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Health Mandates May Change, But Our Online Habits Will Not

Whether you are travelling locally or internationally, there are a lot of changes in health recommendations across the province and the country.

We know a lot of people are feeling uneasy about this for many reasons: more importantly, cases are on the rise and there’s a new variant.

Less seriously, we have to unlearn making those faces at people in public that had previously been hidden, and we have to learn to put lipstick on again (unless you're like Toby, who's learned to appreciate his natural colour).

We share these concerns, but we also have another concern: that with various health measures ending you will think things are going back to how they used to be in every way.

We do hope that we get back to normal, safely, when it comes to getting together with friends and family, and seeing people’s faces.

We want people to walk into your store, book appointments with you, reserve tables at your restaurant for events and parties.

We will love all of that to go back to normal. However, there’s one thing that we know won’t go back to normal:

Our online habits.

And by “our” we don’t mean us at Cat’s Cove. We mean everyone.

In a two year period we have all become accustomed to shopping online, browsing more, and seeking information.

We know that this will not stop. This will continue to increase.

So what we want for you is for you to continue to be there. We want you to keep doing exactly what you have been doing and maybe even kick it up a notch.

You need to stay consistent with your online presence, stay consistent with posting on social media and with updating your website.

You can’t go back to relying simply on the novelty of the right people walking down the street and walking through your door. You need to meet people where they want to be met.

In the last 12 months 424 million new users have come online. 93.4% of internet users are on social media.

People are spending, on average, 2.5 hours on social media every single day.

This is where people are. This is where your audience and your customers are spending time.

This is what people are using to find out if you’re open.

This is what people are using to find out what you sell.

This is what people are using to find out what kind of business you are, and what kind of person you are behind the brand. This is more important than ever as people put more intention behind where they spend their money.

These last two years have been great for shining a light on small businesses and their importance in our economy and our communities. They have also helped to shine a light on the incredible people behind them, including you.

It’s been a long haul, these last couple of years. It’s been a huge learning curve, then pivot after pivot after pivot. You deserve a pat on the back for all that you’ve done, but it’s not over. This part of your business is just getting started.

Think of everything you’ve done since March 2020, and take note of what you still need to be doing.

Your Website and E-Commerce Store

Unless you were really ahead of the game, you probably either started a website in 2020 or heavily expanded your E-commerce platform.

Whether we helped you or someone else, you got a website going . You probably learned how to add items and photos, to make changes and ask questions. It’s a lot of work (some platforms more than others!).

Now that it’s up and running, we need you to continue updating and adding new items to keep it fresh.

  • Make sure all your contact information on your website is easy to find.

  • Make sure your hours listed are correct and displayed on your website's main page.

  • Think about adding a blog to your website for fresh weekly or monthly content.

  • List any relevant information, such as requesting that customers continue to wear masks, or reservations required for dine-in.

(if you don’t have your website yet, tap here. If you have a website you’re not happy with, tap here. It’s never too late.)

Search-Engine Optimization for Your Business

You learned what the heck SEO means and that it’s actually really important.

It’s an impressive-sounding word that just means improving how easy it is to find you on Google (or other search engines).

Maybe you learned the basics like keywords, alt text and image file names. There is a lot to SEO, and always more to learn.

You can continue to improve SEO for your business by making sure your Google My Business account is up-to-date and complete.

This will help promote you in your local area which is important, because people often search for a business “near me.” If your Google My Business is set up with your location, it will help push you up further in their search results (as long as you’re actually nearby, of course).

Another thing you can do to improve SEO: Have you ever considered writing a blog? Even if you’re not a writer, it might be worth a shot. Blogs are not just about putting your thoughts out there into the void.

When done properly, blogs are keyword-rich and full of links to pages on your own website (internal links) and other websites (external links) which improves your site’s credibility.

Social Media Platforms

If you've done anything these last two years for digital marketing, it's likely that you are now posting more on social media platforms.

Maybe you started an account on a new platform (cough, TikTok).

You have not only shown up on social media, but you have shown your face, repeatedly, during some of the most difficult years for your business.

You probably got a bit vulnerable on social media in the past 2 years. There were certainly a lot of opportunities.

You need to keep showing up on social media.

Post consistently, meaning as many times a week as you can manage. Post across as many platforms as you can manage.

Repurpose content for different platforms. Re-use relevant content again and again.

Continue to engage with your audience on social media and build relationships and familiarity.

Most importantly, use video. We can't say this enough. If you look at the social media apps, they are telling you the same thing:

TikTok is the fastest-growing app in the world and it is all video. When you hit "Discover" on Instagram, it's all Reels and video. Facebook now shows Reels and promotes them more than stories.

Recent updates to each platform involve video: allowing longer videos, offering auto-captioning for videos, making the content full-screen to watch video more easily.

These last two years have been tough on businesses.

We know some have, unfortunately, had to close. As people venture back out into the world, as they explore new places, they will be wondering, "is that place open?" And that wonder will become a Google search, or a search on social media. Make sure you're there.

We know you're ready and excited to welcome people's smiling faces into your doors. We want you to remain just as ready for them to find you online, first.

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