Staying Social While Social Distancing
How's everyone doing out there? We are one weekend down from the state-wide stay-at-home order, and for social butterflies like us (we miss networking and connecting with you all), this part has been TOUGH. Tough to close our doors, tough to work remotely, tough to not be walking door to door to have conversations with our members. But while we understand this is the most impactful way to flatten the curve and hinder the spread of the Coronavirus, we wanted to put together some tips for our Small Business members and owners in our community at how to market your product during these uncertain times.
Before we begin, we would also like to remind our members that no matter what you do, you are essential to us. We understand that the government has to classify businesses by essential and non-essential for clarification on who can remain open. However, the Lodi District Chamber of Commerce is aware that all businesses are essential to our community. A healthy and strong business community is a reflection of our community in its entirety. Without all of you, our local economy would stall- as clearly evident by these last few days. The time to support local has never been more crucial- we implore you all to find a local business and help them if you are able.
Staying Social While Social Distancing: A Small Business Marketing Guide during COVID-19:
- Stay Social- and by social, we mean social media. We know most of you already have dedicated business accounts for your places of business on Facebook and Instagram, but if you do NOT, this is the time to invest in yourself and figure out how to make these business accounts. It means more for your brand to have your company post what services you have or how you are needing assistance during COVID-19 versus a personal account. Need assistance in that area? Our Director of Communications Elisa Bubak will be happy to jump on a call or you can reach her at EBubak@LodiChamber.com.
- Live Videos- Facebook & Instagram both have live video features. You can take advantage of this to directly connect with your followers. They will receive a notification once you go live and can choose to tune in. Make your live story less than 3 minutes and keep it full of good content. If you're a retail store, use this time to showcase your products for sale and let followers know your price. They can claim the items by commenting or sending a direct message to you. It's a way to track your followers and still garnish venue during this down time. If you are not selling items and are wanting to promote your business or just to stay in touch with your followers, keep your missives brief and genuine. Explain how social distancing and being closed is taking a toll and offer your followers a way to help you during this time.
- Post to Stories- Instagram stories are an effective tool at getting information across to your followers. Insights have proven that these 10-15 second bits of information are easily digestible for followers. Be sure to add a "Call to Action" in your stories, whether its a comment box, sharing your post to your stories to get more people engaged on the photos, etc. Again, if you have any questions on the functionality of stories and how to make them effective, email Elisa Bubak at EBubak@LodiChamber.com.
- ABC Allows To-Go Alcohol- this is joyful news to our local restaurants! Because of the statewide stay-at-home mandate, the ABC have loosened their policies surrounding alcohol to go. If you are wanting people to order dinner or a meal to go from your establishment, post images of what wine or beer (or even cocktails) available. Maybe there is a deal to be had? Buy dinner for four, get a bottle of wine at a discount? Or follow West Oak Nosh's example and put together mimosa packs for quarantine brunch. Any way to take advantage of this lax law!
- Partner with other businesses- if you partner with fellow small businesses in the area, work with them NOW via social media. Share each other's posts, offer deals if people frequent your partnered business, or showcase your business supporting theirs. These feel-good social stories are NEEDED on people's social media feeds; a break from the monotony.
- Follow State & City mandates- this is a hard one for us, but one of the most important. FOLLOW the mandates from the Governor, State, and Local government agencies. If you are not an "essential" business- as defined by the Governor's order here-, please close. Do not post that you are open and try to get people in your doors. You are opening yourself up for liability, fines, and bad press. The old adage of "all press is good press" is untrue in times like these. Protect yourself and protect your brand for after the COVID-19 pandemic. We're all in this together and can make it through.
- Get Creative with Creative- there are numerous sites to help small business owners design and publish good graphics and creative. And in times like these, you need to make your posts stand out. Gone are the days that a status update will be seen by all your followers. Facebook's algorithms look for video, photos, and animated posts to put at the top. The Chamber uses Canva Pro, but there are many in the industry like: Snappa and Stencil.