NEW Information – Friday, March 20

Facebook is offering $100m in Small Business Advertising Grants- Facebook Small Business Grants

The Small Business Administration is offering SBA Disaster Loans for Small Businesses & Nonprofits. They suggest you file now.

During this time of uncertainty, we have multiple concerns- just like you. We are obviously concerned about public health and keeping people safe. We also want our downtown businesses, attractions and other partners to weather the COVID-19 storm – to either be able to stay in business during the pandemic or to reopen when it is over. Here are some tips that we shared today in a Facebook Live with Shreveport marketing expert Sara Hebert.

Due to heavy Internet traffic, we had to do several lives to get everything said. Here’s what we have:

Facebook Segment 1
Segment 2
Segment 3
Segment 4
Segment 5

This is the information we talked about in the Facebook lives.

There are more posts than ever from social media users and brands. How do you stand out?

  • Lengthy Copy Loses Eyeballs – Your posts should be very precise and to the point.
  •  Pay for Placement – Determine your core audience to save money. It’s predicted that big companies are beginning to reduce their online ad spend by about 20 billion dollars globally. That means good things for small businesses who want to get lower online ad costs.
    • Ad reviews are taking longer on all platforms so plan ahead
  •  Remember Daily Stories – ex. if you are a restaurant, post your hours and specials EVERY DAY. Figure out how to get creative in those posts.
  • Great Photos are always needed, create visual contrast with the platform
  • People are online ALL THE TIME, don’t waste this opportunity. Schedule your posts to take advantage of this around-the-clock activity. 
  • Access Your Social Capital.  Get your friends to share, & widen your circle as able. 

 People need encouragement and inspiration right now. Celebrate your team, do something funny, try to stay cheerful. 

Now is the time to prove your business’ value to its customers. 

Experiment with new options (E-commerce, gift cards, pilot new services, curbside and video conferencing, take and cook, delivery, frozen/take and make meals, contactless payments).

 Try video. Before lauching into a Facebook Live, try something pre-recorded, just a good morning or hello/thank message to your community. Then experiment with live video. Keep in mind:

  • Double check your surroundings and background. You don’t want a plant growing out of your head or to be sitting in front of an offensive poster. 
  • Be consistent and promote a schedule.
  • Personal connection, engage your views (say hi to who is tuning in)
  • Repeat messaging, always use a call to action and repeat it. 
  • Can you use live video to sell your products? Maybe host an auction or demonstration, a class or the like.
    • The Agora Borealis in Shreveport did a great thing in putting together health and wellness and food baskets using items from multiple artisans. They are selling them on their FB page for pickup at their store. A win for the store, the artists and the buyer! 
    • Virtual concerts with Venmo/Paypal
    • Cooking classes with recipe delivered via email for a donation
    • Drawings and painting classes, downloadables for parents/teachers
  • Promote others’ videos and ask for promotion for yours in return. 
  • Promote in advance with countdown posts, posts with your schedule.

 Collect and use your customer’s email addresses and phone numbers. Email newsletters and text promotion is valuable and personal – social platforms come and go. Communicate personally.

Plan for the comeback

  • Gift cards – project how this will impact you and how much you can sell now vs. cost later 
  • Get trained during downtime: lots of free resources from fb, google, twitter, camera.

Check back here often for more updates. 

We have been talking to downtowns around the country over the past few days. Locable reached out to us with a very good blog they put together with tips we can use to market our businesses and our community. See Locable’s Blog Here.


Restaurants risk seeing numbers fall it people become afraid to eat out. Sara Hebert of All Y’all Marketing works with the Shreveport DDA to market downtown and she created a ‘good ideas guide’ of things other restaurants around the country are doing. Note in particular how one is removing tables to create additional social distancing.

Emerging Social Tactics -Restaurants

Finally is this very good report from WhizBang Training, a company that has worked to support retail businesses for the past 20 years.

WhizBang Retail Special Report

Very soon, the Downtown Development Authority will be deploying some new marketing graphics to support you during this uncertain time. For those uncomfortable with going to a restaurant, we will be encouraging purchase of gift cards, gift certificates and food delivery services. For our retail and attraction partners, we will encourage persons to buy gift cards and certificates, and for our nonprofit partners, we will be encouraging donations

DELIVERY- Not all of our downtown restaurants use delivery services. For those who do not, we have been told that there are two locals willing to run deliveries downtown (only) at no cost to the restaurant. They would simply charge a delivery fee. If this sounds like something you would like to offer, we will get everyone together to talk about it.

The news about the Coronavirus, COVID-19, is changing by the day and no one knows-with any certainty- when the outbreak may end. We will be constantly monitoring to determine what changes we need to make to help you. If you need to contact us for any reason, you can email us here. 

Let’s stay in touch. We will all get through this together.