How to Build Your Online Community in the Wake of COVID-19

Phew…these last couple weeks have felt more like years, and if you are a small business owner, they may have felt like several lifetimes.

It seems like the entire world has been flipped on its head, and how you’ve suddenly done business is no longer going to cut it if you…brace for impact here…want to survive in this uncertain time.

I know, it’s super scary, but I hope with some quick advice and reminders it doesn’t have to be.

Let me begin with a silver lining for you: This is the time to build your digital community.

No, it’s not a time to push coupons, deals, and other promos (more on the do’s and don’ts during this time in an upcoming post), this is a time to remind your community you are still heresupporting themtheir community, and offering services to the best of your ability.

It’s a weird time out there, and who knows how long we are going to weather this uncertain storm. So now, more than ever, people want to know from their living rooms that their favorite burger bar is still slingin’ fries. Sure, we all know that things are not the same, but it’s a level of normalcy that people are craving like crazy right now (myself included).

So what actions should you be taking right now? Well, for starters, don’t go dark. This refers to a business or brand that sends out complete radio silence. Your people need you, and even if it’s a Facebook post sharing some words of support or encouragement, it is a whole lot better than saying nothing at all.

Do consider how your in-person services can translate to online. You’ll have to think outside of the box here. New problems require new, innovative solutions. If you’re a gym or fitness studio, consider offering some classes online through Facebook or Instagram live. If you’re a retailer, consider setting up curbside pickup and/or an online store.

But these are also direct services, consider how you might share your expertise and knowledge digitally, too.

Health food store? Share some recipes and delicious, colorful, #inspo worthy IG posts. Tourist destination? Share facts, live educational sessions (a great idea for entertaining kids!), and other ways to get outside.

In the end, make your brand as human as you can right now. Beyond needing normalcy, people are also craving genuine, honest human connection and support. It’s the reason that the hundreds of emails in your inbox from XYZ big brand with little to no realness feel near-offensive.

*Delete, delete, DELETE*

Your community needs you, and you need your community. So if all you can do right now is post a short, quick video chatting with your customers and seeing how they are doing during this hard time, do it.

Be there for your people, and your people will be there for you.

Stay tuned for more tips, do’s/don’ts, tricks, and how-tos as we both navigate this challenging climate right here on this blog. As a small business ourselves, we are with you, we understand you, and we are here for you in all your needs.


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