The last few months have been rough on small businesses to say the least. Many have had to step outside their comfort zone and reinvent themselves to survive.
“We were having the best year ever. And then the week before the official shutdown happened, things slowed up, and then it was–boom–we were done,” said Carol Cook.
Now that stores are able to have customers inside again, Carol Cook with Coco’s Corner in Greensboro, says it’s like starting from scratch. Every single customer is important.
Like so many other businesses, Coco’s Corner had to be proactive to reach customers during the COVID-19 shutdown. The store was already active on social media, but they stepped their game up.
“We tripled our social media posts,” Carol said. “We posted on Instagram. We posted on Facebook. We texted some of our customers with pictures of items we think they might like. We encouraged people to call the store to purchase over the phone. We did curbside pickup.”
Even selling more on eBay as well. Carol says that effort resulted in more than 300 new Instagram followers, and new online customers from as far away as Michigan and Florida.
“It’s easy to build a following,” Lisa Hazlett said. “It’s easy to build a client base through social media. The hardest issue is determining which social media platform is best for your business. They’re not all created equal. They don’t all have the same demographic.”
Hazlett is the director of communications for the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship. It’s Greensboro’s small business incubator where they help build small businesses and reduce small business failure.
She says the biggest mistake and challenge for small business owners is messaging.
“Too often businesses focus on themselves in the messaging as opposed to focusing on the customer in the messaging,” Hazlett said. “Sometimes businesses will be marketing what they think is important as opposed to what their customer thinks is important. So, you have to make sure you’re selling what people are buying.”
Whether you’ve been around for a while like Coco’s Corner or you’re one of the new kids on the block that opened during the pandemic like one you saw recently on FOX8 – Feeling My Wear in High Point — Hazlett says your social media presence can make or break your business.
“Everything sells better with a picture. That’s number one. Even if it’s not a pic of your product, pics of happy smiling faces sell products,” Hazlett said.
Carol says it’s more important then ever because that’s what’s going to drive people into the store.
Lisa Hazlett says social media may be even more important than a website. But you still want to make sure the website is current. She says the most important things to make clear on your site are what you do, and how they can do business with you.