As we head into 2021, the pandemic and its related effects are now a part of everyday life. For SMBs, adapting to COVID-19 at this point means much more than “pivoting” to a new business model. It’s recognizing the fundamental changes in consumer behaviors and expectations and an acceleration of the shift towards digital communications and commerce. This shift means companies that want to survive and potentially thrive in 2021 need to build unique and attention-getting online presences. Here’s four ways to get it done:
1. Match Your Social Content to the Platform
Start with interactive media to further build your online presence in 2021 and beyond. Recognize the limits the pandemic places on in-person relationships and use social media to fill that gap. Improve your followers’ engagement by matching your content to match the social channel’s unique characteristics. That means fun and informative videos on social platforms and developing content for specific types of users/channels.
Social media is especially important as consumers are working from home, giving them more time throughout the day with your branding on their phones and other devices.
2. Tell a Story with Social Media
Think about how your social media shapes the ways people think and respond. For inspiration, review some brands such as luggage provider Away. The company features professional travel shots of exciting destinations, with limited pictures of products. It’s intended to create an association between the brand and travel and adventure, even during the limitations of the pandemic. This consistent brand imagery and focus should pay off for the company as travel rebounds in 2021 and in the coming years. Engage with social media with a strategic approach so you can create a stronger and more impactful online presence that generates power and lasts long into future.
3. Build Video Content
Look at your competitors to see if you’re falling behind on the types of content you’re developing. Are they offering video product demonstrations or other video content that helps to describe their brand? Quality video content is essential for brand building. It’s a primary communication method for today’s mobile-based consumer who wants to digest information quickly and efficiently. Consider how-to videos that can detail the best ways to use your product or service, so consumers gain familiarity and comfort with your offerings. Create a “Get to Know Us” video that includes footage of engaged employees and perhaps a personal story from the founders. Create short easily digestible videos that support your core brand values and are shared and promoted across various channels.
4. Create Local Demand with SEO and Content
SMBs, especially those with brick-and-mortar locations, can discover new ways to boost their local online presence. For example, they can leverage geodata services and local advertising services through secure search engines like GOFBA that can help them to showcase unique offerings and deals. The company offers a “5-star listing” program that enables smaller brands to get in front of eager consumers at a local level.
Small business owners and managers can also develop blog posts and social media content that references local events and activities. This can bring exposure to your brand and also build trust with local consumers who will see you as a person, instead of just a brand that’s only concerned with profits.
To pull in more local consumers also requires improving your brand’s SEO. People find businesses through search, even when they’re looking for a taco shop that’s open within a few miles. SMBs must improve their search result metrics through sound SEO practices and tools. SEO is effective for small companies that want to focus on specific areas or market segments and will provide especially crucial as a competitive differentiator in the post-pandemic landscape.
By crafting a strong online presence during the pandemic, you set your company up for success for the economic rebound. Your online brand helps you stand out from competitors. You can build a fun and relatable personality through social media and content marketing. The point of all this work with an online presence is ultimately about building trust and relatability with your customers, as you help them navigate through the challenges of COVID and on to better days ahead.
Bill DeLisi is the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Technology Officer and a founding member of the Board of Directors of GOFBA, Inc. – a secure search engine and communication platform. DeLisi is an authoritative expert on cybersecurity and has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry, including holding the position of Chief Technology Officer at several companies.