By Tendai Kamusikiri
We would like to begin by sincerely hoping that at this present moment, you are at home with your loved ones and if need be, you are practising social distancing and wearing a face mask. With the current global pandemic, it is visible and both inevitable that small to medium businesses (SMEs) have been greatly affected by the crisis. In the African context, however, SMEs are the livelihood of a majority stake of many African countries and play a significant part in sustaining their economy. A lot of businesses at this point in time are at a standstill some at a complete halt whilst others are offering free delivery services to keep their communities going. It’s not easy for most to digest and it’s not easy for most to adjust either; but if you are worried about your business, as, many of us are, this is a great time to make use of social media and its services. We cannot be socially physical at this moment in time, but we can be socially digital as we communicate, chat and call; at the end of the day we are still being social but our society has migrated to virtual conversation.
Check-In With Your Customers – Just as you say hello when they walk into your store or they come through at a market stall; say hello to them on social media. Send through a simple Facebook post with a graphic or a corresponding tweet with a graphic. Tell them where you are at with your business right now, let them know how you are doing. If you had new stock that was planned for the greater part of the year (autumn/winter season is almost here), use this time to share it with them. If you can’t talk to them in person, then at least have a conversation with them online. If you are an essential business such as food and vegetables; you can set up a delivery service within your community that comes through to them once a week to get their favourite food necessities or meals; bearing in mind to keep within the global regulatory systems that have been put into place.
Go LIVE – Have solid interaction with your customers by going live. We are talking of using services that include Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Twitter Live and Zoom. Going live gives your business room to be interactive and to be present; if you are a chef use live services to do full free cooking lessons or to introduce a new recipe, if you are a make-up artist this is a perfect time to have a free makeup tutorial whilst still having a connection with your customers. Give your customers room to ask any questions and maybe even learn something new.
Offer Tips and Tricks – So you can’t do online competitions and giveaways but you can offer tips and tricks with a bit of inspiration to your customers; for example how to hacks, your top ten beauty tips or simple and easy baking hacks. The list can go on, it all depends on what you know and how you can deliver it to your customers.
We will close off by saying, this too shall pass, as a business owner keep yourself busy by making better use of being online. You might be uncertain, worried and unsure, but our advice to you is to maximise where you can; you can even utilise community Facebook groups and WhatsApp groups to keep the conversation of your business going.
We are giving you a virtual hug wherever you are – stay safe, stay home and stay blessed.
Originally published on Tendai Kamusikiri
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