At the end of March, when lockdown came into effect, my client list took a huge tumble from 32 to 13. Like many, my first reaction was panic and worry, which was heightened when I realised that, as a limited company, I was not entitled to any financial help or support from the government, apart from a loan, which was not a route I wanted to go down.
I then had to inform a couple of my team members, who are self-employed, that I did not have enough work to be able to continue using their services at the present time. This was not a good feeling as these people have become friends and they also have young families.
I sat down and reminded myself that I needed to look at the positives. I may have lost a lot of clients but I was very lucky to have retained 13, which would be enough to keep the wolves away from the door.
In the scheme of things, you might think that all is well but then I started to notice a backlash on social media coming from some people who had a lot to say about marketeers and dental practices who continued to use social media through lockdown. Some of the comments I saw included: ‘How dare they,’ ‘disgusting advertising while coronavirus is happening,’ ‘what are they thinking,’ plus much worse.
This made me begin to question myself, thinking that maybe I shouldn’t be providing my services at all. I am normally a confident person, especially when it comes to my work, so for me to have doubts is unusual. However, in addition to everything, I had also just been informed that my mum, who was battling with advanced dementia, was put on end of life care. This devastating news just exacerbated my uncertainties. A week later, she passed away. While this blog is not about loss, it is about feelings and understanding.
Opinions and their impact
I know that sometimes people will have opinions that differ to mine but I have always been able to appreciate this and accept that disagreeing is part of life. However, for a couple of weeks, I forgot this and started taking things too personally.
I questioned my every thought, I even deleted some statuses from my personal Facebook account in case I came in for criticism. Things were really starting to get to me… it was time to give myself a good talking to!
I re-iterated to myself that the work I was providing to my clients was the right thing to do, they wanted that service and I believed in it. While I wasn’t creating the content I usually provide I was instead keeping their followers and patients updated with useful information, such as whether the practice was open and if they could attend for emergency treatment.
As the weeks passed, we changed the tone of the posts to a more fun and motivating style. All my clients were amazing at getting involved in social media challenges that were springing up everywhere. It gave their followers/patients a real sense of the people behind the brand and the response was fantastic, all my clients’ platform insights went through the roof.
In addition, my clients and their teams had something positive to do and think about, they loved it, they said they felt closer as a team and found it fun at a difficult time. I loved receiving their ideas and collaborating with them to make it happen.
What I have learned
So here we are in September and things are changing still. New clients are starting to approach me, mainly practices that have not used social media marketing before but have seen the good things it did during the last few months.
Lockdown taught me that I need to continue to believe in myself and my thoughts, accept that others may disagree and even if they do it doesn’t mean I am wrong!
It also showed me that we all need to be more thoughtful of each other as we never really know what is going on behind the scenes. So please folks, if you can be anything, be understanding.