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Social distancing; not social media distancing. Ideas to boost your online presence.

By Shelley Paasch, NetWork Kansas

As Kansas transitions to phasing in re-openings following COVID-19-related stay-at-home orders and gathering restrictions, Shelley Paasch provides a reminder to business owners that we're social distancing; not social media distancing. Here are a few tips, she provides, to encourage entrepreneurs to keep being creative and ramp up your online presence.

  • Zoom for the Chamber Coffee with “X” business or a FB live!  The Chamber can 'host' it and introduce them then “hand it over” to the business. (And by ‘hand it over’ meaning, the Chamber creates an “introductory video” sending it to the ‘hosting’ business.  Regardless your business, T-shirts, coffee shop, hair salon, golf course, promote what you have.
  • Were you ramping up for an awards banquet?  Still have it!  Make it fun--have an award unveiling---Red carpet....gowns…  Or, keep it simple and post “winners” throughout the coming weeks (maybe on a specific day and time?  Every Tuesday at 3pm tune in to see who your ‘Business Growth Award’ or ‘Community Impact’ award goes to.)
  • Get online!  Ask your customers what they want from you.  This is your chance to reinvent!
  • Post photos of your merchandise throughout the day on social media and offer online ordering via phone or social media. Offer curbside pick-up as an option.
  • Since ‘walkability’ in your community is unlikely at this time, this is your ‘changing windows weekly’; the more often you change your windows the more people look at your store.  So update on social media!
  • Take shoppers on a video virtual tour of your store to spark interest in your products.
  • Add new products (this, of course, would be from learning what your customer wants).
  • Offer customer loyalty cards.
  • Are you a Chamber or Main Street Member??  Reach out to those resources for help. 
  • Identify your assets. 
  • If you have online sales and it can work, promote that you’re open 24/7!
  • Get testimonials from your customers! Have THEM start a conversation on your social media.
  • Are you looking for a new logo?  See who can help you.
  • Ask your TOP recurring customers for ideas.
  • Engage with your local youth and senior citizens!
  • Be a virtual shopper for your customers!!  Then offer to drop off their purchases or if they want to get out of the house (likely), then offer curbside delivery.
  • Consider assembling cookie-decorating kits available via curbside pick-up for children to create at home.
  • Consider online (FB Live, Zoom) tutorials of what your customers want to know more of (hello? This is engaging with your customers! They will tell you what they want).
  • Health and wellness stores: Assemble a wellness box containing products for increasing immunity and overall well-being.  Sell it! Donate it! Ask a question of your audience (e.g. Who can tell me ___________ (ask something about nutrition; ask something about your store personally)
  • Hardware stores, listen up: many consumers are stuck at home for an uncertain amount of time. Assemble DIY project kits - home interior paint kit that offer a simple way for customers to get what they need easily and with minimal social interaction.

Once again, think about all of these things online!  We are social distancing, not social media distancing.