Local Business COVID-19 Online Presence Tips
With the coronavirus crisis dominating everything right now, an area that local businesses need to pay attention to is their brand’s online presence. In times like these, consumers are looking for current and accurate information on local businesses where they shop.
From their website to local listings, businesses should be closely monitoring and updating their online presence during this time. This means not only their basic contact information, but with any information that reflect any changes in operations due to the impacts of the crisis.
As the COVID-19 situation unfolds, conditions change by the minute. Government and health officials are updating the public frequently and businesses in turn need to do the same. This means updating their information where people are looking most – the internet.
To help guide businesses on where they should focus their attention online, we are sharing the following local business COVID-19 online presence tips.
Google My Business
At the top of the list for managing your online presence during the coronavirus outbreak is your Google My Business (GMB) listing. Your GMB local knowledge panel that shows up in search results is typically the first thing a customer sees when searching businesses online. It is critical that the information they find here be accurate. Be sure to review and update your hours of operations and contact information. Also, you can submit posts to update customers with more detail and mark your business as temporarily closed if necessary.
Note that some GMB features may be disabled during the crisis. Online reviews and Google Q&A are currently unavailable. Check Google’s GMB COVID-19 page for updates.
Local Business Listings
Another important resource that consumers use to find businesses are local online listings. Sources such as review sites, search engines, social media and online directory listings all play a role in connecting the public to local businesses. And, while you should always make sure your online listings are correct, it’s even more critical during the COVID-19 crisis.
Here are some recommendations on what information you should be updating across all your local listings during COVID-19.
- Update hours of operation
- Add special contact phone numbers, email
- Share brief posts to update customers
- Add specific updates in your business descriptions
- Update product / service delivery options
COVID-19 FAQs Page
If your business is in an industry that is significantly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, more might need to be done. Businesses may want to consider creating content that specifically addresses COVID-19 as it relates to your business. A great idea is to create a FAQ page dedicated to COVID-19 on your website.
Here are some suggested questions you may want to include on your FAQ page.
- What are your hours of operation during the COVID-19 crisis?
- Do you have special hours for senior citizens and at-risk individuals?
- Is it safe to visit your place of business?
- What is being done to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers?
- Will you deliver my order and drop off outside my door?
Social Media Accounts
Using social media is an important tool for engaging with your customers during COVID-19. Make sure your staff is responding to discussions and comments about your business promptly. You should also pin your most important information regarding the COVID-19 at the top of all your social media channels. Don’t forget about the cover and background photos on your social profiles. This is what people see first when viewing your profiles. Update them to include information about the crisis if appropriate.
There are lots of conversations going on online regarding the coronavirus crisis. Businesses should be monitoring if their brand is being mentioned by name in any of these discussions. (You should also include monitoring any key words or phrases that match what your business does.) These people could be looking for products and services you provide or just information regarding how your business is being affected by and adapting to the crisis. You should be ready to respond if necessary.
Most people are sheltering in place, but want to help local businesses during this difficult time. Offering gift cards is a great way to do this. Make sure your website and social media accounts allow your customers, friends and neighbors the ability to buy gift cards or gift certificates to use after the crisis has passed. Another idea is accepting donations. One way to implement this for your business is through Yelp. They just announced a partnership with Go Fund Me to allow businesses to accept donations through their Yelp listing.
We are all stressed in dealing with the coronavirus emergency. And, it’s challenging to cover all the bases we need to address. However, businesses should prioritize managing their brand’s online presence. Your customers need help and they expect the most up-to-date information on how you are adapting to the COVID-19 situation. By following our local business COVID-19 online presence tips, you can ensure that your website, local listings and social media has the right information when your customers need it.
ReviewIgnite is an online reputation management company offering powerful software solutions to helps businesses leverage their online reputation to build trust with and attract more customers. To see an on-demand demo of the ReviewIgnite software, please click on the link below. Stay safe!