It's the Age of the Pivot. Entrepreneurs everywhere are changing how they do business, especially when it comes to their online presence. Digital marketer Leia Morrison (who also manages Startup Colorado's social channels) weighs in on how and why you need to rethink your social strategy.
By Leia Morrison
Restaurant owners rushing to accommodate state and federal guidelines.
Service providers racing to convert their in-person offerings to online.
Music venues and performing arts spaces sprinting to solve for the daunting task of making their business virtual.
There are so many other examples of how industries have had to pivot (in most cases a 180-degrees) overnight to keep their employees employed and their bank accounts out of the red. For many business owners, the sudden, overwhelming demand for online services has been a make-it or break-it moment. Talk about a pressure cooker for stress.
So, here’s the question: Do you stay in the pressure cooker or do you make a pivot and put yourself out of there?
I’ve been in the social media marketing business officially for around six years, but I have been a business owner for over 20. Before the virus hit, I would practically beg business owners to please invest some resources into their online presence. Many saw no need to change what they were already doing. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!
In comes COVID-19 and in comes the pivot. Suddenly business owners were forced to question the idea of “this is what we’ve always done” and get creative. Businesses can no longer afford to ignore their digital marketing. I’ve been witness to well-established businesses finding their true brand for the first time ever. They’ve shared their “messy middles” and told their stories. They have collaborated more; asked for support; been consistent on social media. Most of all, they've figured out how to adjust their offerings to accommodate the needs of their customers and their business. As a result, so many successful pivots have been made.
As a fellow business owner and as someone who specializes in helping others tell their stories online, I have a few words of advice.
- First off, know that everything you’ve been through can be used for what you are working towards. (Rooted Apothecary in Crested Butte is a great example.)
- Secondly, do not forget the power of your story, the power of an ask, and the power of uncomfortable action. Authentically share your story, because everyone connects with a story over a sell.
- Lastly, trust in your ability to figure things out and seek the company and advice of those who are successfully navigating this change.
Here are a few action items for differentiating your business from your competitors during this time:
- Make sure that you do, in fact, have a digital presence.
- Ensure the information on your website and on all of your social media channels is up-to-date.
- Double check that all pages and events are set to public (not private). This allows others to share your information to their friends and customers.
- Post consistently everyday.
This is the time to get creative with your pricing or unique offerings online. Make digital infrastructure one of your business’s core competencies. Create polls and ask questions. Understand what your customers' needs are now (they may have changed), and be ready to respond accordingly. Because people are leaving their homes less, provide a more robust offering of online services and products that can be conveniently delivered or digitally downloaded. Right now, you may be in "adapt and survive mode," but the pivots you make today may lead you to long-term growth tomorrow.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
Charles R. Swindoll.