Supporting local businesses is more important now than ever. With the pandemic this year, there are many small, local businesses that simply just won’t be able to make it through without us banding together to support them. Those business owners are your neighbours. Their kids go to school with your kids. They’re Londoners just like you. But some of us are not in the position to open our wallets to support these small businesses. For many, the pandemic set us back and we’re struggling just to make ends meet, leaving precious little money for extras.
Luckily, you don’t need to spend a dime to help out local businesses. Every little thing that you do can help out in a big way. Check out all of the different ways that you can support local without opening your wallet.
Write A Review
A lot of people, especially Millennials, hit up Google as their first step to decide where to shop/eat. We all work hard for our money so if we’re going to be spending our hard-earned dollars somewhere, we want to make sure that we’re getting the best service, the best products, the best food out there. Studies have shown time and time again that almost 90% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they do personal recommendations.
By writing a positive review for small businesses, you’re helping drive people to use them in the future. You’re also helping out their credibility. How many people are going to trust a business that has zero or very few reviews? Not many. The more reviews, and the more positive reviews, that a company has, the more trustworthy they are in the eyes of the consumer. Not
only that, but oftentimes having more positive reviews will help businesses be featured near the top for search engine algorithms!
The two minutes it takes you to write a review ends up helping the little company in a big way! You can do this on many platforms but the big ones are Google, Facebook, Trip Advisor, and Yelp.
Subscribe To Newsletters
Newsletters have become an essential tool for businesses. It’s a great way to keep customers informed about upcoming promotions, deals, coupons, news, and more. It also is sometimes used as an insanely useful marketing tool to be able to reach people who are similar to your current audience/customers. It’s also a great way for businesses to announce new product launches or to cross-promote other local businesses.
Signing up for newsletters doesn’t cost you a thing, you can unsubscribe at any time, and it can be really beneficial for you if you learn about incredible sales, deals, or promotions.
Pro-tip: Bonus points awarded for actually reading it! While subscribing to newsletters is great, it’s even better to actually read them! Business owners get analytics that shows how many people opened their newsletters and how many people read them or clicked on links. Those numbers are helpful and, more importantly, can be encouraging! Sometimes being a small business owner feels like an uphill battle day in and day out. Encouragement is essential. It’s amazing what it does for someone’s will to persevere when they feel that there are people out there who believe in them.
Tag Them On Social Media
Tagging brands and companies on social media is a form of word of mouth. It gives them a shout out to all of your friends/followers. It’s a way of recommending them and letting people see the product/service for themselves. It also helps people who are researching a company. They can simply type in the company’s handle and posts like yours will pop up to help them make an informed decision about the brand.
Tagging them on social media also helps them to see who is using their products and to get a sense of consumer reactions. It’s a sad reality that oftentimes it’s the Negative Nancys that take to the internet to post about a brand or product. It’s unfortunately not often that people who are satisfied with a product or service actually take to social media to post about it. For the small business owner, it can feel overwhelming if they’re only ever seeing the negative or nitpicky things coming through. By tagging them on your positive posts you’re helping to give them a better view of how their product or service is being received.
While a great photo is worth ten thousand words, don’t worry about feeling like your photo isn’t doing it justice, even just tagging them and letting people know that you’re using them and enjoyed your experience is an incredible support. Plus, the more often a business gets tagged, the more the platform’s algorithm will pick up on the patterns and will start to recommend that business or product to people who are similar to you!
Of course, with everything on social media, the more tags and mentions that a company gets, the more likely people are to trust them, the more free-advertising they get, and the more they’re worth in the eyes of investors.
Like, Comment On, and Share Their Content
It might seem like small potatoes to you. How much can your likes, shares, and retweets actually do? But for a small business, every single engagement is appreciated.
Your engagement on their content tells the algorithm on social media platforms to recommend their posts. It increases the eyes on their posts, which increases awareness. It’s advertisement for them! It also helps the platform’s algorithm to recommend them more often to people who are similar to you and your friends/followers. Social media platforms see engagement with posts as gold. It tells them that a post is good and that they should serve people up with more like them.
It also is encouraging for the small business owner. It helps them to know that people are actually enjoying their content. If you scroll past a post and it makes you smile, taking a second to like it, or comment on it, or share it is hardly any work at all on your part, but it can do so much for their self-esteem. For a lot of small business owners, they’re working their buts off to make their dream a reality, and every small encouragement is appreciated. It can help to give them the boost that they need to keep going and keep fighting another day.
