The world is reeling from the effects of coronavirus right now. People are anxious, healthcare systems are overloaded, and cities in quarantine have turned into ghost towns.
The spread of COVID-19 affects the economy, too. The Dow Jones recently experienced its single worst one-day fall, losing 1,190 points in 24 hours.
But we’re not here to talk about the stock exchange or corporate America. Our people have always been entrepreneurs, marketers, and small business owners.
And for many small businesses, it’s definitely not business as usual.
Some are being forced to close their doors, others are moving their business online, and many are stuck in limbo wondering what’s going to happen.
No matter which of these positions you’ve found yourself in, one thing is clear:
It has never been more important to maintain your online presence.
Now is not the time to go dark. With many people across the globe in isolation, they’re turning to social media networks to entertain themselves and stay connected. They want to support their favorite local businesses in these tough times, and they’ll do what they can, but business owners have to meet them halfway by staying connected.
In this post, we’ll take a look at why it’s important to maintain an online presence for your business, then dive into five tactical ideas for you to stay connected with your online audiences.
Why it’s important to maintain an online presence
I ordered some takeaway from my favorite bar last Friday. When I went to pick it up, I got to chatting with the owner as I waited. He was trying to crack jokes and maintain a sense of normalcy, but I could tell he’d been crying and was distraught. He couldn’t afford to pay his normal waitstaff, was working long hours with no pay, and was concerned about the future of his restaurant.
I grabbed my food and a cocktail to go (legal for the time being) and went home. I immediately snapped a couple of foodie photos, tagged his bar’s account, and posted it to Instagram.
A few minutes later, one of my friends inquired about their food. I sent her to his Instagram account, which had content from that day with their chalkboard of specials, a video of their chef explaining one of his dishes, and some inspirational quotes. My friend bought some takeaway and repeated my process.
The lesson here is that the bar owner put himself in a good position to increase his takeaway orders by continually posting content to his social feeds.
In the age of social media and online ordering, a restaurant Instagram account that hasn’t been updated in several days is a really bad sign to anybody browsing for dinner. Most people won’t do the extra digging to find out what the hours are, if the menu has changed, etc. Business must keep their online presence accurate and up to date, now more than ever.
But it’s not just bars and restaurants that need to keep their website and social accounts active during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every business needs to be thinking about how to keep their social presence strong during this time.
Check out our free topicial coronavirus video templates to share with your audience.
5 actionable ways to keep your business present online
Here are some tactics for keeping your social feeds active and vibrant.
1. Adjust your content and schedule
It had to be said. Obviously, things are very different than they were even just two weeks ago. With quarantine and shelter-in-place orders in effect, consumers have different needs today.
Take a few minutes to audit what you may already have had planned—your social feeds, your email newsletter, and blog calendar. Make sure that the content you’re putting out now is relevant to the current situation of your customers and adjust as needed.
Be especially careful of content that may come off as tone-deaf at this time.
2. Enhance your content
If you find yourself with a bit of extra time during COVID-19 quarantine, this is a great opportunity to audit your content. Look for weaknesses that you can shore up, successes that you can build on, and examples of other brands who are getting engagement.
Luckily, there are some free ways to do this.
The Facebook Insights tool can give you data on what posts received the most engagement. Look for any trends that pop up over time. Do videos perform better than images? Are there any topics that seem more viral than others?
Google Analytics can show you the most popular pages and/or blog posts on your site. Find a top-performing blog post and consider writing a spin-off or creating a series around the topic.
Crack open your email marketing tool and look at your open and click rates. Any emails with an open rate of less than 20% could likely use some work on their subject lines. Make sure that each email has your CTA linked three times.
We also created COVID-19 Small Business Support Hub with free marketing tools to help keep your business present online.
3. Create videos
Video marketing is important year-round for your business, and now is the time to plan, record, and edit the video content you need. If you’re wondering what types of videos you should be making, we have a guide to the six types of videos every company needs here.
Next, you’ll need to bring your ideas to life with footage, editing, music, and animations. Luckily, this is easily done with Promo.com, and we even have a step-by-step guide to walk you through every detail of the process.
4. Go live
Don’t forget, polished marketing videos aren’t the only types of video content you can use to stay in front of your target audience.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube all have live streaming options, so you have plenty of choice in terms of which platform you’d like to broadcast on. Live videos tend to have high engagement rates on social media, and with more people on their laptops and phones conducting remote work, now is a great time to break into live streaming.
If you’re looking for ideas on what to stream, consider the following:
- Behind-the-scenes processes
- Company updates
Even though business may be slower than normal, now’s not the time to let your ad campaigns go dark. Because there are so many people browsing social media right now, CPMs are lower than normal, which allows your message to reach more people for less money.
Obviously, only spend what you can afford, and try to be as efficient as possible with your ad budgets. If you need help on the strategic, technical, or creative parts of any of the major advertising networks, you’re in luck!
- Revealed: The best practices for Facebook ads in 2020
- Instagram ads: The best practices for 2020
- Twitter Advertising: The Complete Guide
- YouTube ads best practices: 2020 and beyond
If you find yourself in the habit of waiting, it’s time to find a new habit.
These are tough times for everyone, but it’s no use just trying to wait it out. Get out and help people, improve yourself, or work on your business. We’re going to get through this, and how hard you work now will determine what shape your business is in on the other side.
Visit our COVID-19 Small Business Support Hub to get free resources for your business