National Small Business Week: Supporting Small Businesses through COVID-19 (Part III)

COVID-19 has significantly impacted companies of all sizes across the country, and none have perhaps been more shaken by the pandemic than America’s small businesses. According to the Main Street America organization’s Small Business Survey, about 37% of small businesses are at risk of shutting down within the next few months.

Continuing our series celebrating what would have been National Small Business Week [part one]: National Small Business Week: Supporting Small Businesses through COVID-19 [Part One]; part two: National Small Business Week: Supporting Small Businesses through COVID-19 [Part Two], today we hear from SOCi, the leading platform for “next-level” multi-location marketers. SOCi’s associate director of marketing, Olivia Starr, tells us how the localized marketing partner has jumped into action to support the local economy.

How are you supporting small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the early stages of the pandemic breaking, we made a commitment to help any company, even those that aren’t currently our clients, with their localized marketing. We’re doing this at no cose simply because it’s the right thing to do. Our CEO said it best: “As a leader in this space, we feel a responsibility to help any franchise or multi-location brand do everything it can do to keep up the local economy.”

We’re also offering bi-weekly webinars focused on COVID-related issues, we're doing 2x weekly blog content that has been dedicated to COVID, and we just launched a library of assets for our customers to help jumpstart a crisis communication strategy.

What advice would you give to the industry about how to support customers right now?

Communications need to be empathetic during this time – for both internal and external, social content needs to be helpful and on-brand. Rethink your daily operations to see if anything can be done digitally, and don't neglect your engagement and reviews. The world has gone digital so your strategy needs to align to this behavior – update all local listings and ensure you're utilizing all features provided by the top search and social sites to engage with consumers.

Are there any fun things your company is doing to maintain company culture working remotely?

As a company, we made it a huge priority in-quarter to increase the surprise and delight for our team. With everyone working remotely, we tried to get creative with different ways to motivate and incentivize our team. We're bringing the excitement, and marketing has out rolled a few internal contests to help keep the team motivated as we're all working remotely.

SOCi hosted a Bingo night for the entire company. We are hosting monthly digital lunch and learns with key SOCi execs, and outside thought leaders to continually help our team learn and grow - plus UberEats on us. We have weekly coffee check-ins - every Friday, and we have hosted a few Zoom team happy hours. It's extremely important for our marketing team to remain connected and find different ways of collaborating (digitally) to help keep the morale high.