessen feelings of isolation by having virtual coffees, conference call meetings and online events.
We can engage with each other on multiple platforms globally without ever leaving the comfort of our homes.
If anything we’ve evolved.
Plus we’re giving the poor earth a break from our exhaust fumes.
Antoni from Queer Eye is leading regular cooking classes on Instagram to keep spirits up. A virtual cooking class for the entire world. That’s pretty cool.
Twitch and his beautiful wife Alison are doing dance exercises classes you can attend…
Jameela Jamil’s inclusive platform ‘I Weigh’ is reminding people to care for their mental health as much as their physical health.
In many ways we have built a stronger sense of community through our experiences and a large majority of people are interacting, bonding and sharing resources.
Remember engagement is important for people because we’re social but it’s also important for your business to maintain momentum. Engaging when isolated keeps us connected regardless of physical distance.
Providing value to your customers (or better yet your community) will cultivate healthy engagement even in the face of isolation.
Here’s a free engage playbook that you can work through which will help you recenter your engagement strategy for your prospects in the here and now.
Download Free Playbook
The Engage playbook was created to guide your engagement strategy. It will help you overhaul how you communicate with your list and improve how your prospects interact with your business.
Reach out to your list and to new prospects.
This matters more now than it does in times of success.
We’re here to help you adapt your strategy and we’re offering Marketing Therapy Sessions with zero obligations, so book a call and let’s plan your business’ future.
This matters now more than ever. We want your business’ success to shine bright like a diamond.