Five Digital Tips for Small Businesses During COVID-1924 Apr, 2020 4 minutes
With most parts of the world still getting to grips with lockdown life, and little indication as to how long this will continue, we wanted to try to add some value in a space we know well - the world of digital and how to harness it.
Having trained thousands of businesses both big and small, this piece is dedicated to providing those smaller, perhaps less digitally-native companies with some digital know-how, who might appreciate a few highly actionable tips and tools they could be making use of during these uncertain times.
Make your presence known
Possibly one of the most obvious places to start, but equally one of the most important. Any clarity you can provide when it comes to your business status, or changes to operations, will be both appreciated and expected by your customers during these Corona times. The most effective way to do this is to ensure your ‘My Business page’ on Google and Facebook is up to date. Any updates made on Google will appear in both Search and Maps; from updated opening hours and operations, to any new services (e.g. home or local delivery) you are now offering
Beyond these updates, why not start taking advantage of Google Posts (also part of Google My Business)? More of a social media-type format, these posts will appear as and when people search for your business, and are ideal for promoting special offers, giveaways, events or any new content.
Finally, talking of social media, for the small businesses out there getting inundated with messages from concerned or curious customers, now is a great time to adopt automated responses on your Facebook business page. Simply upload your FAQs, so you can increase and manage the volume of messages while keeping your customers happy
Stay on top of relevant trends
Create content that’ll be seen
Connect with your community
Rally support for your business
Consider this; there are 3 billion Google searches every day, and 20% of these are new queries that are completely unique. Free tools like Google Trends, Google Alerts and Answer The Public can give you access to relevant search behaviour for your category, and connect you to the needs of your existing customers and prospects at this time. These insights will allow you to explore the opportunities out there, based on search data, and identify whether you can add value - from promoting relevant products or solutions to sharing helpful content. Use these tools as your inspiration to create more impactful content that will peak the interests of your audience. To be as effective as possible, make sure your content references the specific terms or phrases that are trending in search.
Arguably less of a ‘quick win’, but hopefully a valuable tip nonetheless, is to use this time to develop content that exemplifies your passion for your business, whilst showcasing your knowledge and expertise. Creating your own content will result in two key things for your business over the mid-longer term; (1) help establish you as a trusted source of authority in your industry and (2) drive search visibility of your business as a result.
Google essentially judges the existing content on your site and how well it connects with your audience based on their search habits. Google created a concept known as EAT (Expertise, Authority and Trust) as a way of evaluating content. One way to increase your EAT is to develop good quality content that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise in a subject. Think blogs, how-to-guides, top tips, and video tutorials - anything that is going to be valuable and insightful. Take the time now to be creative based on these principles, in order to win in the long term. After all, we are what we EAT.
Perhaps now is one of the best moments to ask yourself what role your business plays in your local community and how it can continue to do so, particularly during these testing times. Still one of the most efficient and simple ways to connect with what’s happening around you is via local groups on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. By joining these groups you can keep an ear to the ground on how your community is being affected, before assessing what positive impact you can have as a business to help your local community and their needs.
Consider if there are more creative ways of playing your part. This might mean joining forces with other local businesses to provide special bundles whilst creating new purchase opportunities for your business. Social channels not only provide a means to discovering these needs, but also act as the perfect channel to share and promote your services within the community.
Even if operations have been paused, don’t be afraid to offer up ways your more loyal customers can continue to support you. During this challenging time, people are keen to show their support, especially for the businesses that they care about.
Such support might include getting some of your recent customers to write reviews or rate your business and services online. In addition to this, you could try Facebook’s new Gift Card system designed for small businesses, which can be used for deliveries or future purchases. There are also a number of small business grants available from Facebook and Google, that can provide support with a number of matters. These grants will cover things from rent costs and paying staff, to connecting with customers by offering advertising credit.