The COVID-19 pandemic affected small businesses in a myriad of ways. Remote work meant employees hunkering down at home and saving money on commuting while remaining connected to their coworkers on Zoom. Small business owners explored alternative ways of networking with other businesses. Many small businesses pivoted to pandemic-related offerings for their customers. And while small businesses found ways to thrive in the midst of lockdowns and other safety measures, many local businesses lost connections with one another and their communities.
Small businesses are rooted in their local communities. In order to remain confident in your finances during times of economic uncertainty, your small business must strengthen its relationships within the local community. Additionally, small businesses must renew their commitment to the local community to experience continued success. Deeply committed to serving the Baltimore-Washington region, BradyRenner CPAs works with a trusted network of business development professionals to help small businesses thrive. In this article, we’ll explore ways to establish or rebuild essential business connections in a post-COVID economic environment.
How to Foster Community Online
While you might think of social media as a place to foster your broader online community, it’s a great space to explore for your local one as well. Customers love “behind the scenes” information, which welcomes them into your business and makes them feel included.
Reflect on Your Earlier Success
During the pandemic as we all stayed home to flatten the curve, many in the small business community and beyond found creative ways to maintain engagement: restaurants posted recipe how-to videos, sports teams spliced together videos of their teammates for entertainment, and gyms offered online classes previously available only in-person. Since many of these newfound approaches were successful in attracting new customers, it may be worthwhile to revisit some of your own business’ ideas and consider reworking them for the present day. Which of your pandemic practices were most successful?
Plan Your Online Engagement
The best way to foster engagement with your customers is to regularly post new content. Decide which social media platforms are most suitable for your customer base, and dedicate time and energy to creating quality content on those platforms. If your customer base is primarily Generation X, for example, Facebook will be a better use of your resources than TikTok, which tends to skew younger.
Host an Event
Consider hosting a live information session where current and potential customers can ask questions in real time. These events can include an in-person component if possible, or they could be entirely online. Offer your customers and potential customers a chance to interact with your employees.
Another way to engage the local community is to ask your existing customers to submit positive reviews on review sites like Google, Yelp, etc. Potential customers value hearing from existing customers and listen to their peers more than a business’ own promises.
Create Brand Ambassadors
Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your products or services using a branded hashtag, and re-post the strongest testimonials. By doing so, your customers become more invested in your business and you show potential customers how your products or services are needed and appreciated.
Highlight Your Local Presence
Across your social media platforms, make sure to regularly point out your own involvement in the local community. Do you sponsor any local events? Make sure to advertise those events on your social media. Tag the other local businesses who are also participating in any community activities alongside your business.
Targeted Local Advertising
Many social media platforms allow businesses to create targeted advertising. In order to attract new local customers, set parameters to exclude any current followers of your business page. You can also choose to advertise to a small, local radius. These advertisements are often inexpensive and effective.
BradyRenner Can Help
BradyRenner knows the benefits of small businesses in a community. And small businesses need a guiding force in order to reestablish their local connections in a post-COVID climate. The current recession makes that even more essential. Our full suite of financial advisory and CFO services includes accounting, bookkeeping, tax planning, and other financial services in order to provide small businesses with a sounding board and steer them in the right direction.
The small business CPAs at BradyRenner know that re-establishing local connections is essential to the success of your own small business, and are here to help. Partnering with BradyRenner means also having access to an extensive network of professionals. We are a key part of Chesapeake Growth Network, a team of independent accounting, legal, and insurance/benefit advisors. As part of this network, BradyRenner has the ability to bring in additional assistance when your small business needs extend beyond our already-robust expertise.