HELENA — Being a small business owner means always learning and adapting.
That became a very important once COVID-19 restrictions and safety measures began changing how local proprietors interact with their customers.
“I definitely have increased my Facebook presence and have seen a pretty good increase in response back from the community,” said owner of Keeping it Green in Helena, Sarah Pederson.
Business owners like her have seen the importance of having a social media presence grow recently.
“It’s become a great way for us to be able to communicate with people, maybe in a more personal way, and certainly, more relative to the day," said Capital Sports owner Ed Beall. "We’ve made it so we can say something relevant to what’s going on right now that’s helpful to people.”
Like advertising their store’s safety precautions, hours, additional services for customers who don’t feel comfortable physically being in the store and even a chance to have a little fun.
“We do a customer appreciation event, and we did it all on ZOOM and Instagram and Facebook Live," said Beall. "And we maxed out the Zoom that we had set up and we had a lot of good interaction. We had chats going back and forth, it was fun. And we learned a lot. We were doing a prize drawing and I got comments from people that were saying ‘This is the best drawing ever because I’m doing it from my hot tub drinking a beer'.”
Even with all the positives of social media though, there is a downside.
“You know, you get negative reviews from time to time," laughed Pederson. "You can’t keep everybody happy. We try out best, but I don’t have a whole lot of problem with that.”
”Sometimes there are some personal things that happen or get said, and I try not to take that personally,” said Beall.
But what is personal for every small business owner is the success of their business. Which right now, means growing with social media.
“I’m sure it will change from one format to another and we’ll change with that," said Beall.