This post about COVID on small businesses is sponsored by GoDaddy. All opinions are my own.
None of us were prepared for how rapidly our lives would change with COVID-19. As a small business owner, myself (yes, my blog is an actual business), I instinctively knew I’d have to adapt quickly. In order to keep my business alive, I knew I’d need to meet the changing demands of the market. I also knew I’d need to shift my content to meet my partners (the brands I represent) and my consumers (my readers and followers) where they are.
If you’re a small business owner, and especially an influencer, you should take some time to consider the state of the world and how you can contribute during this unprecedented time. I know a lot of influencers, and businesses in general, that haven’t even considered how they will shift their businesses. They are still putting out the same content and advertising as they’ve always done. This is a problem.
I’m in a privileged position that I’ve actually spent the last fifteen years of my professional career as a university administrator doing just what I’m now doing as a small business owner. I serve as a mediator between the university and the public. As the demands change from the university, so does the way I approach the public with whom I interact. Now, as a blogger, I serve as a mediator between brands and their consumers. I understand how to communicate with both groups and how to spin my own message to best meet both of their needs. This is a skill I’ve honed over many years and a lot of trial and error, so I thought this might be a good time for me to share some of what I’ve learned along the way.
Rather than live in fear of the unknown, I’m focusing on what I can control – my content and my message. If you’re considering the effects of COVID on small businesses, especially as blogger or an influencer, here are 4 questions to consider to remain relevant and thrive.
COVID on Small Businesses: 4 Questions To Consider
Is Your Voice/Message Sensitive to The State of The World?
This is a tough time for all of us, so just be very sensitive about how you talk about this virus and the state of the world. This is not a time to talk about politics (including your stance on health care and vaccinations) or conspiracy theories. It is a great time to be a role model and talk about ways we can act as good global citizens. I’ve seen several influencers who have said pretty insensitive things and have even done insensitive things. (I even saw one blogger create a ‘swimsuit’ out of face masks). A lot of people are going through really tough times, people are getting sick, people are getting laid off. Now is not a time for insensitive jokes. Now is a time to offer support, and be a positive role model.
How Can Your Brand Help People?
Just as you can be a good role model, you should use this time to really redefine how your brand and your voice can be a positive influence right now. What are you good at and how could that help people during this time?
What Could You Do to Be More Relatable and Useful?
One thing I’ve seen in the last week is that many people are not changing their content at all. To me, that is insensitive and naïve. I am a lifestyle blogger, which for me, means I focus on fashion, travel, parenting, home, beauty, food/recipes, and just about anything else that interests me. Over the last year, I’ve actually spent a lot more time focusing on fashion and travel. Although those are two verticals I love to cover, right now those are the two areas that are least useful to my average follower/reader. I personally think that posting fashion and travel content right now is tone-deaf. That is, unless I shift how I talk about them.
For example, I had already prescheduled several posts in those categories, so I rewrote my copy to align with the state of our world. I talked about COVID-19 and I talked about the loss. That’s what people want to see and read. They want to know they are not alone and they want to know that you’re relatable and real. I follow several fashion bloggers who are still posting their same high-end designer pieces and over the top looks. To me, that is just silly. We are facing a serious economic crisis right now. So, most people will not be looking for ways to spend a lot of money on clothing. Instead, people are looking for practical solutions to their new lives.
What New (or Reused) Content Can You Contribute?
Over the last week, COVID-19 drastically changed our lives. I know that my readers/followers are most interested in knowing what I’m cooking/baking, how I’m staying in shape, and how I’m handling parenting and homeschooling. These are areas I do cover on my blog, although not as regularly as some other content.
However, as an educator with a Ph.D., talking about ways to engage our kids is something that is in my wheelhouse and is an area that would be very useful for all of the parents who are now thrown-into homeschooling their kids. I also happen to be a decent cook and baker, so I’m also focusing my content a lot more on parenting/homeschooling and cooking/baking right now. I’m meeting my audience where they are at and giving them what they need to get through this tough time. It’s important to find ways to create useful content, especially when it’s in areas that you’re an expert or have significant interest.
These are just a few questions that influencers should consider during COVID-19. There are also a lot of great resources available to support small businesses, including influencers, during this time.
Visit the GoDaddy #OpenWeStand Microsite
With COVID-19 putting the economy at risk, GoDaddy created a movement to help small businesses during this tough time. The #OpenWeStand movement is a way for entrepreneurs and small businesses to connect and support one another. The site includes a toolkit for entrepreneurs to use at retail (signage), in social, and on their websites and in their emails to remind customers that they are open. There is also an Entrepreneur Digital Form. This is a dedicated place for small businesses to connect with one another to share ideas, resources, and support. You can also find guidance articles and videos that provide resources for global entrepreneurs on how to plan for business continuity and adjust their business to the changing needs. If you’re a small business owner, I’d highly encourage you to check out the microsite. Also, use the Digital Forum to connect with others. We are all in this together.
I hope my tips and questions influencers should regarding the effects of COVID on small businesses is helpful. I am confident we will all get through this time and actually innovate new ways of being and thriving. If you have questions or comments, I’d love to hear them. Please drop me a message or connect with me on Instagram so we can continue this conversation further.