In this unprecedented time of COVID-19, business owners and consumers around the world are sifting through the clutter to find the most reliable, up-to-date information on how to maintain their lives through the challenges presented by the novel Coronavirus. To aid in this effort, AVX Digital has compiled relief information from the leading digital publishing platforms to help businesses quickly understand what options are available within their individual circumstances.
Facebook Grants and Business Resources
Facebook’s Small Business Grants Program will provide $100M in grants and ad credits to 30,000 businesses in the 30 countries where Facebook operates. Grants can shore up businesses by providing funds to maintain payroll, rent, or other expenses. Ad credits will increase visibility by allowing advertisers to boost posts and reach wider audiences than they would normally target. Information on eligibility and application requirements is still pending, so businesses are encouraged to sign up on the Facebook dedicated page to receive updates once they’re released.
The Facebook Business Resource Hub has compiled essential information businesses can utilize to ensure they’re adapting optimally in this turbulent environment. Consider the following best practices:
- Stay informed by following official news sources: Be wary of unverified or unsourced information.
- Keep in touch with your customers: Continue to post regularly, and pin posts with important information so users can quickly view it at the top of your page.
- Update business hours & other information related to potential products or services that may be changing.
- Experiment with online events as a way to interact with your customer base even if you can’t be face-to-face.
- Utilize Instagram Direct Messages, Messenger, or a WhatsApp Business profile to easily keep in touch with customers.
- Prepare a customer service messaging plan: Draft templated messages, or enable instant replies, to easily respond to commonly asked questions.
- Use Facebook Groups to connect with other small businesses – share questions and solutions to the new challenges you’re facing.
Finally, Facebook has provided a number of other guides to help businesses adapt their operations procedures to this new environment:
- Small Business Resilience Toolkit
- Small Business Resilience Quick Action Guide
- Remote Working Resource Hub
- How to Help Minimize Business Disruption During Emergencies
- Keeping People Safe and Informed About the Coronavirus
Google Funding and Ad Credits
Google has announced over $800 million of funding and grants for businesses and crisis response organizations. These grants will support small and medium sized businesses, health organizations and workers, and governmental organizations. Out of that, $250 million in ad grants will be donated to the World Health Organization and over 100 other government agencies to provide critical information on COVID-19. Community financial institutions and non-governmental organizations will receive $20 million to provide public service announcements on relief funds and other resources. A $200 million investment fund will help NGOs and financial institutions around the world provide small businesses with access to capital to maintain operations and pay expenses. Academic institutions and researchers will receive $20 million dollars to aid in treatment, vaccine research, and data tracking to follow the spread of the disease at a granular level.
Google Ads advertisers who have been active over the past year will collectively receive $340 million in credits. Small and medium businesses will be able to use these credits through the rest of 2020 to ensure they’re continuing to reach the people searching for their goods or services. The ad credits will be applied directly into eligible ad accounts. Further details are below:
- Eligible customers will receive a one time advertising credit when the time is right for them. These credits are meant to offset upcoming advertising costs with Google.
- Eligibility: The ad credit will go to SMBs in every country where Google Ads is available, focusing on customers with existing relationships and have been working with Google for at least a year. If eligible, advertisers will be informed through an in-product notification with the credit amount.
- Timing: Credits will be made available to eligible customers in phases beginning in late Q2 and can be used to offset future advertising with Google until the end of 2020.
Finally, Google is working with their suppliers to ramp up production of personal protective equipment and life saving medical devices to ensure front-line responders are best equipped to handle the crisis.
Yelp is offering a $25MM relief package to help support local businesses, primarily in the restaurant and bar categories. The Yelp ad credits will be applied in multiple ways, outlined below:
- Waived advertising fees
- Free Yelp advertising
- Free access to Yelp page upgrades
- 90 days of free access to Yelp Reservations and Waitlist
- $100 in free search advertising to restaurants with delivery/takeout
- Support for local advertisers “in other categories that are struggling to pay their bills”
More updates on further steps will be released over the upcoming weeks. Reach out to your Yelp representative to understand implications for your accounts.
Lastly, with its in-depth view of small and medium businesses, Yelp is keeping track of how these shifts are affecting local economies. Yelp’s Coronavirus Economic Impact Report details numerous trends on how COVID-19 is causing some industries to rise and others to fall.
Bing (Microsoft Ads)
Bing (Microsoft Ads) is providing aid to small and medium businesses in the form of information compiled from authoritative news sources and their own data on the operation of local companies.
Bing Search has introduced features and a COVID-19 Live Map Tracker to help users find credible data on the location of new cases, broken down by county in the United States. Searching for terms related to “covid19” or “coronavirus” now leads to portals with accurate, up-to-date information from the CDC, the WHO, and more trustworthy sources. Information is also available through Bing Search on coronavirus prevention, symptoms, and treatment.
LinkedIn’s editorial team is curating news about COVID-19 from a variety of government and media sources – with emphasis on economic impact, how businesses are adjusting, and policies being put in place to help slow the spread of the disease. As companies increasingly shift their employees towards working from home, LinkedIn, as the professional social network of record, has resources on using LinkedIn Live to share real-time updates with interested parties, and LinkedIn Learning courses geared toward preparing remote workers for success.
Free Healthcare Social Media Services
To contribute what we can during this pandemic, AVX Digital is offering free social media management services to healthcare businesses. Let us take a task off your mind, and help you reach new and existing patients who are searching for the best advice and reassurance. Contact us today to see if you qualify – reach us at [email protected] or 410-409-0211.
Stay Informed, Seek Assistance
Staying apprised of the most up-to-date information on digital marketing best practices, financial assistance, and data on a continually-evolving economic landscape will be vital to ensure businesses are in the best position to thrive throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
Do not hesitate to contact AVX Digital with questions about business trends, marketing impact and strategy, and the ways forward. By working together, we can build successful outcomes for people and businesses alike.