Running your business has changed drastically in the last few months. Just as we were starting off 2020 with new ideas and a fresh start, most of that came to a screeching halt in mid-March.
Everything was canceled and put on hold, including travel, events, surgery, and school. A major transition happened overnight, as employees were forced to work remotely from home. In an effort to keep things “normal” and survive, we continued to conduct business the best we could under the circumstances.
Who would have ever expected a virus to change everything we know about our lives? COVID-19 has brought forth a concern about our personal health and safety more than ever imagined. It has allowed us to pivot and figure out how to operate remotely. It’s been amazing to watch businesses change and reinvent themselves to accommodate their customers.
This has also increased the use of social media and shopping online. For businesses to be relevant, they need to make sure their customers can find them online and understand they are open for business. For example, when our restaurants closed for inside dining due to COVID-19, they were still able to offer curbside options. It was surprising to see how many of these businesses did not have their Facebook page or website updated with their new offerings. By making simple updates, it saves a lot of questions and helps them gain more business from customers who want to support them.
There are a few ways you can boost your business online presence, such as updating all your free listings and sharing your knowledge on social media to gain an audience. Neither one of these options costs you money – they simply take a little of your time, which will be a good investment. Another option is to update your website and make it more mobile-friendly. This will take more time and money to do.
Here are a few tips for you to think about doing today:
Online business listing
In addition to your Facebook Page, businesses need to focus on making sure they have an accurate online presence. Customers use internet searches and social media to learn about their options to shop. Businesses can find business listings on Google My Business and Yelp. That way, when someone does a Google search in your area for what you do, it will increase the chances that customers will find you. Then, start asking your customers to give you positive reviews. People read reviews to determine if they will work with you. Make sure that your hours, the best method of contacting you, and the link to your website can be easily found.
If you have a website, make sure that it has been updated and is easy for customers to find you! If you are selling products, make sure it’s easy for your customers to purchase your product. If you have been considering adding a shopping cart to your website, know that this is a huge undertaking of time and money. Before you head down this path, do your homework! When you add a shopping cart, make sure that the tools you select integrate with your financial software, and that you work with a reputable firm to get the job done right.
If you are overwhelmed with which social media outlets to cover, start with your customers and ask them where they are active. Focus on the platform that will put you in front of the people you serve. Next, you want to make sure they are all updated with your relevant contact information, products, and services, and provide a link back to your website. Once you have all your social media accounts set up and updated, the next step is to develop an online presence.
You can use Facebook as a way to drive traffic to your website easily without spending any advertising dollars. You’ll just spend time connecting with people who need your services. You can start with posting on your personal Facebook account and mentioning what your business does, and see if anyone comments. You may post something educational, such as this: “Did you know that you can accept credit cards without actually touching the customers’ card?” The conversation can continue below as a comment, or you can post the answer. This is an example of a way to engage your audience and gain their trust.
Write content to provide resources to your clients
Another way you can connect with your audience and enhance your business online is by writing a blog post, where you present an idea and explain how you can execute it. At the end of the article, you can say, “If you would like to hire us to help you with the solution, please contact us.” Then, provide your contact information. As you start to get similar questions from your customers, and you seem to repeat yourself over and over, this becomes an opportunity to write a blog article.
As businesses pivot and serve more online customers, it becomes critical to make sure you have an online presence that’s not just with a website, but on social media as well. The best way to see how you stack up is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes to see how easily you are found. Go Google your business and see what you find. Then, you can apply some of these suggestions to make improvements.
Editor’s note: Check out “Guide to using Facebook to build your practice,” a guide with articles written by Carrie Kahn and Sandi Levya.