How Can Small Businesses Respond to Crisis?
We’re living in interesting times to say the least, and now more than ever it’s important to support small, local businesses. Small businesses with limited resources must take measures to inform their customers and the public about their policies, hours and changes during times like these. How can they stay current and communicate quickly with customers?
Google My Business
According to Search Engine Journal, Google My Business is the single most important marketing tool for small businesses. It allows business owners to take control of their online presence with information about hours and location. Though it seems low on the to-do list during crisis mode, updating your hours or noting a temporary change of operations can help those doing online searches for businesses like yours. For example, many grocery stores have updated their hours temporarily to 7am to 8pm. While maybe restocking toilet paper is top priority, changing your hours online should be up there so anyone looking for “grocery stores near me” can note when they can stop inside.
Social Media Updates
Even if you are not open for business, or if your operations have moved entirely online, staying abreast of social media will keep your followers up to date. Quick, in-the-moment updates through Twitter or Facebook will not only allow your followers to stay informed, but also allow future customers and followers to understand where they can support you now. Breweries, for example, have been closing their bars, but offering online or phone orders for roadside pick-up. These updates will give new and old customers some foresight into how they can support you if they are not on your email list. Be sure your message across all platforms is the same, and be available to answer inquiries whenever possible.
If you subscribed to any newsletter or left an email address with any company, it’s likely you received an email regarding their response to COVID-19. For restaurants, for example, it probably included some information about health standards and a shift towards takeout and delivery only. If it is a brick and mortar business, it probably included amended store hours and a shift to online shopping (maybe even a sale to encourage a purchase). If your business routinely sends out a newsletter, this would be the perfect place to inform customers about any shifts in business operations. Since emails offer more characters than social posts, this is a good place to include any official policies or statements.
So keep your customers informed, encourage them to support local businesses if and when possible and make sure to since Happy Birthday at least once while washing your hands with soap and warm water.