The invasion of COVID-19 into our lives has caused upheaval for so many and Omaha-based businesses are no exception. Between broken financials, new rules for physical storefronts, and determining what you can do for your employees, everything about your business probably feels something like a very blurry tornado.

Another factor to consider is your business’ local online presence. But this post will help you sort it out without having to spend hours Googling everything.

We’ll discuss in a few bullet points what you can do for each piece of your online presence, along with a link to the platform and relevant documentation.

Your Website:

  • Add a banner or other type of message that’s obvious but doesn’t disrupt the normal use of your site. Be as specific as possible. An example can be found here: https://www.mcallisterortho.com/
  • You could also create a site page specifically for COVID-19 related updates. (See related bullet point for Google My Business below)
  • If your site has eCommerce features and you’re not shipping anything at this time, disable the cart functionality.
  • If only some products (such as non-essentials) are not being shipped, disable those products or mark them as unavailable.
  • Do not pull down or disable your entire website. Even if it’s a short-term measure, that will negatively impact Google’s indexing and ranking of your site.
  • Further information from Google is available here: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2020/03/how-to-pause-your-business-online-in.html

Google My Business:

  • Most locations now have the option to “Mark as Temporarily Closed.” If this is the case for your business, select that option right away.
  • If your business is open but the hours have changed, update the hours in the “Special Hours” section of your business information. It’s the same area where you would mark holiday closures.
  • Google has made available a post type called “COVID-19 Update.” Make a post right now describing clearly how customers can do business with you. Make additional update posts as warranted. No need to post frequently but if you have new information regarding the future of your business, don’t be afraid to share it! This is a way to communicate with existing and potential customers who are searching for information about your business.
  • If you have a page on your website for COVID-19 updates, you can post that URL in the business information of your Google My Business property.
  • If you’re a health professional and have started providing your services through video conferencing, or telemedicine, you may now have a field to post your site page with information about this service.
  • More information is available at this heavily-updated post: https://whitespark.ca/blog/keeping-gmb-accurate-during-covid19-pandemic/

For more on setting up and configuring Google My Business, click here.

Facebook Business Page:

  • Make a post right now describing clearly how your customers can do business with you. Pin the post so it appears at the top of your Facebook page feed.
  • If applicable, update your Page Info, including changed business hours. You have options to select “Open With Service Changes” or “Temporarily Closed.”
  • You can use digital gift cards with Facebook partners to allow customers to support your business now and help encourage foot-traffic when the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted.
  • You could also use Facebook Live instead of canceling events or to stay in touch and continue delivering value to your customers.
  • For advanced users, the recorded Live video could later be edited into shorter videos and posted on Google My Business, Instagram, and other platforms your business might be active on.
  • For more information, you can read Facebook’s own suggestions at https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/resource

My number one recommendation is to make a checklist. It can be easy to get lost in the whirlwind of issues to cover or possibilities to take advantage of. Try to identify each category or platform to cover, prioritize it from most visible to least visible, and then work through that list at least once a week. If you can do that, you’ll be putting your business presence in a good position to rebound when the time comes.

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