How to Manage Your Online Presence During the COVID-19 Crisis (For Business Owners)

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AS PUBLISHED ON: YFS Magazine

How To Manage Your Online Presence During The COVID-19 Pandemic

The last few weeks, and especially the last few days have been downright scary. I’ve literally felt all of the emotions and feelings humanly possible. I’ve had good nights, sweaty nights, restful nights, and restless nights.

But, the one thing I keep repeating in my head to bring me back to a good headspace is: “There are things I cannot control, but what I can control is how I respond.” This is something my Dad told me when I was struggling a few years ago with a difficult family member. And, this is something my Mom reminded me again in 2018 when I was dealing with a not-so-pleasant client experience. And, then once again, this morning via FaceTime, whilst talking through my fears of income, savings, and our retirement fund.

This week has made me realize more than ever that . . .

I have the right to be scared, but I also I have the capability to be resilient, resourceful, and level-headed no matter what life throws at me. Continuing to keep my business afloat during Covid19 is just one more challenge I am up for.

I know a lot of my readers are small business owners or employees of a small business so I wanted to share 4 of my ideas on How to Manage Your Online Presence During the COVID-19 Crisis.

Right now is the time to start planting seeds for future success. That way, by the time we come out on the other side of Covid19, we will be ready to take control and know that WE are going to Thrive and Prosper for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.

Ren Lenhof

Get creative with Instagram stories. 

Your customers and followers are cooped up at home. Without a doubt, pretty much all of them are refreshing social media constantly. Full transparency, I think my screen time was up by 10% just from this past weekend!
While looking at an Instagram story isn’t necessarily the same as visiting your brick and mortar store, stories still provide a great opportunity for you to connect with your customer and follower base. From polls to Q and As to online flash sales, you can engage your following.
Stories also don’t overwhelm followers the way frequent posts do. They allow you to post anything you want without disrupting your main feed. Feel free to experiment and have some fun here!
Ren Lenhof

Collaborate with & uplift other small businesses near you. 

Unless they specialize in artisan hand sanitizer, pretty much all small businesses are struggling in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
While this is stressful, it simultaneously opens up space for collaboration and solidarity among small business owners. I’ve been reaching out to other businesses in my community and talking through what their needs and goals are right now.
You could offer discounts to customers who shop at both places: for example, if a customer orders takeout from Restaurant A, they can receive 15% off their online order at Service B.
I’ve made plans to cross-promote each other on social media and I am already seeing others follow my lead! This simple action has connected and re-connected me with fellow business owners. It is continuously reminding me that we are all in this together!
Look at this screenshot of a story on Instagram – so many creatives are tagging and supporting others – it has been incredible!

Send out a reassuring, compassionate email to your mailing list. 

Our inboxes have all been full of emails about COVID-19 cancellations and concerns from tons of companies and organizations.
I am choosing to set myself apart from the rest, by sending out supportive and uplifting emails. Psst. Are you on my email list?
If needed, by all means, send out an email with comprehensive information about your plan of action, but be human, be candid, and if you’re able, consider having a sense of (tasteful, on-brand) humor. Include photos of what you’re up too! For example, I’ve been making my own dog treats and sharing those with all of my followers.
Reassuring your customers that you’re not going anywhere and that you hope to find creative solutions to move forward in the midst of the chaos.
Here’s a clip from an email I received yesterday, that was SO WELL DONE! It was from one of my favorite Milwaukee restaurants; Lazy Susan. 
I love how she wrote the email as if she was literally saying it to my face and I adore how she signs off.
lazy susan Milwaukee

Don’t leave your followers and customers hanging. 

Your customer base will remember how you respond during this unprecedented time in history.
This probably goes without saying, but when a customer reaches out, reply promptly and comprehensively. Provide compassionate, informative answers to their questions. At the end of the day, even if your services change in response to COVID-19, you want your base to know you’re not going anywhere and that you’re stable enough to weather the storm. The relationships with your clients and customers are now, more than ever, so important to the vitality of your business.
I hope this blog post is reassuring, supportive, and useful. Please let me know if I can help with anything – I am only an Instagram DM away!
How to Manage Your Online Presence During the COVID-19 Crisis (For Business Owners)

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