As we continue to navigate through this global pandemic, it can be challenging to stay on top of marketing industry news. At SOCi, we’re committed to providing you the most up-to-date information surrounding localized marketing. From Yelp and GMB to Instagram, there have been some critical updates within the last week to help reduce consumer confusion during this time and make things as easy and informative as possible. 

Yelp Creates COVID-19 Advisory Alert Banner 

 Amid COVID-19, many multi-location businesses have had to make adjustments to their hours of operation if not close altogether. To help raise awareness around this situation, Yelp has created a COVID-19 advisory alert banner that is currently being displayed at the top of all Yelp business pages. 

As a multi-location business, you can now edit this alert and communicate specific updates about your business in response to COVID-19. It is critical that your business takes advantage of this functionality and keeps consumers updated throughout this pandemic. If your business doesn’t provide a customized update, Yelp will showcase a generic banner on your local business page. 

Below is a customized banner for a Yelp page that includes information about when the business will be closed until, and updated contact information to use while the business is closed. 

As mentioned previously, the goal during this pandemic is to keep consumers as informed as possible. Updates like this Yelp banner can help your business communicate effectively and efficiently. 

Instagram Aims to Keep People Safe and Informed  

Like many other search and social platforms, Instagram has also made some changes to keep people safe and informed through the COVID-19 outbreak. Instagram created a playbook that marketers can use to navigate communication during the pandemic. 

Inside the playbook, Instagram provides information on how brands can take action during COVID-19 by: 

  • Connecting with your local community
  • Expanding business and marketing efforts digitally 
  • Communicating with your customers

In addition to information on how to take action, the playbook also includes several how-to tutorials. For instance, many businesses are choosing to go live during this time. The playbook includes a full tutorial on how to go live and connect with people, in the moment. Postino Wine Cafe is a great example of a business who is connecting with consumers during this time by hosting virtual happy hours through Instagram Live. 

If your multi-location business is having difficulty developing localized messaging during this time, this playbook can help. While it is written specifically for Instagram, it can also be used to inspire content for other search and social platforms. Because there is already so much unknown right now, it’s essential to maintain your business’s communication. Consumers want to feel secure, and this playbook provides examples of how to express empathy, and make your consumers feel heard. 

GMB Continues to Make Changes to Its Platform

As you may already know, Google My Business (GMB) has already made quite a few changes over the past few weeks. From pausing Google Posts, reviews, and Q&A temporarily, to adding new features, there’s a lot to keep up with. 

Most recently, GMB re-enabled review replies. This was on pause for a few weeks but is now available again. It’s important to mention that new reviews are still on pause at the time this blog was written, along with Google Q&A. Google noted in their article that they are working to slowly restore all functionality for both reviews and its Q&A feature. 

It is also important to note that while reviews have been paused for the majority of businesses, GMB will prioritize reviews and edits critical to health-related companies. For the time being, your multi-location business must continue replying to reviews that are already posted on your GMB account – even if your business is not receiving new reviews. Whether the review is positive or negative, a response goes a long way. Check out our blog on the topic for more information about responding to reviews.

If there’s one thing that we have learned during this pandemic, it’s that things continue to change at a daily pace, if not more often. While these are the most recent industry updates, it’s important to keep monitoring for new changes. During this pandemic, SOCi will do its best to keep you informed with the most up-to-date information and help your multi-location business navigate through this difficult time.

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