Home Articles posted by BusinessWest Staff
Marketing Tips

Courtesy of https://www.atomicdc.com/

Marketing during a pandemic? Permission to adapt and proceed. Now is not the time to go silent. Online engagement is surging with social distancing in place. More people are spending more time on social media and accessing web-based resources than ever before. There’s a great opportunity to reach your audience and provide them with information, interaction, positive thoughts, and relevant resources.

They need to know if you’re still operational, what services you’re now offering, how you’re adjusting (it’s okay to be human), and how you can help. They need to be reassured that if they interact with your company or employees, appropriate cautions are in place.

What you CAN & SHOULD do:
Now is the time to emphasize any online products, pre-sales (think gift certificates or vouchers), or delivery services you offer. People are also looking for great resources and activities to stay productive and positive.

Update customers on changes in your operations.
Communicate any hours, service, safety protocols, or operation updates that have been made via:
Your website
Email lists
Social media accounts
Post updates to your Google My Business listing! (VERY important)
Online directories such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, etc.

Read more


Daily News

NORTHAMPTON — While concern for staff, client, and volunteer health during the COVID-19 pandemic recently forced Northampton Survival Center to temporarily stop client visits to pick up food, the center anticipates resuming modified operations as soon as possible. In the meantime, even though the building is closed, the work continues, with new community partnerships and initiatives springing into action, said Heidi Nortonsmith, executive director.

The center has teamed up with Community Action Pioneer Valley to begin distributing food out of Jackson Street School, a nearby location with ample, circular parking and cafeteria and refrigeration capabilities. Beginning on April 6, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, food will be delivered by the Survival Center to the school, where a team of trained personnel will be able to create pre-bagged packages of nutritious food while maintaining safe distancing and other health precautions. On those same afternoons, bags will be carted outdoors under a tent, for quick drive-up intake and food transfer to clients safely in their cars.

Another initiative between the Northampton Survival Center and Grow Food Northampton will begin on April 7, with fresh produce and groceries being delivered every Tuesday to high-need sites including Hampshire Heights, Florence Heights, Meadowbrook, and the Lumber Yard on Pleasant Street. Food distribution at all four sites will work in tandem with the Northampton public-school system and Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School’s new meal-delivery program for children, in order to amplify each other’s efforts to keep children and their entire families fed. Shelf-stable groceries will be paired with fresh produce purchased directly from local farms, as well as produce and other goods purchased from distributors via River Valley Co-op.

With this partnership, in the words of Grow Food Northampton Executive Director Alisa Klein, “we are floating all boats higher and doing exactly what just, successful food systems should do — make the connection between local farmers and the people who need fresh, healthy food the most because of a lack of access, financially and otherwise.”

To serve clients in the hilltowns, food is being brought from the Hilltown Pantry and Northampton Survival Center to the various Councils on Aging that serve the region. COAs in Chesterfield, Worthington, and Goshen have already begun distributing this food from their sites, and further outreach is being coordinated with the Hilltown Community Health Center and the Hilltown Community Development Corp. The center is exploring using a school classroom in Worthington as a mini-pantry, and fresh produce has been shared with the Maples senior housing in Worthington.

Eggs from Northampton Survival Center have been shared with the MANNA hot meal program, and fresh produce and retail donations of bread and other items usually reserved for the center are now being shared with other food pantries in the area, via the center’s partners at the Food Bank.

“These are just a few of the first directions taking shape,” Nortonsmith said. “Please know that we continue to work on the front lines of providing food security to our neighbors in need. The form will be different for a while, as so much around the world has been turned on its head. But our hearts and hands are still in this, and we’re working with great and good leaders across the Valley to do our part. Thank you for being part of our team and cheering us on.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Women Empowered, a group that strives to promote body positivity and acceptance for both adult women and future generations of girls, has donated $2,500 in proceeds of its Women Empowered calendar sales to Girls Inc. of the Valley. The receipt of this gift will support Girls Inc. of the Valley’s current research-based program offerings designed to empower girls, and will provide a boost in its annual fundraising efforts.

“The mission of Women Empowered is to help expand and challenge our society’s limited standards of beauty,” said Michelle Crean, founder of Women Empowered. “We have chosen to have all proceeds from the sale of the calendars go to Girls Inc. of the Valley because their mission of making all girls strong, smart, and bold aligns with our mission.”

The Women Empowered calendar features a diverse group of everyday women who have embraced their uniqueness, have overcome physical and mental obstacles, celebrate their bodies, and want to share their story to inspire others. This calendar provides the chance to send a message of body positivity and acceptance in order to teach other women and future generations to embrace the totality of who they are, and use their gifts, their beauty, and their stories to change the world. Everyone involved with the production of the calendar and all sponsors are women-owned businesses.

