It has been a tough year and lots of small businesses are struggling; some simply will not survive. Others, however, have been able to use opportunities thrown up by COVID-19 to launch new ventures, either through choice or necessity.
There is a renewed appetite for wanting to ‘shop local’, especially with many of us frequenting our high streets much more than we perhaps used to. But how else can we support worthy businesses such as favourite shops, local fitness groups or community charities? One answer is to go online.
If used properly, social media is a powerful tool for business. Even for small companies, 1,000s of people can be reached quickly. However, as social media is based on algorithms, not everything is shared with everyone. For example on Facebook, the more popular a post – the more it is Liked, Shared or Commented upon – the more people Facebook will it share it with.
When you engage with someone else’s content you boost its chances of reaching more people and even reaching new people.
- ‘Like’/’Follow’ a social media business page
Following a page keeps you up to date with their latest news and content. Moreover, the more active followers a business has, the more Facebook sees it as an established brand.
- Don’t just ‘Like’ use a ‘Love’ or ‘Wow’
Facebook gives more weight to Reactions that aren’t the standard ‘Like’ button. This cannot be stressed enough: adding a ‘love’ or a ‘wow’ or a happy or sad face is worth so much more than a just a ‘Like’! It takes the same amount of time but has much more of an impact!
- Comment on posts regularly, even if it’s just with an emoji!
People are often not keen on being the first person to comment but that first comment might just be the thing that gets the conversation started. Pushed for time? Stick an emoji in the comments rather than clicking ‘Like’! A clap, a thumbs up, a biceps emoji showing strength are all still viewed as a comment by Facebook. These are worth even more than a ‘Like’, ‘Love or ‘Wow’. It also gives the business the opportunity to reply to you and start a conversation. When Facebook sees this engagement it views the dialogue as worth sharing with more people. And when they comment in return that post reach grows even further.
- Share their posts
Do you have to share everything all the time? No. Please don’t, if you want to keep your online friends! But if someone writes something that’s actually really interesting, or that might be worthy of your friends’ attention then please do not be embarrassed to share.
- Write a Review
Many of us are guilty of only writing reviews when we are upset about a product or service. Yet most of us will read reviews before buying a product or engaging with a new business. Online reviews are critical for entrepreneurs and small businesses, adding credibility and bringing in customers. They are also a huge morale boost for the owner! Be specific, be genuine and be enthusiastic.
- Take the time to read their content or blog
Chances are that person spent a long time crafting their message or writing that blog. Take the time to read it and let them know (in comments) if there was something you really liked. You never know, you might even learn something!
- Compliment them or offer constructive feedback
Contact the owner of a business you admire and tell them what you like about it. You are encouraging them and boosting their confidence! Do you have an idea of a new service or product you might like them to provide? Let them know.
- Give them Referrals
Tell other people about the business. You don’t have to be pushy. If you see someone online asking for advice on a local take-away, then take the time to recommend the one you love!
- Subscribe to their blog or newsletter
If you enjoy the content being written then sign up so you never miss a thing! Let them build their email list of like-minded people. They might even send you an offer or two…
- Buy from them or keep using their services
Buying from a local shop or business will help the owner pay their bills and put food on their family table. It won’t go to a faceless CEO who already earns a fortune. Can you shop local for some of your Christmas presents rather than give your money to a huge chain? Do you need to get all your groceries delivered or can you pop into the local butchers or grocers instead? If the company offers vouchers, perhaps buy these as presents too.
So get liking, loving and commenting and bring a smile to one of your local business owners!
Need any more help on supporting local businesses or marketing your own business online?
Contact Samantha Rumens, Marketing Consultant at Marketing Pace: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A first-rate outsourced marketing team: the marketing experts your business needs. For start-ups, established businesses and everything in between. Let us support and advise you to create engaging and successful marketing and social media campaigns. Based in Chislehurst.
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