Social media presence during COVID-19 is more critical than ever right now. With everyone moving from working in the office to at home, the use of desktops and laptops has increased drastically. Along with everyone else being laid off and stuck inside, online usage is more than ever. With more than 3 billion people using social media around the world and with screen time increasing, these people are engaging more and more with businesses and brands.
People are looking to purchase everything online or looking for the best option for hairdressers, tattoo artists, gardeners, renovators, and more, once the self-isolating has ended and we can explore our options outside the home once more.
Acknowledging how lucky we are to be able to be working in a digital world, we will realize this surge in online usage is where it’s time for businesses to shine. If you aren’t taking advantage you are missing out on a fast, inexpensive tool to reach half the world’s population.
Businesses are changing how they are marketing by using the web to their advantage.
Many small businesses have begun adapting to the only way people can shop right now, online. This is especially true for non-essential businesses whose storefronts are not open. Many businesses are even starting to use online ordering and apps to allow people to continue buying the products they love without leaving the house.
The best way to get started with selling your products online is to use eCommerce. eCommerce is the action of electronically buying and selling products online. If you are a small -medium size business with this already set up in some way, you are ahead of the curve.
In case you haven’t set up any way to sell your products or services online yet, it is something you should be looking into now. If this overwhelms you, seek out a company like Ullaco Corp to set this function up for you.
If you have a debit/credit terminal, the simplest solution is to take orders over the phone and process the payment manually. You can offer mail, delivery, or curbside pickup. Another option would be to set up a PayPal account or use e-transfer to accept payment more efficiently.
Another easy option for you if your website is built through WordPress, (which is one of the ways we develop websites at Ullaco), is that WordPress offers a WooCommerce plugin for setting up online shopping with PayPal as a built-in payment option. It allows easy setup of flat rate or free shipping and local pickup options. WooCommerce automatically sends order confirmation emails to both owner and customer and even supports the creation of discount coupons.
For businesses that already use eCommerce and online shopping, there are other ways to make buying your products even more approachable. One example is Calgary’s Lukes Drug Mart in Bridgeland and Killarney. They’ve now created a mobile app for coffee and soft-serve ice cream on the go. You can pay online through your phone and get curbside pick up without having to wait around or touch a pin pad. These types of businesses, though already doing well, have adapted even more to the online climate forced on us during COVID-19.
Businesses need to adapt to this online technology in such dire times in order to keep their business afloat and keep their products moving.
Many smaller community-based businesses are using their notoriety to get information out to the public. Since businesses are already on social media platforms and have a following, they are able to get important news out to their community.
By doing this, it humanizes your brand and shows how much you care about your customers.
There is never a reason to let your customer service falter. Just because times are tough is no excuse to abandon your post, leaving your social media channels empty and questions unanswered. This is the time you should be putting more out there to let people know everything may be different, but it will be alright.
Social media allows you to keep your loyal customers up to date with everything that is going on with your business during COVID-19. Staying connected is one of the most beneficial things any smaller scale business can do right now. Whether your business is an essential or non-essential service, you want to be able to provide accurate information, so customers know how they can continue to purchase from you.
Important information to include would be;
- Changes of operation hours
- Take away service options
- Delivery options
- Shipping options
- Curbside pickup options
- All of the above
It’s also essential to concentrate on what your company is doing to be able to help out the community at this time. Maybe it’s offering free shipping or delivery, discounted prices, or making free bag lunches for kids who can’t be in school now that are in need. You have to let people know about possible support opportunities you’re offering and how they can get in touch with your business. This way you can keep doing what you do best!
Making sure to support other businesses is a great way to utilize your social media to survive the current economic state. It’s all about supporting each other. It’s the perfect time to use social media to highlight what other businesses in the community have to offer in this time of need. Whether they are doing free meals for those in need, producing homemade masks to sell to the public to ensure the medical-grade masks don’t run out for those working the front line.
It’s also good to highlight other small businesses around you so they can continue to thrive alongside you. Your neighbours and other community businesses are also struggling right now, so shift some of your support over to them. If your clothing boutique is beside a coffee shop or restaurant that is still open for business, doing take-outs and delivery, let that be known so others can enjoy their meals just as much as you do.
It’s all about supporting each other and strengthening the community.
Make your customers and followers feel like you have answers that those big companies can’t provide. It is these types of personal added touches that will keep your smaller business alive in a time of crisis such as this.
A local Calgary business, Tigerstedt Flea, located in Crescent Heights, has been posting so much useful information to their website, Instagram and Facebook page since the outbreak. They have gained even more love and admiration from their community and supporters. They’ve been posting tips about applying to the CERB employment benefits, tips on doing taxes during the crisis, and promoting all of their business neighbours products and restaurants. They were even making slime kits with free curbside pickup for kids and adults during the Easter holiday.
Sharing helpful and relevant information to your community goes beyond marketing. Make it known that you genuinely care. Your customers are valuable; they are the only reason you are in business. By updating your social media with news articles and government PSA’s on what is occurring can really help the community. By explaining how you can get things like financial support, you are keeping your community educated for those that don’t pay attention to the news regularly and helping people feel safe. It will help ease panic when they know there is a lot of support going around.
DO NOT use this time to exploit COVID-19 shamelessly by using people’s vulnerabilities and fear to promote your own gain. Instead, be a helper and a leader.
This is the perfect time to have an excellent online presence and to contribute to society. Social media is powerful, so take advantage of it, use your voice in this chaos to help. Unite with others and recognize there is more to do than just promote your business. It is all about being able to create positive change in people’s day-to-day lives. We’re in this together!
To get your business moving in the right direction during this time of crisis, our team at Ullaco Corp. is here for you. We understand it’s tough out there, but we want to help you thrive. In addition to a strategic marketing plan and help in building your business’ brand and product awareness, we also offer cloud-computing, custom website development, and e-commerce. We have everything you need to get your business ready for the new online market. Contact us to get started today.