(NC) For local businesses facing closures, layoffs and regulatory obstacles during COVID-19, connecting with the local community may be an essential tool for re-building.

According to a recent survey, during the pandemic nearly 80 per cent of Canadians polled saw the value of local businesses in their community.

Christopher Doyle, Canada’s managing director of Nextdoor, an app that connects you with the people and businesses in your neighbourhood, says that during the height of the pandemic they saw a 15 times increase in conversation about small businesses on the platform.

“Local businesses are the backbone of strong neighbourhoods,” he shares. “Across the country, we’ve seen that people are looking for ways to support local companies during this time. They are rooting for them to survive.”

For local businesses looking to tap into their communities, digital tools are a safe and simple place to start. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Communicate often.
    Keep your community in the loop of what’s happening at your business. From new offerings to enhanced protocols that keep customers safe, keeping your neighbours aware of what you’re up to will help keep your business top of mind.
  2. Focus on local.
    Use a tool that will help you connect with the people who live, eat and shop in your community. For example, Nextdoor offers free features for local businesses that enable them to share important updates directly with their neighbours and even reward them with local deals. Companies can also post directly into the newsfeed, allowing them to reach customers without having to build a following like you do on other platforms.
  3. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
    It’s easy to say, but the world is changing fast. Trying new ways to deliver your services will help keep you relevant and stand out among the competition. While it may not feel like it, this is the time to take risks and innovate.

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