COVID-19 Daily News

MONSON — Baystate Health has just completed construction of a rapid-response triage area outside of the Baystate Medical Center Emergency Department, allowing the hospital to better protect patients and medical staff from exposure to the virus as patients are being screened and tested.

This new triage area is just one of the many large, unplanned expenses this health emergency has created. Additionally, the exploding demand for personal protection equipment for staff and myriad other needs to fight this outbreak are stretching resources and finances to the limit.

Monson Savings Bank has donated $25,000 to Baystate’s Greatest Needs Fund. This gift will directly support resources needed at Baystate Health as it continues to address and prepare for the care the community needs during this worldwide pandemic.

“At a time like this, our hearts go out to the doctors, nurses, and other medical staff who are the front line in our fight against this terrible virus,” bank President Steve Lowell said. “We hope that this donation will help them and show that our community thanks them for their valiant efforts.”

COVID-19 Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Adam Berman, president of JGS Lifecare, issued a statement to update the community regarding COVID-19, which has infected 29 residents of Leavitt Family Jewish Home.

“JGS Lifecare is committed to doing everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to our residents and staff,” he said. “We strictly maintain and follow effective infection control procedures as mandated by state and federal regulations and have made many additional changes, including institutng a no-visitor policy to reduce the risk of infection.

“Up until early this week, we had a few isolated cases in which residents and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in the Jewish Nursing Home. In all cases, we took aggressive steps to quarantine anyone with close contact. Residents who tested positive were transferred to an isolation unit and cared for by a separate and dedicated care team. Staff members with symptoms were asked to remain at home and self-quarantine.

“Beginning this week, we proactively began the process of testing our residents throughout the facility. Late last night and early this morning, we were notified by the lab that we have 29 residents in our facility who tested positive with COVID-19. Some are experiencing only mild symptoms, and many more are stable and showing signs of recovery.

“We are working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Longmeadow Fire Department, and other local authorities to take all possible actions to protect our residents, staff, and community. Any resident with a confirmed case of COVID-19 is being moved into our isolation unit and treated by a designated COVID care team. We will also continue to perform tests on all our residents until we feel confident we have firm control of the situation.

“To help our clinical staff remain focused on taking care of our residents, we have created a robust communications team. This team has been directly contacting the families of all our residents several times a week to keep them informed. To protect resident confidentiality, we are only able to speak to designated family members and have asked them to more broadly communicate with other interested parties if appropriate.

“We understand that this is a stressful time for everyone,” Berman concluded. “We will continue to work hard to serve our mission of providing the best-quality care for our residents and full support for all our families.”

Marketing Tips

Courtesy of https://www.klaviyo.com/

It’s been a tough few weeks for, well, the world as we navigate a new normal amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

From a personal standpoint, many of us are practicing social distancing by staying inside, canceling plans, and avoiding crowded spaces. 

Professionally, most of us are working from home with an indefinite timeline of when we’ll be returning to our offices. If you’re working in ecommerce, you’re likely experiencing interruptions to your day-to-day operations due to supply chain issues, changes in demand, and retail closures, to name just a few of the many challenges businesses are currently facing. 

During this time, there are many questions that arise around how you should move forward—do you continue marketing as normal? Should you address the situation at hand? Do you communicate the measures you’re taking as a brand or make yourself scarce in the inbox? Should you push off that large announcement or new product release? How much communication is enough and how much is too much?

Read more

Marketing Tips

Courtesy of https://www.socialmediatoday.com

Like every social platform, LinkedIn has seen an influx in user activity over the past two weeks. 

With people around the world staying home to limit the spread of COVID-19, professionals have been logging on to LinkedIn to stay informed, and to keep updated as to how other businesses are handling the situation, in order to inform their own approach.

LinkedIn engagement has been increasing for some time, so it’s not surprising to see more people turning to the platform for professional advice. And this week, LinkedIn has provided some tips on how people can make best use of its platform to better connect and engage with their networks.

First off, LinkedIn has provided some more general posting tips, beyond the COVID-19 situation alone, which could help you improve your posting strategies for the platform.

Read more

COVID-19 Daily News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) took effect Wednesday, and the Department of Labor has released a temporary rule intended to shed some light on the trickier pieces of the law, such as calculating the total number of employees at a company, calculating ‘partial pay,’ and the application of the small-employer exemption. The temporary rule will remain in effect through Dec. 31, 2020.