Social media engagement also gives their company more worth. A company’s social media presence is important to determine its value. If two companies are worth the same dollar amount but one has triple the followers and engagement on social media, that one will technically be worth more to investors.
Word Of Mouth
One of the best ways to support a business is through word of mouth. Recommend them to family and friends! Keep your ears open for people asking for recommendations so that you can speak up.
Humans love connecting to stories. One great way to make sure that your word-of-mouth recommendations stick is to make sure to include what you know of their story. “Okay, so I just tried this amazing restaurant called BlahBlah the other day. The chef actually studied as a sommelier for five years before opening the restaurant so they make the BEST wine and food pairing recommendations. And BlahBlah is run by this really adorable couple. We had the tasting menu when we went and it was some of the best steak tartar that I’ve ever had…” That story is going to make it more likely that the person that I’m talking to remembers the restaurant at a later date than if I just said, “I tried this amazing restaurant called BlahBlah that had amazing steak tartare.”
On that, also make sure that you let people know what exactly you
love about the place. Is the food great? Let them know. Was the customer service also excellent? Add that too. Did they have cute decor inside? The more reasons why you liked it, the more someone is going to want to try it out. If someone tells me that they liked a restaurant I might put it in the back of my mind to try, but if someone is praising the food, the service, and the venue, I’m probably going to make a plan to check it out.
Follow Them…But Also Do More Than Follow Them
First off, following a local business on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or Pinterest is FANTASTIC. It’s a great way to show your support for a company, help them be recommended more often, and increase their value. But if you want to take this a step further, there is an easy way to do that.
Head to Facebook and click on a small business’ page. There is a little arrow beside the “Following” button. Click that little arrow. Under the “In Your News Feed” section, click on the edit pencil icon. A box will pop up and you can check off “See First”. This combats Facebook’s algorithm which is created to bury their posts under all of the stuff from friends and family first. By selecting “See First”, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their content is going to be the first thing that you see every single time you log on, but it DOES mean that their posts will be treated like friends and family posts and won’t be buried.
Use Their Hashtags
Companies often come up with hashtags and will encourage their customers or followers to use them. If you feel silly using hashtags, let me tell you why you shouldn’t. Hashtags are valuable tools for businesses!
Hashtags are a great way to build up a community feel for your customers and followers. They also are a great way for people to be able to see the product or service through the lens of the consumer. When you search a hashtag you get to scroll through the consumer’s posts about it and is a great way to get to see a product the way that the customers see the product.
Businesses that have many people using their hashtags also feel more credible to those who are discovering the business for the first time. If they have a whole community of engagement with things like hashtags, then they must be an awesome company, right?
Using their hashtags can also help to boost their brand. If they’re a quirky or edgy brand and have hashtags to match, the more you use their custom hashtags, the more you’re helping to spread the tone of their brand across the interwebs.
Participate In Their Events
Lots of times small businesses host events (a lot of them being virtual events nowadays) and contests. A well-attended event is great for a small business! It gets the word out there about them, it helps people to get a better understanding of their brand, and it helps them connect with their customer base in a completely different way. It also helps to make them a more memorable small business. So, participate in their events and, even better, invite your friends to participate with you!
Speaking of events, oftentimes around the holiday season bazaars and markets pop up around the city. Keep your eyes peeled for those events and make sure to show up (and don’t forget to mask up). Many will be outdoors this year to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and others might be virtual, but if you’re able to, make sure you attend. Even if you are not doing your holiday shopping, heading to the booth of your favourite local brands is a great way to help support them as well as drawing attention to their booth for other attendees.
Keep Up With Locorum London
It’s right in our motto: locals supporting local. We strive to give the little guy a voice. We’re out there researching the local shops, finding the young entrepreneurs and finding the best that this great city has to offer. We’re spreading the word on London’s local economy. By supporting us and keeping up with what we’re putting out, you’re helping to spread the word about London’s local businesses.
We also have an incredible shop where you can support local business all in one place! With fast delivery and flat rate shipping, it’s the best (and likely most affordable) way to support your favourite brands from the Forest City.
If you’re feeling stressed about money right now but really want to support the incredible, small, local businesses that London has to offer, don’t fret! You have immense power at the tips of your fingers and in your words. You can support your favourite businesses without spending a single dime, and the impact that those small businesses will feel from your support is not small potatoes. Take to the internet. Spread the word. Do what you can to show love and support to the little guy.