Facebook has published advice to help SMEs cope with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, which includes advice on hosting live events and proactively keeping in touch with customers.
On Sunday (15 March), Facebook announced that it was launching a Small Business Resource Hub to help businesses manage the impact of Covid-19.
Aimed at supporting Irish SMEs, the hub has been designed to help businesses minimise disruption, increase their ability to survive and “even thrive” as the Covid-19 outbreak impacts the global economy.
The hub’s toolkit encourages businesses to assess their business resilience and identify the business activities that are essential for continued operation during a time of great disruption, and to consider the impact to business and distributor operations. The hub also enables SMEs to determine an action plan to mitigate or prepare for significant disruption.
In a statement, Facebook said: “Resiliency planning is about being prepared to manage any disruption and ensure the continuation of services and communication to customers and employees. Facebook’s new resource hub provides support and advice to help businesses put an action plan, suited to the needs of any business, in place.”
Facebook’s advice for small businesses
Facebook advises business owners to keep themselves safe and informed, by following credible, official sources such as the HSE and WHO in order to “respond quickly to changes that could affect you or your customers”.
Additionally, the social media giant said it is a good idea to proactively stay in touch with customers using email, social media and the company’s website, as well as any other methods in which the business typically communicates with customers.
Facebook also said that this is a good time to experiment with hosting online events in lieu of any physical events that were supposed to be held and have now been postponed or cancelled. Facebook and Instagram both feature live streaming services, and there are a range of other platforms on which this is possible too, such as YouTube and Twitch.
The company also advised business owners to prepare a customer service plan. Facebook said: “In order to be responsive and transparent with your customers during this challenging moment, prepare for incoming questions and requests. Consider drafting templated responses for your emails or set up instant-reply messages with information you expect your customers will be looking for.”
On top of this, SMEs should also provide a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to offer customers detailed reassurance.
Businesses can access these resources here.