According to the attorneys at Royal, P.C., the FFCRA created two new emergency paid-leave requirements: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act requires covered employers to provide up to 80 hours of sick leave to employees at full pay for qualifying reasons. The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of expanded FMLA, 10 of which are paid at partial pay. A covered employer is an employer that employs fewer than 500 employees. Employers may avail themselves of certain tax reimbursements under the law through refundable tax credits.

Small employers (under 50 employees) may be eligible for an exemption from having to provide an employee with paid sick leave and expanded family medical leave when the leave would be to care for the employee’s child whose school or place of care is closed. This limited exemption is applicable only if the employer can demonstrate that such leave would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

While the new regulations are intended to provide guidance on the law, many of the components of its application (calculations of pay, tax credits, the counting of employees, and the possible exemptions) are quite complex, and there still are many gray areas.

If you have any questions about navigating the requirements of the FFCRA and its regulations, contact attorney Amy Royal at [email protected], (413) 586-2288, or (413) 695-1075. Attorney Fred Royal is also available to answer any questions, including tax questions related to these issues; he can be reached at (413) 586-2288 or (413) 552-7029.

COVID-19 Daily News

HOLYOKE — Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Wednesday that the Governor’s Office has hired attorney Mark Pearlstein to conduct an independent investigation of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home and the events that led to the recent and ongoing deaths from COVID-19 within that facility.

The investigation will focus both on the events inside the facility that led to the deaths of veterans in the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, and on management and organizational oversight of the COVID-19 response in the facility.

The state announced the deaths of two additional veterans at the Soldiers’ Home on Wednesday, bringing the total deaths of veteran residents to 15. Six of the deceased have been confirmed with COVID-19 so far, with other tests pending. In addition, 11 other veteran residents and seven staff members have tested positive.

Pearlstein has substantial experience in the investigation and trial of complex white-collar criminal cases and other government enforcement matters. He practiced as a federal prosecutor in Boston’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, where he served as chief of the office’s Economic Crimes Unit from 1994 to 1996, and was the first assistant U.S. attorney from 1996 until 2000, where he supervised the Civil and Criminal divisions of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Currently, Pearlstein is a partner at McDermott, Will & Emery, where he concentrates his practice on white-collar criminal defense, defense of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission actions, complex commercial litigation, arbitration, and internal investigations.

COVID-19 Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Glenmeadow President and CEO Anne Thomas announced on Wednesday that a resident has tested positive for COVID-19, representing the first case of the disease on site.

Thomas said the resident was symptomatic and was visited by her primary-care physician on March 27. Based on her pre-existing health status and on-site assessment, the resident was tested and directed to isolate in her apartment pending the results.

“The results came back positive early this morning, and we were notified shortly thereafter,” Thomas said. “As always, we want to make sure we are keeping the community informed, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. We are taking every step possible to protect our residents, our staff, and the community.”

Thomas said Glenmeadow staff are taking direction from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Longmeadow Emergency Management personnel.

In accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), she noted, Glenmeadow has instituted enhanced protocols, in addition to those it instituted roughly three weeks ago, when building access was restricted to residents and essential personnel only.

Thomas said the resident is being isolated in the bedroom/bathroom of the apartment, and the private aide she employs will continue to provide support and will be the only caregiver quarantined with her in the apartment.

Any Glenmeadow staff member who has entered the apartment within the last two weeks is being evaluated, and will be sent home to self-quarantine if appropriate. Also, per CDC guidelines, the apartment will be cleaned by a person wearing personal protective equipment.

“The health and wellness of those we serve and employ remains our priority,” Thomas said, noting that Glenmeadow will continue existing protocols that have been in place since the beginning of March. These include:

• Glenmeadow’s management team meets daily by conference call to review updates by local, state, and federal agencies. This learning has been used to update policies, procedures, and communication with all Glenmeadow audiences;

• Access to the building at 24 Tabor Crossing is restricted to residents and essential personnel only, and a screening procedure is in place at the entrance;

• Glenmeadow’s visiting physicians, Drs. May Awkal and Suzanne Jorey, will continue to see their patients in resident apartments at the life-plan community;

• Glenmeadow’s licensed nursing staff is in the building 24/7, and staff are tracking all resident illnesses; and

• Life-enrichment programs are being offered on Glenmeadow’s in-house TV channel, 918.

For further news and alerts from Glenmeadow, visit its blog at glenmeadow.org/blog, which it has been updating daily since March 11.

In these times, many people will be working remotely. In addition to accessing BusinessWest online, readers may wish to add their home address. To do this, e-mail [email protected], visit  https://businesswest.com/contact-us/subscribe/, or call 413.781.8600.