Digital Tools for COVID-19 Affected Businesses

“Without change, there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable." - William Pollard

Six months into a tumultuous year and Australians have already faced a mountain of inevitable changes. Business owners have been hit hard and are reopening in a climate coined the "new normal", following the COVID-19 restrictions.

Thanks to several innovative minds, global tech companies have put their thinking caps on to create digital tools that will help support businesses to survive the continuous changes.

As a result, we're reviewing some of the most significant updates from Google, Facebook and Instagram that can help business owners promote their products and services.

Google Adds Extra Support for Business Profiles

Google has announced an array of supportive features for businesses to integrate on their profiles, including donations, gift cards, and the ability to market digital services.

Business owners can now add donation and gift card links to their Google My Business Profile thanks to partnerships between PayPal and GoFundMe (donations), and Square, Toast, Clover and Vagaro (gift cards). Head to your profile and then click on the “Get support from customers” to pick from the two options. You can add a personal message, which will appear on the business’s Google listing along with the links.

Another innovative result of the adverse impacts of COVID-19 has seen the increase of digital services, such as live streaming gym classes. Google saw the virtual change and has created the option to add “Online Classes” and “Online Appointments” to a Business Profile, which is visible via Google Search and Maps.

Google is also upping the ante with its appointment-setting program, enabling businesses to make it easier for customers to find a time slot, book in and add the engagement to their calendar directly via the company’s Business Profile.

Facebook Promotes Businesses

Facebook recently rolled out promotional tools for both its social network platforms to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. For its Facebook platform, the addition of the #SupportSmallBusiness hashtag aims to help improve the visibility of these enterprises. Add to your posts to showcase your business to those who search the hashtag.

Another feature you can tell your customers or clients about is the “in support of” tag, which adds an “in support of” note at the top of a post, which is a great promotional tool to utilise.

And finally, Facebook has updated Messenger to streamline its direct response services so you can switch between business and personal accounts, similarly to Instagram.

Instagram Supports Small Business

For its Instagram platform, Facebook rolled out a 'Support Small Business' Sticker that users can add to their Stories, which shares the three latest Instagram posts by the business. You can add it to your own Story, show your customers/clients or even encourage use by Influencers for added brand awareness – the promotional potential is endless.

The Sticker joins an assortment of others rolled out over the last month or two, including Gift Cards, where partnerships with Gift Up! Neto, Rise.ai, TheFork are available to enable profile visitors to purchase gift cards easily. A similar premise is available for Food Orders, with partnerships between Deliveroo, DoorDash, Menulog, or Uber Eats on offer so users can order directly from the business's Instagram account.

These innovative digital tools are only the beginning for global tech companies, and we recommend small businesses utilise the promotional assets where possible “to manage the change that is inevitable.”

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