AARP Launches Platform Empowering Neighbors to Assist Each Other during Pandemic

Built by the team at AARP Innovation Labs over the course of just a few weeks, the Community Connections mutual aid aggregation platform gives volunteers and people in need a place to connect. It features a searchable directory of local mutual aid organizations, which are typically informal groups that provide key daily services, such as picking up groceries and delivering medications to people who are at high risk for contracting Covid-19. People can access the platform to find volunteer groups nearby, with links to those groups’ websites and locator maps.

Navigating Social Media Marketing in a Global Crisis

What is the role of brands in facilitating this connection? A recent report shows that 91% of people believe in social media’s power to connect people, and 78% of consumers want brands to use social media to help people connect with each other. Those numbers send a clear message to companies as they navigate a crisis that is so much bigger than their brands: create connection through relevance. 

But the question is how brands can achieve relevance right now. How can you create meaningful connections on social media during a global crisis? Here are a few tips.

Location Weekly: Google and Apple’s Covid-19 Mobile Tracking

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association hosts Rob Woodbridge and Hidetoshi Uchiyama, CEO of Unerry. Asif Khan and Aubriana Lopez also discuss Google and Apple building a Covid-19 tracking system into their OS platforms and PlaceIQ acquiring Freckle IoT. They also touch on the ethics of price gouging by home delivery services during the coronavirus crisis.

Covid-19 Tracking: Privacy Risks and Lessons for Digital Advertising

The surveillance systems now being rolled out for the pandemic are unlikely to have a direct impact on local marketers. However, the debates that they have precipitated should remind us all of the importance of customer trust when it comes to data collection. 

In short, advertisers who rely on consumer data should ensure that they are only collecting what they need, that they store and process this securely, and that they are open and transparent with their customers about collection. Many of those same best practices apply to governments collecting data to fight Covid-19.

Why and How to Take Steps Toward Brand Assurance

Companies are adapting at breakneck speed. For example, Dick’s Sporting Goods is offering curbside pickup to protect its customers and staff. DoorDash is discounting delivery services to help working parents. Walgreens is making it easier to get critical prescriptions. Measures such as these have been essential in instilling a sense of community, care, and trust.

We must not attempt to carry on business as usual. We can no longer think about marketing and advertising in the same ‘brand vs. demand’ framework. Now is the time for brand assurance — to actively fulfill brand promises, to help customers, and to maintain brand reputation. 

Can Emerging Tech Support Local’s New Normal?

I’ve been looking for discoveries that could be blessings in disguise. Just like remote work, these aren’t new concepts but ones that are now given the chance to shine. For example, I spend lots of time analyzing virtual reality, which could be a valuable virtual event tool.

But more to Street Fight’s main focus, what discoveries or business approaches could benefit local commerce? One of them could in fact be VR’s cousin, augmented reality. Its ability to help people visualize things or facilitate “see what I see” co-presence could help local service pros socially distance.

Posting and Advertising during Quarantine: 50 Small Business Social Tips for 50 Industries

While there may be a downturn in customer spending during the Covid-19 crisis, there is an increase in customer touch points and attention. With Facebook usage up 50%, it is more important than ever for small businesses to turn to social media to maintain relevance and build relationships in their local communities.

Here are 50 social tips for 50 industries, complete with some real-world examples of best-practices for SMBs to keep their communities engaged, even in a crisis.

Email Marketers See Increase in Engagement During Covid-19 Crisis

In the middle of a global health crisis, email marketers are experiencing a renaissance.

According to new data from LiveIntent, email newsletter engagement has grown during the coronavirus pandemic. Newsletters in the health and fitness and “hard news” categories, including those focused on law, government, and politics, have seen a sudden increase in engagement and click-through rates on ads.

The State of Reputation Management 2020

Not long before the COVID-19 outbreak was officially deemed a pandemic — it seems like years ago, but it was only March 11 — we planned to commemorate Street Fight’s March theme, Word of Mouth, by surveying a select number of experts in local marketing about the state of reputation management and what to look forward to in 2020. 

Current events got in the way of our plans, and therefore we’re releasing this report in April rather than March. But we were pleased that the experts we asked came through and offered a great deal of valuable insight on the priorities and challenges of reputation management for local businesses. So let’s dig in to the insights provided by local marketing leaders at ThriveHive, Reputation.com, Chatmeter, Brandify, GatherUp, Uberall, and BrightLocal.

Location Weekly: Uber Eats Moves into Grocery, Foursquare Merges with Factual

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association covers Uber Eats moving into grocery delivery, Foursquare merging with Factual, Filipino super app SIF expanding services during Covid-19, and the OutStreets app pivoting to monitor store shelf levels during crisis. Gimbal’s CMO/COO Matt Russo joins for the first installment of the LBMA series “Members at Home.”

No Time to Think Small: Innovate on SMB Reputation Management

A small business’ reputation is the company’s most valuable intangible asset. During this current climate, we are seeing successful brands adapting quickly to their customers’ change in lifestyle and priorities. They’re catering for their isolation with services that make their lives not only easier but also more entertaining. By remaining engaged and keeping conversations fluid, small businesses will be able to weather the storm as well as keep and attract new customers.

