Do you wish to support a friend or neighbor that has a small business but aren’t sure where to start? Perhaps your colleague is selling painted furniture but you don’t need any more pieces for your home. That girl in California on Instagram makes the most beautiful dog beds, but you can’t fly out there and buy one for Fido.
So how do you help support small businesses when you’re limited by funds, distance, or any other reason? Can it be done?
Why yes, it can. And it won’t cost you a dime!
Friends, allow me to share 4 simple ways to support small business owners that are 100% free. Best of all, they’re probably things you’re already doing, so here’s a pat on the back in advance!
1. Interact With Them On Social Media
In case you didn’t know, social media feeds like Instagram and Facebook have algorithms that drive everything. There are specific requirements that all posts need to meet in order to be seen by others. The criteria is constantly changing and small business owners spend a lot of time trying to figure out what their social media feeds want and need so they can get the highest possible engagement out of their posts. They hashtag carefully and post at predictable times. Their photos are staged and processed to grab your eye. They curate lovely goods to show you what they can create.
It’s exhausting at times because the algorithms are constantly changing and what may have worked a few months ago is no longer “the thing” to do.
One thing remains consistent though…all of the social media feeds want engagement. That comes in the form of likes, comments, and shares. Taking a couple seconds to hit the love or like button is a “ping” on the algorithm’s radar, especially if it’s done close to the time the post was made live. Comments are the absolute best. The more comments a post has, the higher it rises in the feed.
Sharing is also caring. If you see a gorgeous dresser online but you don’t need one in your home, share it. Maybe your Auntie from Long Island has been waiting for that special piece to finish off her living room and you helped her find it. You never know!
So tip #1 is to like, comment, and share your favorite small businesses’ posts on social media. After all, you’re going to keep scrolling for 10 minutes more, aren’t you?
2. Attend Their Events
Small business owners try their best to think outside the box and bring you special events that will provide atmosphere and inspiration. You know what I’m talking about – open houses, holiday previews, girl’s night out, demonstrations, special speakers, sales, etc.
Did you know you can attend all of these events and not spend any money? Your presence alone is incredibly valuable. While businesses that offer retail products rely on sales, we know that everyone isn’t coming in to buy. There are conversations that can happen. Networking opportunities arise. Even having your car in the parking lot helps that person who always drives by and never stops in to change their mind and put the turn signal on.
3. Talk Positively About Them
There was a time when news was spread by word-of-mouth instead of Facebook feeds. How many times have you been in conversation with a friend and you get to talking about a shop, restaurant, or museum and afterwards you can’t wait to go check it out?
While this tip is along the same lines as sharing on social media, word-of-mouth is the ultimate referral for a small business. Simply talking about them within your sphere of influence will go a long way, especially if you bring it down to the personal level. Do you know the owner? Did you go to high school with their daughter? Go to church with them? See them at the local coffee house? See them doing something nice for a stranger?
Businesses are more than stuff – they’re built by people who have a passion and drive. Sharing positive feedback about a business owner’s character speaks volumes more than a review on Amazon ever would. Grab some of their business cards and keep them in your wallet so you can hand them out in those moments. Don’t worry, there’s probably 500 more where they came from.
4. Tell Them What They’re Doing Right
Everyone always has an opinion on what a business needs to do. Whether it’s putting out a bigger sign to be seen from the road, painting furniture in more neutral colors, or staying open later, there’s no shortage of suggestions and constructive criticism.
That’s not what a business owner needs. Their to-do lists are probably three or four times the size of yours, so giving them more to do and telling them they need to spend more money isn’t as helpful as it seems.
They need to hear what they’re doing right.
Tell them you love their selection. Is the quality of their work top notch? Say it! Have you been inspired by their journey? Let them know!
Business owners are constantly evaluating themselves and their operations to make sure they’re “doing it right”. There is an ever-present need to improve, stay on top of trends, and have the latest and greatest. The pressure is real, my friends.
I’ve heard coffee helps.
It’s a complete breath of fresh air when a client, customer, or visitor takes the time to say, “Hey bro, you’re amazing. Keep it up.” You can even hug it out if you want. Just make sure you’re on a hugging basis!
Watch their face light up. It’s pretty entertaining.
And there you have it – 4 simple and completely free ways to help support the small businesses in your world.
How’s that pat on the back feel?