The road to recovery was always going to be challenging, but as the pandemic has shown us, it doesn’t take long for everything to completely change. There have been many lows and highs in our second year living with COVID-19, and after multiple lockdowns around the country, I feel for the businesses that continue to face new struggles, writes Melinda Petrunoff, Head of Small and Medium Business, Facebook ANZ
Over the last year, we’ve seen how digital tools have helped businesses adapt and stay connected with their customers. Take for example Mountain Culture Beer, a boutique brewery run by Harriet and DJ McCready in Katoomba. They stayed connected with customers from around the local area and the country with exclusive online drops of new brews through their Facebook and Instagram pages. Their online popularity boosted their online sales and sustained their business last year. Thanks to their constant online presence, online sales make up 30 per cent of their total revenue (with this looking to grow), and their followers voted the business as Australia’s top boutique brewery.
While I recognise that digital tools aren’t a magic pill to fix everything, stories like Mountain Culture Beer show how they can be extremely helpful and give businesses the ability to adapt and build resilience in an environment where nothing is certain.
Four simple tips for businesses to easily connect with their customers online
Highlight important announcements
To keep your customers updated with the most vital information, consider creating an announcement post on your website, Facebook Page, or Instagram Business Profile. You can pin key announcements to the top of your Facebook Page for easy viewing. Your post might include information about the measures you’ve taken to comply with public health orders or other virtual ways for customers to connect with your business.
Streamline your online communications
Digital has proven to be an incredibly effective way for businesses and customers to stay connected, and our platforms provide multiple ways for this to happen, whether it’s a comment on a post, reaction to a Story, or direct message through Messenger.
With so many contact points, some people may find it hard to keep across every interaction especially if you have both Facebook and Instagram accounts. To help with this, we created the Inbox feature in the Facebook Business Suite. This free tool allows you to streamline all of your customer communications, whether it’s across Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger in one place, helping you keep on top of everyone wanting to contact your business.
Group with like-minded people
You can create a safe place where customers can share, discuss and form a community around common interests or causes with Facebook Groups. It’s a powerful way to foster a community and emotional connection with these people. For Sticky Lollies in Sydney, they created the Sticky Friends Facebook Group, which acts as a safe place for the community to check in with each other, help raise money for community initiatives and provide another positive space for the business to interact with their customers.
Get help to get started
If you need additional support there are plenty of places online to get help. For small businesses, we’ve created the Facebook Small Business website, a dedicated online resource to help businesses access more information on everything from the basics like how to set up a business page, and the various tools they use to connect with their customers online. We also just launched the Small Business Learning Hub, specifically made for Australian businesses, which includes instructional how-to videos to help businesses learn how to get started with other tools such as Facebook Shops or Instagram Reels.
These are tough times for small businesses all over Australia and the world. Facebook is determined to do all we can to help them make it through and we’ve seen on our platforms the community coming together to support them. But as we look to face more challenges ahead, we need to work together with the community, government, and other companies, to provide the resources and support small businesses need to keep going.
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