For many businesses, social media has become a lifeline to customers during COVID-19. It’s enabled companies to not only keep the dialogue going in real time, but reimagine the way they engage with existing and prospective customers for a more dynamic experience and increased loyalty. For some, it’s even created opportunities to make customers feel understood and valued, launch a new business or create an additional revenue stream.

 musicians of rockit academy on stage
Lincroft, New Jersey-based RockIt founder Bruce Gallipani with his musicians on stage. — Rockit Academy

Bruce Gallipani, founder and executive director, Rockit Live Foundation & Rockit Academy

We are a live music education school. Each semester, we choose a theme and bring it to the big stage for an exciting concert. To say that this pandemic hit us hard is an understatement. We’ve stayed afloat by bringing most classes online, primarily individual music lessons. In November 2019, the Rockit Academy joined in a partnership with Brookdale Community College. When everything shut down in March, we were midway through rehearsals for our scheduled concert. If not for the love and support of Brookdale Community College, the Rockit Academy may have been shut down for good. Through the power of technology and social media, we were able to have our concert. Students from our academy were able to take the stage in a Facebook livestream outdoor summer concert. Through the many challenges of bringing our bands together while keeping students from our academy safe, we were able to pull off another professional concert through the magic of social media. Follow RockIt on Instagram: @rockitlivefoundation.

 jeff rosen of rosen nissan
Jeff Rosen, founder of Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Rosen Nissan, hosting Facebook Live shows from his dealership. — Rosen Nissan of Milwaukee

Jeff Rosen, owner, Rosen Nissan of Milwaukee

During COVID-19, we started doing a lot for the community, including lending cars, supplying face masks and using social media as the main point of not only outreach, but entertainment. We have been utilizing Facebook Live for everything from helping people navigate what it’s now like going to drive-in movies to how to be road-trip ready. We bring on smaller local businesses to highlight and promote them and their social platforms, keeping it fun and engaging with trivia questions, prizes and gift certificates. We recently teamed up with organizers and vendors from the State Fair to livestream a “Carnival Food Drive-Thru.” We have also hosted a local bike expert who shared insider information on where all the bike paths are and how to safely mount a bike to a car. Our goal is to stay connected with and support the community while giving back to other small businesses. Follow Rosen Nissan on Facebook: @RosenNissanMilwaukee.

 loryn purvis headshot
Loryn Purvis, owner of Orange County, California-based Picnic Artisanal Grazing. — Picnic Artisanal Grazing

Loryn Purvis, owner, Picnic Artisanal Grazing

We have relied on social media for 100% of our business. I began this business in April after the cooking school I teach at had been closed for over a month due to COVID-19. I posted one picture of a grazing box and let my friends know I wanted to give away five of them to whoever could use a pick-me-up. Those friends each posted a photo of their box on social media — not because I asked them to, but because the product itself is too pretty not to share — and things quickly snowballed from there. People love photographing their food and sharing the fun things they are enjoying, especially right now when it can be hard to find fun, and that was a huge advantage for my business. Follow Picnic Artisanal Grazing on Instagram: @picnic.artisanal.grazing.

 video meeting by kielo digital
New York City-based Kielo Digital founder, Anette Nilsen (center) in a meeting with other business owners. — Kielo Digital

Anette Nilsen, owner, Kielo Digital

I started my company, Kielo Digital, in February as a response to a growing need for small businesses to upgrade their social media game. In early 2020, pre-COVID-19, simply doing it themselves no longer made the cut for accelerating the growth of small businesses. As the physical world shut down, everyone flocked to social media advertising. Many of my clients have found that doubling down on a niche market that truly champions their brand or product category is worth spending advertising money on. The pandemic has shifted the focus toward audiences supporting small businesses. Many are making the shift toward collaborations with fellow local brands, artists and influencers to create the content they want while bringing the essence of their city and neighborhood to life — and featuring the founders/owners more than ever before! Follow Kielo Digital on LinkedIn: @Kielo Digital.

 online courses offered by The Great Courses
Chantilly, Virginia-based The Great Courses is using live chats to make learning accessible and dynamic during COVID-19. — The Great Courses

Paul K. Suijk, president & CEO, The Teaching Company (publisher of The Great Courses)

Distance learning is something The Great Courses has excelled at for almost 30 years. When the stay-at-home orders were first put into place, The Great Courses made a point to make learning accessible. We extended our free trial time period and worked with libraries through Kanopy to provide courses on their platform. We made two courses completely free, releasing “An Introduction to Infectious Diseases,” “Great Tours: DC” and “Building Your Resiliency” to help people be informed and entertained. We also produced three lectures, each offering advice about the coronavirus. We carved out a COVID-19-specific section on our blog,, where the full courses as well as news and interviews can be found. In addition, we have been filming live interviews through Facebook and YouTube on topics ranging from historical perspectives on the pandemic to chair yoga and more. We’ve focused on bringing new content to our fans to liven up their time in isolation or relax them as they come home from working essential jobs. Follow The Great Courses on Facebook: @TheGreatCourses.

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