It’s easy to forget our local small businesses around the holiday season with all the big stores’ Black Friday chaos sales and the ease of shopping online with the likes of Amazon. Local Small Business Saturday was really a great marketing concept to help support and remind us of the many local small businesses across the country during this busy shopping season. But did you know even beyond going into local small businesses and making a purchase there are several other ways you can help support your favorite local shops and service providers.
Most small businesses set up a page on one or more social media sites in order to interact with their customers. They may post updates on what’s new with their business, current special offers, helpful tips related to their business, surveys, or maybe just something funny. When we as consumers interact with them by liking or following their pages and then liking, sharing or commenting on their posts it provides a couple of good benefits for the business. First it helps to increase the number of people that a business can reach. When you share a post it then has the potential to reach all of your friends or followers that you are connected with. Secondly, social interactions help a business gain more visibility on big search engines like Google and Bing.
You may be wondering how you can quickly find out which social media sites a business uses. A quick visit to a local business’ website should reveal links to their social media pages. Some common social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Youtube and many more. Simply click a social link and you’ll be able to start interacting with them. Or if you have a preferred social media site that you like to use just do a search for the business from that site.
Another great way to help promote your favorite local small businesses is to post a positive online review for them. A very high percentage of people say they are influenced in their buying decision by positive or negative online reviews. Your positive review could directly influence someone to purchase a good or service and in addition it can help a business’ search engine visibility just like social media interaction.
There are many websites that allow you to post reviews about a business. Some of them are market specific and you may find a link to them on the business’ website. If they don’t have a link on their site some of the big review sites are Google Plus, Yelp, Merchant Circle, Superpages and others. Remember to be specific in your review because it will be more effective and trusted when someone reads it.
Many small businesses have a blog on their website. So another way to show your support for that business is to interact with their blog posts, especially when it’s a topic of interest to you. To interact with it you can post a comment or share the post using your social media account. When you post a comment it is helping to create fresh content on their website and can directly help boost their search engine rankings.
If you have your own website or if you are a member of a community website you may be able to create a post to share your experience with using a business’ product or service. Try to be specific when you do this because it tends to be more effective than just saying a business is terrific.
Another key element to really help the business you write about is to include a link to their website. This link will make it easy for the reader of your post to immediately find the business and potentially become a customer. The link will also provide a signal to the search engines that it is a good business and may help to boost their search rankings.
Word of Mouth
One of the most effective ways to help a local small business is to share about the business with your friends, family and colleagues. Word of mouth advertising is extremely effective. Again be specific about why you like the business and you’ll be able to send more business their way.
If you have local small businesses that you have become a fan of you can really have a significant impact on their business by doing one or more of the above suggestions. Some of them may take a little more time than the others but for the most part in 5 to 10 minutes you can show great support for a local small business without even having to leave your home.