How To Help Small Businesses Right Now
Six months ago, few of us could have predicted the state of the world we currently find ourselves in. Along with the health concerns COVID-19 presents us with, and the added stress from social distancing, there’s an economic impact we’ll need to overcome.
This article isn’t about coronavirus or anything political, it’s about how you can help the small businesses you love in ways you might not have thought of. Many businesses have had to do a sharp pivot to survive, and now is not the time to be silently cheering them on. They need you to be loud.
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Lots of businesses are stepping up their social media game right now. Find them online, follow them and engage with their posts. This tells the algorithm that they’re posting good stuff, and businesses need this. The organic reach of social media is important, so help them out with some engagement.
Post and tag
Bought a takeaway coffee? Photograph it, post it on your socials, tag the seller and check-in to the location if you can. This helps tell your local friends the place is open, and, depending on your privacy settings, lets other locals know you’re a fan.
It also tells that cafe you appreciate the effort they’re making, and that’s sometimes worth more than dollars.
The same goes if you’ve ordered something online and had it delivered. (More activewear anyone?) Post about it, make sure your friends know you’re supporting these stores. This is especially important if you’re buying from small businesses who may have only just got their online store up and running.
Drop them a 5-star rating and review
They might not want to ask, but all businesses need this. The easiest way to review is on Google, either via Maps or Google directly. Simply search the businesses you love until you see their reviews and hit the button to add your review. You need to be logged in on Google to do this, but it’s easy and worth it.
Then go a step further and find your favourite businesses wherever they are present online and review them there too. For restaurants, this might be various booking platforms or local directories. For authors, it’s the numerous online bookstores that exist.
Don’t forget to review and recommend them on their own social media platforms too. From their business page, there’ll be a “Reviews” section and you can add your love to that.
Support what they are doing
Many business owners have jumped right outside their comfort zone over the last few months. People who could hardly use the camera on their phone are now going live on Facebook or running Zoom conferences.
Those who were terrified of public speaking are diligently talking us through how-to videos and posting online. Show these people some love and support. It’s always been important to be kind, but now more than ever, try to lead with that.
Spend what you can
Of course, at the end of the day, businesses need money coming in if they’re going to survive. It’s understandable that many people have to be more careful with their finances at the moment, but if you’re in a position to spend a little to support local businesses then please keep doing so.
Even if you can’t spend right now, the suggestions above don’t cost anything, and by vocally supporting your local small businesses, you’ll help them get in front of more people who may be able to purchase.
Most of us are spending more time than ever online, use a little of that time to show love and support to businesses that need it right now.
And don’t forget, behind every small business page is an actual person who will greatly appreciate your show of support.
Bonus tips for helping creatives online
You know the ads at the start of YouTube videos? If you hit “skip ad”, the video creator doesn’t get paid for that ad delivery. So if you like the creator, watch the ad.
Use affiliate links from blogs and the advertised website links you hear on podcasts if you’re interested in a product. This will help the creator prove that ad spend with them is still worthwhile.