Since the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, we’ve seen more and more people deciding to shop local, and support small businesses in their area. With one lockdown after another, people quite frankly, didn’t have much choice to do otherwise, but also, it seems to have given people a sense of unity and solidarity within their local community.
With the effects of climate change looming over us, shopping local is also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re purchasing locally produced products, they likely won’t have travelled halfway across the country/world to reach you.
Shopping local also supports small and independent businesses in your area, so you can rest assured your money is going to someone who needs and appreciates it, rather than it being swallowed by a huge corporation.
So, if you’re doing your bit to support independent businesses in your area, then that’s great! But there may be even more you can do to show your support and make a small business owner’s day, without spending a penny.
Engage with local businesses frequently on social media
Social media algorithms seem to change on the daily, especially those for Facebook and Instagram, but one thing that always stands is engagement. If your content is regularly being liked, commented on, and shared, your posts will keep being shown to more people. Social media platforms want users to regularly engage with content, so it makes sense that the more an account gets engagement, the more posts from this account will come up in users’ feeds.
So, why does this matter for small businesses?
A couple of quick likes and comments on your part, could mean the difference between that local business reaching new potential customers, and simply being lost in the noise. Small businesses are on the same social media platforms as everyone else, so they are directly competing with big organisations that have infinitely bigger budgets to spend on marketing, advertising, and social media. It’s easy for independent businesses to get drowned out by these accounts, so anything you can do to boost them through the ranks will help them compete.
Leave a Google review
Many small businesses rely on positive feedback from their clients and customers. These days, before you commit to using a business’ services, you’re likely to do a bit of research first. This is just a matter of trust, and wanting to know you’ll be getting a friendly and reliable service that others depend on. One of the main elements in this decision-making process, is checking out the reviews the company has online. By leaving a good review for your favourite independent shop or business, you are helping that business to gain trust with future customers/clients.
Having several Google reviews also helps that business’ listing to rank higher on Google, and ultimately be more easily findable. Just as potential customers do, Google also wants to know that a business is genuine and trustworthy, and reviews help them to see that.
Leaving a review shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes, but could make a small business’ day! The more detail you can add that will help others, the better, and if you have any photos of your experience, be sure to share those too!
Voice your concerns privately
Just like a positive review can go a long way, a negative one can too. For a small business who hasn’t built up hundreds of reviews, one negative review can destroy the reputation they have worked so hard on.
If you are unhappy with the service you received, contact the business directly before heading straight for the reviews. The likelihood is that the business will appreciate you raising your concerns directly and will be more than willing to work something out.
Tag local businesses in your photos and posts
If you’ve had a lovely meal out at your local restaurant, or have found the perfect addition to your wardrobe at a boutique, why not post your photos on social media to share your experience with your friends and followers?
The more user-generated content a business receives, the more people the business will reach, and their audience will see a well-rounded image of the business. It’s one thing a business shouting about how great they are, but when their clients and customers shout about how great they are, that’s when people really listen.
When sharing your photos and reviews, be sure to tag the company’s social media accounts in the post by inserting a ‘@’ symbol, typing their page name, and selecting their page from the drop-down list. You will see that their account has been tagged correctly, when their account name turns blue in your post.
Subscribe to mailing lists
Another completely free way to support small businesses, is to sign up to their newsletters. This allows the business to keep in touch with you directly, and often has perks for you too!
Many businesses use email campaigns to keep their customers in the loop, offer them exclusive discounts, and let them know important news and updates before anyone else.
So, there you go! Five simple things you can do to support local businesses through social media, without spending a penny.
If can think of any other ways we can be supporting our local community via social media, please do share them with us via our social media channels.