We had the BEST time connecting everyone on the first Growth Lab Live, Navigating COVID-19: How to Help Your Local Business Innovate, Survive & Thrive.

Our chat was blowing up (one attendee even said, “This is the most lit chat I’ve ever been a part of!”), and we got some great questions as well as some inspiring suggestions for businesses looking to pivot right now.

We wanted to round up our most-asked questions and answer them for you right here.

What’s the biggest asset businesses can have right now?

Ashlie Kim, Senior Director of Client Services for LOCALiQ, noted that being nimble is a huge asset for businesses as we navigate COVID-19. This includes being nimble in how you’re providing your goods and services and also in how you’re marketing your business and communicating with your consumers. The good news is that it’s often easier for smaller businesses to be nimble than larger corporations, so this is a great advantage.

What are some ways you can use social media now?

Many businesses are using social media as a way to connect with their customers and their community. Dennis Wilson, Director of Digital Presence & Social Media Solutions for LOCALiQ, said that the best thing you can do on social media right now is to go live ““ it’s a way to give an uncensored look at what you’re experiencing right now.

We’ll be talking even more about how your business can stay social in our next Growth Lab Live on April 2. Register here!

What are some things I can share with my customers now beyond my products and services?

We got so many great suggestions on how businesses can reach out to their consumers and serve through social media. We’ve compiled some of our favorites here:

  • A local daycare is sharing daily activities for parents with kids at home.
  • A chamber of commerce is sharing daily business specials from around the community.
  • A group started a fundraising campaign for a local deli that’s providing lunches to seniors.
  • A museum is sharing behind-the-scenes videos and pictures for people to enjoy at home.
  • A hairstylist is sharing videos to help parents cut their children’s hair at home.
  • A gym is sharing workout routines on Instagram every day and encouraging people in the comments.

There are a lot of opportunities for your business on social media. Just remember what Dennis said about creating your strategy right now: “Just listen. Social media is almost free market research. Just tune in to what’s being said.”

We put together some more ideas for your local business to use on social media right here.

Is there anything I need to know about sharing coronavirus content on social media?

One thing Ashlie noted is that on YouTube, if you mention coronavirus or COVID-19, YouTube will demonetize your video. Other social media pages like Instagram and Facebook are combing the site to make sure misinformation isn’t being spread but haven’t released any guidelines like YouTube’s. But, it’s a great reminder to make sure you’re only sharing resources from reputable and reliable sources.

What are some ways I can serve my community now?

A lot of local businesses are looking for ways to help their towns and cities. Dennis shared an example of a party bus company that donated their vehicles to transport food. Since they’re not able to rent out their buses, they found a way be a service to their community. We’ve also seen examples of restaurants donating meals to healthcare workers and hospitals who are working long hours to take care of sick patients.

Not only does helping make you feel good, but it can raise awareness for your business and position you positively. As Dennis said, we’re going to get through this, and when we do, we’re going to remember the businesses that made an impact during this time.

If your business has the means and opportunity to help, you can serve your community by donating food to healthcare workers (you could even buy a meal from a local business if you’re not a restaurant ““ it’s a win-win!), providing transportation for meals to high-risk individuals, serving as a food drop-off point for canned goods, and more.

And, know that consumers want to help local businesses right now, too! Make sure you’re sharing how they can do that on your social pages, and add your business to Support Local so it’s easy for them to purchase gift cards from you.

Are people still spending money on advertising?

Yes! People are still advertising their businesses, and now is a good time to. Dennis noted that because many businesses are taking a break from advertising and more people are spending time online, your business could see increased reach and engagement if you’re advertising right now.

What should I focus on with my business’s web presence?

You should focus any place your customers might find you, Dennis said. And the main places to consider include your website, your local listings sites like Google My Business and Yelp, your social media pages, and your SEO.

As one attendee said: “The effort you put into your storefront should now be shifted to your online presence.”

We want you to know that we’re here for you during this time and are available to help you build up your web presence now to prepare you for the future. Reach out today for more information.

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