7 Ways Community Members Can Support Local Small Businesses
In recent months, local small businesses have taken a huge hit financially due to a general decrease in foot traffic caused by COVID-19. While some local small businesses have been fortunate enough to receive stimulus packages from the federal government, many local small businesses have still had to navigate through the uncertainty and unfamiliar territory presented by the pandemic. Luckily, there are plenty of ways community members like you can help. Read on to learn 8 easy ways showing how to support local small businesses during these unprecedented times. Some of these tips don’t even require you to take out your wallet!
1. Buying local
Whether the local small business is a gift shop or a boutique clothing store, choosing to buy their products is the most straightforward way of supporting your local small businesses. With the unparalleled convenience of online shopping and worldwide delivery, it is now easier than ever to overlook your local small business. The next time you find your mouse cursor hovering over the “Buy Now” button on Amazon, remember that the money you spend is an investment in a world in which you would like to live. Buying local is not only a show of support in your local small businesses, but also an investment in your local community.
A more altruistic way to support your local small businesses is to donate. Donations can be individual or crowdfunded. In the end, they both serve the same purpose - funding local businesses to put them in a better position for success and to strengthen community. If you are a local business owner or a community member who would like to learn how to initiate a crowdfunding campaign for a local small business, please click here (internal link for GoFundMe).
3. Buying gift cards
If donating is out of the question, buying a gift card, if available, is also a helpful option to support your local small business. Immediate funding is still provided as with a donation, but you still have credit for use later.
4. Buying branded merchandise
While shopping at a local small business, don’t forget to keep an eye out for branded merchandise. Coffee shops and breweries are examples of types of local small businesses that commonly carry branded merchandise, such as cups, shirts, tote bags, etc. These purchases are functional and also serve as cost-effective marketing for your favorite local small business. It’s a win-win!
5. Writing a review
After visiting your local small business, don't forget to log on to your Google Local Guides, Yelp, or TripAdvisor account and write a review for the business! Doing so will increase exposure and attention to local small businesses on these platforms.
The quality of your review matters. Be sure to write a detailed description of your experience as a customer of your local small business. Including good quality photos with your review will add a visual dimension that will help draw more attention from prospective customers and promote local small businesses.
6. Promoting local small businesses on social media
We all know that social media is a land of infinite memes and dog videos, but it can also be used as an effective tool to promote local small businesses! Many small businesses already actively promote themselves on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, so all you need to do is spread the word! Sharing their posts, mentioning/tagging them in your own posts and stories, and geotagging their locations are several effective strategies for promoting your favorite local small businesses.
7. Organizing a "cash mob"
A fun way to get an entire community involved with supporting local small businesses is to organize a "cash mob." A cash mob is a group of people who assemble at a local small business to make purchases. First reportedly started in August 2011 at a wine shop in Buffalo, New York, by a blogger and engineer named Chris Smith, cash mobs provide an opportunity for the neighbors to come together to support their local small businesses and to strengthen their communities.
Author: Bryan Liang