Community involvement, adaptability and social media can help businesses grow during the pandemic – Press and Guide

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When the COVID-19 pandemic turned everyone’s lives upside down in 2020, one of the industries hardest hit was the food service industry. Some have even closed permanently due to this unprecedented disruption, which continues into 2022 with the omicron variant.

Gordon Djordjevski, right, at a table with his father Danny Djordveski. (Photo courtesy of Gordon Djordjevski)

Fortunately, some business owners were able to survive the pandemic and even thrive. The business that my family has operated for decades in three locations, including one in Dearborn Heights, is among those that break all records.

It hasn’t been easy, but through community engagement, adaptability, and mastery of social media, we’ve been able to attract new businesses, keep our doors open, and expand our customer base.

Early in 2022, now is a great time for business owners to take a look at how they operate and make the necessary adjustments to help them thrive. Here are some tips that can help business owners take the reins and control their success over the coming year.

Get involved in your community

With people not dining in restaurants during the first days of the pandemic, we had to refocus. My family has been committed to keeping our restaurants clean and safe, including using hospital grade disinfectant to clean our equipment and educating the public through social media posts. As a result, take-out activities started to recover.

We also helped frontline workers who worked long hours in community hospitals, police and fire departments by providing free food donations. This type of support is greatly appreciated by the brave men and women who provide essential services throughout Michigan and can still be offered today. Community efforts like this are not only necessary, they also show that you care and help bond the community and your business. We saw our business at Boneyard BBQ start to grow organically, as residents came to thank us for supporting these heroes.

Be ready to adapt and rotate when needed

Whatever product or service you offer, be aware that you may need to change your business strategy. If the pandemic doesn’t allow you to do business the way you are used to, find an online or virtual alternative that will entice customers to come to your business. If in-person service is less inviting due to COVID, favor curbside, pickup, or delivery services more.

If you are on the verge of simply surviving, as so many businesses have achieved during the pandemic, all options must be on the table – partnering with other local businesses is something you can do and that is. mutually beneficial. Do whatever you can not to let obstacles stop your momentum – just approach it from a new angle.

On social media, content is king

At Boneyard BBQ, our digital strategy has focused on stepping up our social media efforts on Facebook and Instagram – and as a result, business has grown by at least 40% since the start of the pandemic. In nearly 50 years of operating our family business, we have never seen such growth. This story may seem unique and inaccessible, but it doesn’t have to be.

The key on social media is to be a storyteller. Tell compelling stories in your social content, and people will be engaged and loyal to your brand. Have fun in your videos. There are options to apply special effects and music to grab people’s attention and make videos more entertaining. Keep videos short, 20 seconds to a minute. Start strong, because the first 3 seconds is what will attract people. Another tactic is to have a theme or storyline that is followed across multiple videos, which keeps people interested later on.

In our experience, social media posts and videos can have an immediate effect on businesses. Boneyard BBQ’s Facebook page reaches over 4,700 followers, and the number is around 2,400 on Instagram, so once a video is posted it can be seen by 15,000 people once shared. We started to schedule the staff to coincide with the video releases, to deal with the rush that ensued. Increasing the number of your social media followers will mean more eyes on your content.

As we continue to navigate the pandemic, social media strategy will be one of the key factors that will determine which businesses are successful. I recommend any struggling business – in the Dearborn region and this state – consider these tips when developing your strategy for 2022.

Good luck on your travels!

Gordon Djordjevski (Photo courtesy of Gordon Djordjevski)

Gordon Djordjevski and his family own and operate three Boneyard BBQ locations, one in Dearborn Heights and others in Farmington Hills and Livonia. The family have been in the restaurant business since 1972. Gordon manages social media for all three locations and can be contacted by email at [email protected]

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