A trustworthy and actionable understanding of local communities is now more important than ever.

Here are a few ways small businesses can build and sustain a healthy reputation.

The Upside of Being Down: How to Market Your Small Business During Coronavirus

Studies show that eliminating advertising during tough times can lead to a decrease in sales. Business owners may view marketing as a discretionary cost and forgo it because they are bringing in less. But consumer and advertising spend are significant drivers of revenue, even in the midst of a downturn.    

Coming out of the Great Recession of the late 2000s, marketers learned a valuable lesson: Going dark can have long-term consequences. Instead, business owners should adjust their marketing approach to reach audiences in thoughtful new ways. Here are some tips.

Location Weekly: Unacast, Krowdthink, Inpixon Tackle Coronavirus

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association covers Unacast releasing a “Social Distancing Dashboard” to share how Americans are complying, Inpixon offering LBS tech to help hospitals with COVID-19, McDonald’s separating its Golden Arches in Brazil, and Yelp offering $25M in free ads to bars and restaurants. The show also features Geoff Revill, the co-founder and CEO of LBMA member company Krowdthink, who discusses the use of Community Krowd to assist the UK Home Office in the coronavirus crisis.

Local Businesses Lean Heavily on Digital Tools During Covid-19

Digital platforms like Facebook, Google, Instagram, Yelp, and Twitter have never been more important for local businesses. With 80% of customers saying they are scaling down their restaurant visits now, restaurants are in uncharted territory. Local businesses in every industry are being forced to adapt their marketing strategies on the fly and use digital channels like Google and Yelp to keep people updated on their status.

Restaurants that were previously hesitant to use delivery services are now jumping on the bandwagon, and apps like DoorDash, Instacart, and UberEats are seeing a surge in businesses using their platforms. Smaller restaurants, retailers, and other local businesses are also beginning to accept more orders through messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Larger organizations are managing an influx of customer service calls using chatbots on these same platforms.

Coronavirus and Mobile Advertising: CPMs, Sensitivity, Geographic Comparisons

The Covid-19 crisis is a challenging time for all industries, but for mobile marketers it poses a paradoxical challenge. On the one hand, people are on their phones and engaging with media as much as ever. On the other hand, the economic downturn is putting a strain on marketing budgets, employees are working from home, and messaging during a public health crisis requires unusual sensitivity.

Brian Bowman, CEO of social marketing and user acquisition firm Customer Acquisition, provided Street Fight his takes on the current state of the mobile ad market, where it’s headed in the coming weeks, and how advertisers can approach their work with consideration for the difficulty of these times.

Street Fight’s April Theme: Local Commerce in the Time of Coronavirus

We’ll devote coverage this month to the virus’ continued outbreak and its effect on local business. Of course, the airwaves and ether are already filled with pandemic coverage, and we won’t look to compete with that. Rather, we’ll be writing specifically about the crisis’ impact on local commerce, marketing, and related subjects.

In fact, we’ve already gotten started. Our March theme of reputation management barely got off the ground before we and many of our contributors came to the realization that it didn’t really feel right to talk about anything other than Covid-19. Don’t worry, we’ll give reputation management an encore performance later in the year.

This Startup Is Helping Local Stores ID Customers During COVID-19

Chatbots are helping resolve customer service issues when businesses are closed and call centers are slammed, but brick-and-mortar stores are still struggling to adapt to an online-only business format. Pure play ecommerce outlets have spent years developing systems to manage transactions and verify customer identities, but most retailers on Main Street are accustomed to seeing shoppers in person and visually checking IDs.

A San Francisco-based startup called Persona is offering to help those local businesses adapt by giving away its online ID verification service for free during the COVID-19 crisis.

7 Delivery Apps Keeping Restaurants, Grocers Afloat During COVID-19

Dozens of states have banned dine-in service at restaurants, and nearly as many are requiring retailers to close up shop in a bid to slow down the coronavirus outbreak. As local businesses deal with the enormous financial implications that come with closing down to customers, many are trying out delivery services for the very first time.

For restaurants and other local businesses interested in offering their products via on-demand delivery, here are seven delivery platforms with which local businesses can partner during the Covid-19 crisis.

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Accurate Location Data Can Save Hassles and Even Lives

Updating your location data management information to reflect new hours, store closures, different contact information or special announcements is important for business success in general. In the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, maintaining accurate location data can actually have vital consequences for public health.

Yet a BrandMuscle study found that less than 60% of local business owners had even claimed their online business listings, which can lead to confusion about whether businesses are open or not. 

Location Weekly: Using Location Data to Track Covid-19

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association covers Turkish firm Elektral developing vending machine for masks, wipes, and disinfectants; UNL raising $2M for smart address system; Wuhan bringing its famous Cherry Blossoms online; and Israeli startup Noveto bringing “smart audio bubbles” to digital signage. The episode also features a special discussion on using location data to track the virus.