Do you have a friend or relative who owns a small business?
As you know, during this time of social distancing due to the COVID19 pandemic, many local small businesses are really struggling. You can help them from home even if their “brick and mortar” doors are closed. You can help them in several ways that don’t cost any money. Here are some suggestions:
Share in person
Tell your friends and family about the business in person. Use your connections –talk them up! Your good word will open doors and provide opportunities for them. They will have instant credibility and be more warmly received if you speak highly of them.
Get some business cards and hand them out. This may not be possible with social distancing, but as a general rule, handing out business cards can be a great way to generate business or at least awareness of their venture.
Engage with the Business Online
Like or Love or Favorite! Your likes and other interactions on social media are very valuable! When you engage with their content you boost its chances of reaching more people.
Follow them on social media
Having a larger following helps small businesses stand out, get found, and flourish while competing with major companies that have huge marketing budgets. Some small businesses rely solely on social media and word of mouth to grow, making it difficult for them to succeed against corporate competitors. With more followers, small businesses can leverage their audience to grow their business.
Leave a Comment
You may think that leaving a comment is a nuisance or seems self-involved, but it is very helpful in the social media universe. Comments of four words or more can bolster views on social media significantly.
You can share their website, a page, or a single post. All are beneficial. Often there are 1-click buttons that allow you to do this quickly and easily. Basically, social media is a giant popularity contest. You can help small businesses you care about become very popular. And it doesn’t have to cost you any money.
Use Their Links
Do they have a blog, an Instagram page, a Pinterest account, a Twitter account, or a Facebook page?
When content receives good engagement, it triggers an algorithm, letting the platform know that this is content people are enjoying, moving it up higher in the search engines.
Use their #Hashtag
Hashtags allow people to find posts that are relevant to their interests and interact with other social media users who share those interests
Share your expertise
Many of the above suggestions involve an online presence. Some small business people are not tech savvy or they just haven’t had time to develop an effective online presence. If you have these skills you can offer to help them build a simple website, a Facebook page, an Instagram account, a Pinterest page, a Blog, a Twitter account or whatever format seems appropriate. Perhaps you have other expertise that can help them in other areas.
Buy Their Product or Service
This may seem obvious, but it may not be something people automatically think of. It’s so difficult for small businesses to compete with the likes of Amazon and other huge corporations. See if they have something that you would like to buy. Your patronage can mean a lot.
In the case of local restaurants, order meals for pickup or delivery. Chinese restaurants are especially hard hit right now. Why not take this opportunity to order a meal from your local Mom & Pop Chinese restaurant or any other privately owned eatery nearby?
Write a Review
What’s the first thing you do when you’re trying to figure out where to eat, especially in a new city? Chances are you head to a review site to find the best reviewed restaurant. These reviews help you and others decide whether a place is worth the visit or not, making them incredibly important for small businesses.
Next time you visit a small business you like, consider leaving them a review on public sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook. Some businesses are made or broken by reviews, so leave a good one!
Often people choose to patronize larger companies because they feel the quality and service is reliable. Not knowing what to expect is a significant deterrent. Reviews can change that and help level the playing field.
Give Honest Feedback
You may catch typos on their website, or have other thoughts about their products and services. Share your opinions lovingly. Your insights might be just what they need to improve their products, services, business space or website. (Be sure not to damage their reputation. Keep the suggestions, criticism or corrections private. Call or send them a direct message (DM) or email with comments that could be viewed by others as negative.)
Be their Cheerleader
If they have not asked for your opinion then you get the best job of all, Cheerleader!
Chances are they are working very hard. Tell them why you appreciate them. Cheer them on!
And remember, when you support local small businesses you are supporting your neighbors and yourself by helping keep jobs and profits in your own community. Local businesses are often more accountable to their community than large corporations. And they may leave a smaller carbon footprint. It’s a win - win for everyone!
Do you have a little time to push some buttons for me? Please help me to expand my social network.
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