Helping Your Vegan Business Survive in Uncertain Times: A Brief Guide to Effective Communication

I hesitated with this post, not wanting to feel slimy after seeing firsthand some companies/people talking about what an amazing opportunity this pandemic is for what they provide (yuck), but, at the same time, I felt this topic was important.

In general, vegan businesses are hard to come by, and I think I speak on behalf of vegans worldwide when I say we want to see these businesses – whether they are restaurants, clothing brands, beauty brands, or anything else – survive and thrive.

Recently, I wrote a post offering social media tips for vegan businesses, and all of those tips still stand. However, now more than ever, small and local businesses – vegan and otherwise – must stay in communication with their patrons and social media followers.

It might be especially hard – after all, who wants to get on social media when there seems to be a never-ending stream of bad news (or at least…not good news)? But it’s a necessary tool for your business at a time like this.

Keep your followers and patrons in the loop

With so much uncertainty and anxiety, people want to stay home as much as possible, which is totally valid (not to mention smart and highly recommended). But your businesses probably can’t just…stop; otherwise, you would be in trouble.

So keep your patrons and followers updated. Post as regularly as you can across your social media channels and try to answer some specific questions:

How can your followers support you?

Are you a brick and mortar store or are you completely online? If you do have a physical location, is there any way people can support and purchase from you online or by phone? You likely have a group of loyal supporters, but if you don’t tell them how to help you during this time, they won’t be able to.

Youngstown, OH’s Vegan Bazaar has faced this issue and is a perfect example of taking an in-person event and making it virtual. When coronavirus forced them to cancel the March 19 market, they came up with a solution: the Bizarre Bazaar! This virtual event will largely take place on their Instagram story during the same time as their original plan, allowing patrons the option to participate in the market and support their favorite vegan-friendly companies without the crowd.

Are you still open for deliveries/pick-up? Are your hours the same?

By now, most (if not all) states have placed restrictions on any gatherings, which obviously impacts a lot of businesses. Restaurants, for example, are closed, while still allowing patrons to order delivery or carry-out. Lots of businesses are changing their hours to accommodate their staff and customers during this strange time. Some are even closing completely until further notice. Others have been forced to cancel or postpone their events.

It’s a completely new territory, but you want to keep your patrons informed, especially if you are a business suffering from current restrictions.

How are you keeping your space and team members safe?

Have you implemented special polices to ensure the safety of your team and customers?

At this point, I think we have all received an email from at least one company who, at some point, we have given our email addresses, discussing their policies and procedures for COVID-19. These emails seem tedious and redundant, but they are important.

Don’t you want to know that the brands and businesses you give money to are doing the right thing for their customers and employees? This transparency builds a level of trust, which will make your followers and customers more comfortable purchasing from and supporting you during this time.

Stay Positive

It’s easy to get bogged down with stress, given the situation. It’s also easy to get (and remain in) a bad mood.

But you don’t want to share all things doom and gloom with your followers (unless that’s your brand, of course!).

You’re not the only one who is anxious – your customers are too. So why not try to be a beacon of light and hope for them?

So what you can you do? Here are some suggestions:

  • Create some graphics with inspirational and uplifting quotes. You don’t have to be a graphic designer either! Free resources like Adobe Spark and Canva will go a long way.
  • If you aren’t comfortable making your own, repost from some of your favorite accounts (but don’t forget to give credit!). This can be a cute animal video from The Dodo or just a funny vegan meme.
  • Feature a member of your team. Show your team some love and let your followers shower them with love too!
  • Keep things light and share a meme! We all need a reprieve from the constant stream of heavy information. Share something funny with your followers to lighten the mood.

Arm the Animals, a clothing brand creating apparel that raises awareness and funds for animal rescues, has been keeping their Instagram feed light, posting a variety of cute animal photos and videos, in addition to some funny memes.

Share (or Ask for) Useful Advice

Sure, we’ve probably all heard the same advice, over and over: 1) wash your hands for 20 seconds; 2) don’t touch your face; 3) stay home if you’re sick; 4) practice social distancing; and so on.

But it doesn’t hurt to be reminded.

Share official advice from the CDC or WHO, but not in a way to increase panic. Reassure your followers that you are taking all of the necessary precautions and following the same advice.

You can get creative with this too. Make (or re-share) a video demonstrating proper

Alternatively, ask your followers and patrons for advice. Find out what works best for them during this situation too. Do they have any suggestions that you could implement?

Green Street Food Truck, a vegan and gluten-free food truck on Long Island, called on their Instagram followers for input and feedback. They took suggestions and concerns into consideration when they updated their followers on what they planned to do next.

If social media and copywriting isn’t your thing, that’s totally fine! You might want to consider working with a writer to help you with all of this. I can work with you on your website, blog, and social media messaging at this time.

We all want to support you. You just need to let us know how.

In the meantime, stay healthy, stay safe, and be kind to yourself and to others.

Psst…are you a vegan brand/business? Are you in need of a writer who can capture your brand’s voice and create content sure to resonate with your audience? If you answered “yes,” let’s talk! I’ll help you reach your ideal audience through the power of words.

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