( Photo courtesy DMA Solutions )

Two months ago if you would’ve told me that we’d be in a full-blown pandemic by spring, I wouldn’t have believed you. Turns out, a public health crisis equates to a significant increase in demand for things like food that we — at one time or another — have taken for granted until now.

For food companies, now is the time to be there for the consumers you’ve worked to earn relationships with while they are at home, cooking and spending a significant amount of time on their phones. 

Prior to this virus, smartphone activities like surfing the web for news, engaging in social media and purchasing products and services were already on the rise. In fact, according to Datareportal, the total number of active social media users in January 2020 was 3.8 billion, a 9.2% increase over 2019.  

As brands seek to be seen — and let’s face it, sought after — now is a great time for fresh food companies to simply be present to educate, inspire and provide customer service to people seeking information about the products you grow and sell. 

Here are five steps DMA Solutions recommends companies take, if you haven’t already, to adapt your online presence and position your brand effectively.

Adapt your messaging: Take a look at your online media assets and assess how your current messaging could be coming across to your audiences. Is it helpful? Is it empathetic to our current situation? Work with your team to decide how you want to be perceived during this time and put pen to paper.

Update your website: Once your messaging is finalized, update your website with the messages you outlinedabove. Updating a website is an effective and low-cost way to amplify key messages that you want your audience to know right now.

Be fully present on social media: Posting content is one thing, but being fully present on social media means posing and answering questions that will help your communities better understand how your products integrate with their lives right now. Squashing misinformation about the virus and its impact on fresh food is important as well! We want people to be fueled by our products, not frightened.

Measure what’s working: Set benchmarks and measure your analytics weekly to determine what is and isn’t working. Keep doing what works and make note for future content/messaging that may be helpful to your growing communities and website visitors.

Dive into LinkedIn: If connection from a B2B perspective is what your company needs most right now, take time to put the right people from your team on LinkedIn to keep a pulse on industry hot topics and monitor what people are saying. Take time to engage with your customers and suppliers to show them that you’re here.

Now is a time to learn, innovate and take a chance on new behaviors, fine tuning best practices and creating connections that seemed less important prior to March than they are today. Take time to notice consumers, listen to them and react to them with helpful, timely and thoughtful responses. Remember to stay empathetic to the realities of the virus as they unfold. 

Two months from now, I hope we reflect on these days as the ones where we learned to use our marketing assets in a way that strengthened us and helped our customers and consumers stay informed, inspired and trusting us more than they did a few short months ago.

Megan Zweig is vice president of Dallas-based agency DMA Solutions.

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