Control your profiles & keep your customers informed
The current health crisis and the subsequent lockdown has resulted in many businesses having to temporarily close their doors or restrict business hours and services.
Social distancing precautions also means that most South Africans are searching for information online, which poses the question: have you adjusted your business profiles to reflect your current situation?
Jellyfish, a digital partner to many local and international brands, strongly advises small businesses to make these changes to both their Facebook page and Google My Business listing, which they can do by following these easy tips laid out by seasoned digital practitioners.
Social media - Facebook
“Businesses who provide essential services or those who have temporarily closed need to communicate effectively with their social media communities,” explains Senior Paid Social Specialist, Lyle Laaks. “Your customers will appreciate your updated operating hours while they’re online, carefully planning their trips to the outside world.”
There are a few things you can do with your Facebook page so that you can be clear about the status or updated nature of your business.
How to update your operating hours on Facebook
1. Go to your Facebook Page and click on “Edit Page info”.
2. Then click on “Hours” and select the appropriate radio button. For instance, if the lockdown has forced you to suspend all your operations, then select “Permanently closed”.
3. If you’re an essential service provider who is operating under certain days or during specific hours, then click on “Open for selected hours” and fill in the days and hours that you’ll be operating.
Facebook has also responded to the COVID-19 outbreak with a specialised temporary service update application, which enables businesses to announce their changes directly on their Facebook page and in searches on Facebook.
How to leave a pinned post on Facebook
If you’re still operating in a business-as-usual style then you may want to consider leaving some extra details on your page to inform your customers about any Covid-19-related requirements or precautions.
1. Create a post as you usually would, including any useful information, like special delivery procedures, limits to the number of people allowed on your premises at one time, or restrictions on the number of or type of items allowed per customer.
2. Once the post has been published and appears on your wall, click on the three dots on the upper right-hand corner and then click “Pin to top of page”.
How to broadcast your message on Facebook
If you’re an essential service provider, you may also want to broadcast this fact to people so they’re aware of your status.
1. Create your message in the same manner that you would a pinned post but before or after you publish this post, click on the “Boost post” button.
2. This will bring up a new window with a set of options. Click on “People who like your page” and then on “Edit”.
3. Once you’ve done that you can select the appropriate locations to target. This will probably be the area closest to your business or within your distribution reach.
4. Next, set the duration of your campaign and the amount you need to spend to reach your audience.
5. And finally, click on the blue “Set Budget” button to complete the task. Your post will now reach the majority of your audience as they scroll through their Facebook or Instagram feed.
Google My Business
GMB is a free tool that helps small businesses manage their Google listings. The feature appears when online users look for local businesses on Google Search or Google Maps.
“You should update your GMB listing to reflect your revised trading hours or to announce your temporary trading suspension,” advises Senior SEO Manager, Sahil Maharaj. “Make sure your customers are receiving the correct information to avoid any confusion and dissatisfaction.”
2. When you’ve done that you should select the “Info” tab on the left-hand side panel.
3. Here you will be able to edit your operating hours as well as add any special hours for certain days. Note: there is currently no option available where you can set a “from and to” date range for special trading hours.
4. We also suggest making use of GMB Posts to convey updated business information in search engine results pages where your GMB listing appears. This is effective in expanding your organic reach for brand-related search queries.
You can do this by selecting “Posts” from the left-hand side panel.
5. Here you can create links to Posts that feature on your website by choosing a thumbnail image, title and description. You could also choose to publish special/limited offers, news and other events.
You can share detailed and timely updates about your business through Posts.
We suggest using Posts to communicate regularly with your customers as and when details about your business change. For example, you could add information about what products/services you have available (or are out-of-stock), and link to certain resources.
6. Google has also implemented a special Covid-19 GMB update feature, which allows businesses to provide a quick status update on any changes to your business during this period.
A special Google guide is available, for free, to businesses affected by COVID-19, which you can visit here for more information. If you would like to improve your local search capabilities, check out our Local SEO course.
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The company is a global digital partner that offers clients a unique blend of agency services, technology, consultancy, and training to support their digital journeys and transformation. The company has worked with brands like Google, Aviva, L’Oréal, Airbnb, Accenture, Ford and Investec; and strives to deliver scale and reach for brands from a network of offices across EMEA, the US and Asia.
With offices in Durban, Johannesburg and 30 other cities around the world, the Jellyfish Group aims to be the first-choice global partner for any brand's digital requirements. As one of a select few globally managed Google Marketing Partners, Jellyfish also offers services in Strategy, Paid Media, Programmatic Display, Social, SEO, Analytics, UX, Training and Creative.
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