Post No. 39

Navigating COVID-19: An Online Presence Checklist for Small Businesses

What a year! If you’re a small business owner, you’ve no doubt been affected by COVID-19 one way or another. While 2020 has been a tough year for so many people, it’s also been a year where we’ve seen small businesses get more creative than ever. We’ve seen local restaurants figure out how to serve guests while maintaining social distancing, we’ve seen entrepreneurs make masks to sell, and we’ve seen small businesses turn annual in-person events into successful virtual gatherings.

As a small business serving other small businesses, we’ve had the unique pleasure of watching small business owners across the country adapt the ways they do business. Innovation is certainly alive and well among American small business owners. But we’ve also seen some small business owners focus so heavily on the logistics of how to get their products and services out the door during COVID-19, that they forget to maintain their online presence, which is now more important than ever.

Maybe that’s you, or maybe you’re still wondering what your online presence is and why it matters. After all, what is there to update during a global pandemic? That’s exactly what we’re going to tell you. Updating your online presence in light of COVID-19 isn’t rocket science. You only need to do a few simple things to keep people informed about your small business.

Make Sure Your Online Presence Is Up to Date During COVID-19

First, let’s talk about why you need to update your online presence. Keeping your online platforms up to date keeps your clients informed and happy. They don’t have to wonder if you’re open, if your hours have changed, or if you’ve temporarily closed a certain location. They can go to your website (or Facebook page or Yelp listing) and get all the information they need about how your services have or haven’t changed.

Things to Update

  • Business hours: have you recently changed these?
  • Locations: have you closed a location temporarily or permanently?
  • Service methods: have you changed the way you serve people? Have you started offering curbside pickup? Do you no longer take walk-ins?
  • Services: have you paused any services, or started offering anything new?
  • New policies: are masks required? Will temperatures be taken upon arrival?

Now that you’ve thought through any company updates you need to share, it’s time to post that information in all the right places. The goal is to make it easy for people to know what to expect from your business during COVID-19 so they’re not surprised when they show up. Or, worse yet, so they don’t come because your online presence says you’re still closed.

Places to Update

  • Website: people should know within 10 seconds of visiting your website if you are open or closed for business. Add a temporary banner to the top of your website with your current business hours, or when you expect to reopen, or a link to a simple page with COVID-19 updates.
  • Business listings (Google My BusinessYelp, etc.): online listings make it very easy to display whether or not you are open, store hours, and other important information. There’s nothing more frustrating than driving to a restaurant that was listed as “open” on Yelp, only to find out that they’re temporarily closed. Make sure your business listings aren’t sending people mixed signals.
  • Social media (FacebookInstagram, etc.): highlight your store hours and important business changes in your social media bios. Or even better, add a story highlight on Instagram and a pinned post on Facebook with any updates (or lack thereof) that people should know about.

Keeping your online presence accurate and up to date must be an ongoing priority for your small business. It is especially important during a global pandemic that has so drastically changed the way people can engage with your business. A well-managed online presence is one of the easiest ways you can show your clients you’re thinking of them during this unprecedented time. Keep your clients in the loop, and they’ll keep coming back.

If you’ve made it this far and are nodding your head in agreement but feeling like you just don’t have the time to update your small business listings, we’re here to make your life a little easier. Our team will do a one-time, online presence audit and update to get this checked off your list. Let’s talk.