Web Strategies for Navigating Covid-19
Web tools and tactics for your web presence in the age of Covid-19
To survive during the global health crisis, organizations of all types have had to adapt their service models to new ways of doing business and working with customers. This has meant transitioning activities that are typically in-person to an online format, developing new products and services, and finding new ways to communicate those changes to their audience.
If you have expanded your online services and/or products, it is essential that you let your audience know now. Fortunately, there are a number of online tools available to help.
Update Your Website
First and foremost, you’ll want to be certain that your website content is updated to feature any program changes, new services, special offers, or new methods of doing business that you may be offering. Keeping your content current not only shows your audience that you are a credible, active business; it also ensures that these new services or capabilities can be found in search engines, which will help more customers find you.
Refresh Your Google My Business Profile
Your Google My Business profile is a key opportunity to let the public know about any updates to your business services or operations. You will want to ensure that your profile is up to date up to date with the correct business category and current business hours, and that your description includes any relevant updates related to safety measures or notable developments.
In response to the pandemic, Google has added new attributes to business listings that appear in Google Search results and Google Maps, so that potential customers can easily identify information related to services and safety. These new attributes, or descriptors, are short bullet points that appear with your your Google business listing.
Google now allows organizations to highlight any remote services they may be offering, such as online classes, consultations, or appointments. To do this, you use the “online” attribute, which allows you to promote your online services. You can add online services to your company profile in Google My Business.
Health & Safety Attribute
Google also now allows you to highlight any safety measures your business is taking with the following health & safety attributes, which are particularly relevant for those operating any businesses that involve in-person interactions:
- Appointment required
- Mask required
- Staff get temperature checks
- Staff wear masks
- Temperature check required
Appointments and Reservations
In addition to the aforementioned updates, Google has expanded the Reserve with Google tool, which allows people to book appointments directly from Google My Business listings. This functionality is helpful if your site does not offer booking appointments, but your business does.
If your business is offering contactless services, such as drive-thru, curbside pick-up, deliveries, or other amenities that your customers may find desirable in the age of Covid, you will want to ensure these items are referenced as amenities in your Google profile (and elsewhere).
You may add the “temporarily closed” attribute if you have had to shut down shut down or discontinue services for any reason while still maintaining your online presence.
Last but not least, it is also important to make sure that your profile is up to date so that potential customers have the latest information. Verify that your operating hours are accurate, select the correct business category, and edit your business description to include relevant updates related to the pandemic.
Create Google My Business Posts
Many business owners don’t realize that, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., you can also publish posts to your Google My Business Listing. However, unlike those other social media platforms, where users tend to mindlessly scroll, those who find your Google profile are actively seeking your products or services. There are five categories available when you create a post: COVID-19 update, Offer, What’s New, Event, and Product. This is a great way to get new information in front of new audiences; be sure to post the same information to your own site as well.
Up Your SEO Game
The internet is crowded with COVID-19 content right now. However, with a solid SEO strategy, you can still attain organic visibility in Google search. Using long-tail keywords that are highly specific to your products or services, as well as coronavirus + your service area/geography, will help effectively target potential customers in both the short and long term.
Keep Your Social Media Up to Date
Social media is a key component of reaching your audience online during normal times; but it is especially important while we continue to social distance. In fact, recent polls have shown that between late March and early May of this year, 46 to 51 percent of adults in the United States were using social media more. Here are five ways to promote your online services during the current health crisis:
Touch base with your audience
Basics first. Take a few minutes to touch base with your community. Your post doesn’t need to be flashy or earth-shattering. A simple, genuine message with the intention of checking in and wishing your audience well will go a long way. You'll also want to let folks know about any changes to your operations or services; you may even want to solicit feedback to help inform any internal decision-making.
Take advantage of Facebook Live
The number of Facebook Live viewers in the United States increased by 50 percent from January to March of this year. Take advantage of the increased audience size by hosting Facebook Lives focusing on special promotions, expert advice, or questions from customers.
Expand your reach with hashtags
Hashtags are valuable tools for expanding your reach on social media—especially on Instagram. However, broad hashtags like #COVID19 have saturated the digital landscape and may cause your posts to get lost among thousands of others. Be specific when brainstorming hashtags by adding location and industry specific terms. For example, instead of #quarantine, try #quarantineworkouts. Additionally, it’s important to be mindful and about the implications of using hashtags that could be seen as polarizing, opportunistic, or insensitive, so always consider the context in which a tag may be used on a given post.
Partner with others
Form partnerships with complementary businesses or organizations/associations to help promote each other’s online services and offerings. This is a practical way to reach new audiences and help others, as well.
Take advantage of niche offers for local organizations
Many social media users, especially on Twitter, are currently offering to promote local organizations in their area, such as “support small business” offers. Search hashtags such as #smallbusiness, #shoplocal, #supportsmallbusiness, and #shoplocal[yourcity] to find offers and use them to promote your online services.
Now is the Time for Change
Your organization is working hard to adapt to changing times. We all are. While new challenges can be daunting, they can also present an opportunity for progress, and taking advantage of new tools and tactics can help your organization adapt and grow. Need help planning your strategy? Feel free to reach out for a consult any time.