Small businesses need to communicate their holiday hours. Social media makes it quick and easy. So why do so many business owners neglect this?
What do all these frustrating scenarios have in common? They all could have been prevented with social media.
And it's not just a matter of courtesy. It's about making money! Customers are likely to stay away from independent businesses, assuming that many do close on statutory holidays, and will instead choose a major chain they are confident will be open. I'm a classic example of this. I'll grab my coffee and muffin at national coffee house chain at the start of a long weekend road trip. Doing so comes at the expense of several indie cafes, simply because I'm in a rush and I don't want to go on a fools' errand. All this would change if I could instantly access their hours on social media. Time in, time out, presenting easy to access, clear information helps a business gain and retain customers.
A bakery could say: "We'll be closed on Sunday but our staff - and our homemade blueberry muffins - will be back Monday, open 9:00 to 5:00 as always. We look forward to seeing you then!"
A hardware store could say "We'll be open on Easter Friday starting at our usual time of 8:00 am. Hope you "hop" in to check out our new display of backyard gazebos. We'll be happy to help you with any project questions."
A pub could say: "Through holidays, bad weather, and even roadworks, we're still open! And this Easter long weekend, we're giving every dinner guest a complimentary coffee and mini dessert just to say thanks for including us in your plans".
Each of these posts answers the question about holiday hours, provides potential customers with an additional piece of important business information (what their normal business hours are, that a new display is ready, that there are road works outside) in a really natural way, and finally it makes them feel welcomed and valued as part of that businesses' community.
Don't worry - if you're in a rush or not feeling particularly chatty, that's okay. Just say "We'll be closed on Sunday. Happy Easter!" and rest assured that you've gotten the point across. This is definitely a time when something is better than nothing.
As always, social media is just one part of communication process. Any step you can take to clearly let customers know what is happening during the holidays is valuable. An extra sentence in your voice mail, a sign on the door a week in advance, a quick word at the cash register all go a long way to keeping people informed. And even if you're not feeling particularly tech savvy, you'll find it easier than you think to temporarily update your hours with Google. You can find an easy step by step guide here.
So what are you waiting for? "Hop" to it!