Social Media & Small Businesses During The Time Of COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the consequent lockdown, millions of businesses across the United States have been forced to either operate in a limited capacity or shut down altogether. During these trying times, many business owners have been left wondering what they should be doing while their businesses are in a state of limbo. Small business owners, in particular, have found themselves in a tough spot, as they are often more reliant only their businesses for basic income. 

For a small business owner who is looking to stay afloat, spending time on social media probably doesn’t seem like a high priority. But with much uncertainty about what is going on in the world, the instantaneous nature of social media makes it a vital tool for keeping stakeholders and clients informed. Plus, with so many people staying at home, a lot of them will be turning to social media more than ever before, making them a captive audience for your digital content. Rather than focus on the parts of your business that have slowed down due to the outbreak, now is the time to use the tools available to you to stay on people’s radar. 

Keep Your Clients Informed

The most important you can do right now with your social media accounts is to make sure that everyone understands your current situation. This includes whether your business is still active, along with any temporary changes you’ve had to make during the pandemic. No matter how heavily you’ve been affected by COVID-19, both regular and new customers should be able to quickly find out if your business open, how they’ve adapted to social distancing requirements, and what products or services are currently available. Even if you are completely shut down, people should be able to find that information quickly; it is highly recommended you pin a post on your Facebook, along with any other social media platforms you regularly use. These posts should include any relevant information on your current business operations, including links to any of your services that are still active. 

Take Advantage Of Your Most Popular Platforms 

With the near-complete disappearance of channels related to live events and conferences, along with numerous barriers to face-to-face business, many companies are almost entirely reliant on their digital strategies if they want to reach customers and build their brand.  Even if you have limited business operations right now, reach out to regular customers to see how they are doing. This gives you the opportunity to contact people who need some help, building connections through empathy and compassion. You can also create content that is relevant to your target base, whether it be informative resources for professionals who are struggling right now or just fun content to get people’s minds off the virus. Both are valuable and go a long way towards building relationships that can lead to sales, whether now or in the future. 

Halt Campaigns That Aren’t Viable Right Now

Though there are many opportunities to use social media to reach out and connect with both current clients and potential customers, not some of the marketing you had planned out at the beginning of the year isn’t going to be viable due to the effects of COVID-19. Maybe you had a successful email campaign that was promoting new services that are on hold, or perhaps you had planned to hold a contest or giveaway that just isn’t doable right now. Either way, you need to make sure that you aren’t sending out content that doesn’t match up with your current situation. Not only can this send mixed signals to your clients, but it’s a waste of material that could be more useful in the future.

Be Mindful of Your Tone 

It’s important to remember that these are very stressful and potentially scary times for your clients and stakeholders and that you need to be mindful of this when you are writing content. You should be honest and transparent about how the virus has affected your business and those around you, but this should not come at the expense of being cynical or overly gloomy. Aim for a level of hopefulness and a tone that expresses the importance of communicating with and helping one another. This is the kind of message that builds connections with clients, not to mention keeps people feeling positive when things get tough. Your messaging will ultimately be a personal thing, but it should be tailored to provide both insight and comfort during this period of uncertainty. 

Plan For The Future 

It might be hard to believe right now, but there will be a point in the near future where COVID-19 will be a distant memory, and business will go back to normal. While you are implementing new strategies to make the most of your favored social media platform, take the time to streamline existing processes and strategize about what you are going to do when the outbreak is over. Obviously, there are certain elements that you cannot plan too far ahead with, as it will be difficult to tell when everyone will be back in business. Still, the last thing you want is to be caught flat-footed when the economy is up and running again. 

These are challenging times for business owners, but even if your regular operations are shut down, there is still the potential to reach out and connect with clients. By leveraging social media to your advantage, you can stay relevant to your customer base and build goodwill, which will pay off that much more when COVID-19 is just a distant memory.

Mark Buckner
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Mark Buckner is a freelance writer and editor from Hammond, Indiana. A recent graduate of Purdue University Northwest, he has edited two books and written on topics ranging from social media to science fiction film. At this time, he is open to other freelance writing and editing opportunities.

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