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It’s no novel statement that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced all kinds of businesses – large and small – to adapt, adjust, and even entirely re-invent themselves in light of the situation. In the most extreme and unfortunate situations, some businesses have even been forced to shutter their windows forever due to the virus.

In these extraordinary times, it seems that nothing is ‘business as usual.’

As we remain sheltered in place and physically distanced from one another, we’ve increasingly begun to rely on our digital networks to stay connected. Weekly zoom calls with friends, FaceTime videos, texts, and emails are our primary sources of keeping in touch with our loved ones.

From a business standpoint, the worldwide coronavirus epidemic has also pushed businesses to reevaluate the best ways to stay connected and communicate with their customers.

As a small business owner, now more than ever it is vital that you work on building your online presence as a way to maintain your connection with your customers. Your business can thrive amidst social distancing orders by moving to the digital landscape.

A robust online presence is now a necessity.

Now can be a great opportunity to build upon your online presence if you already have one, and get started on building one if you don’t. Here are a few tips to get you started with engaging with customers, making revenue, improving communication with your own workers, and keeping your business alive – during this pandemic, and after.

Don’t ignore your SEO.

It can be tempting to slash marketing expenses in the midst of a crisis – you’re probably looking to cut costs due to changes in operating your business, and marketing may not seem essential right now. However, a strong search presence might be just what your business needs at this time.

Over 40,000 Google searches are submitted each second, and people are more online than ever before, with most people staying at home instead of shopping in brick and mortar stores. During economic downturns, SEO is always a smart investment. It doesn’t have an on/off switch like traditional paid media campaigns, helping you maintain brand visibility and driving conversions long term.

Update your Google my Business with a COVID-19 post.

It’s important to let your customers know that your business is still operating during the pandemic. With a post on Google My Business, you can engage with your customers by providing them with important information on how to contact you, what services you’re providing if your operation has changed, and what precautions you are taking to make sure that your business is functioning safely to reassure your customer base.
In fact, Google has recently added a feature where you can easily add a COVID-19 update. You can tweak your Hours, Services, Posts, and Business Description to accommodate the new conditions brought on by the virus. By updating your GMB listing, you can easily communicate to your customers that you’re still available to them, and stand out among the competition!

Learn more here on how you can fully optimize your Google my Business listing.

Create a FAQ page on your website.

It might be a good idea to include a Frequently Asked Questions page on your website to answer common questions about your business during the pandemic. For example, some questions you might include are ‘Are you delivering right now?’ if you are in the food services industry, or ‘What are your operating hours?’

It also is a good opportunity to answer questions regarding safety, changes in your offerings, or expected order fulfillment delays. If you are an e-commerce site, a FAQ page can be a place where you can reassure your customers that you are still fulfilling orders, but they might experience shipping delays due to COVID-19.

Offer Virtual Consultations and Events.

The COVID-19 virus has forced all businesses to cancel or delay customer gatherings, seminars, conferences and other large events due to social distancing. In lieu of meeting in person, many businesses have opted for virtual events to keep their customers engaged and maintain a connection with their base even through the crisis.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is offering a guided online tour, the American rock band the Grateful Dead offers livestreams of concerts every Saturday night, and local Novato wine tasting room Mantra Wines provides live Music concerts streamed from their tasting room on Facebook Live. You can employ similar tactics to keep customers engaged with your brand by hosting live webinars, events, and providing virtual consultations over Zoom all in accordance with social distancing.

You can also transition to offering your services online. If you are a piano teacher, perhaps you can provide lessons over Zoom, or livestream lessons as a fitness instructor. Facebook Live and Instagram Live can serve as great tools at your disposal during this time!

Nothing can truly replace meeting in-person, but it’s necessary to rethink your approach to business gatherings amid COVID-19. Most meetings will pick back up again once the social distancing order is lifted, but other events, especially large ones, may not go back to normal once the quarantine is lifted due to traveling complications. That’s why it’s worth it to consider virtual solutions for a long term strategy.

Create a Social Media Account (Or Revitalize it, If you already Have One).

In this day and age, a social media account is almost essential to running a competitive business in our digitally connected world, virus or not. If you haven’t already, you can easily and cheaply establish a digital presence with a free Facebook Page, an Instagram Business Account, or Twitter page.

Social media is a great way to build your brand identity and inform customers of your operating details during the pandemic. With no option to communicate with your customers face to face, social media can serve as a proxy for how you might provide quality customer service in-store.

Now might also be a good time to create new content on your Instagram page or Facebook page if you’ve been neglecting it. Offering free resources on your page to help your customers face the crisis can be a great way to communicate that you’re here to support and embrace the communal logic of social media during the COVID-19 crisis.

Not sure where to start? We’re here to help.

We want to help support local businesses during this challenging time. Contact us if you aren’t sure where to begin with building your online presence. Click here for a free consultation today.

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