Running a small business can be overwhelming, and in these uncertain economic times, staying afloat is a very real struggle for many. But thanks to an increased national sense of social responsibility, we’re all eager to support small businesses however we can.
Imagine trying to keep ten plates spinning in perfect unison. Tough, right? Well, that’s the role of a small business owner. They have innumerable responsibilities: social media coordinator, accountant, sales assistant, designer, project manager, admin assistant, PR manager (we could go on).
No one ever said running a business was easy, but just one small act of kindness, such as leaving an online review, can bring a small business so much joy. You’ll benefit too. Community connectedness gives us a deep sense of belonging and pride. And let’s face it, after the last 18 months, we could all do with a little more of that warm, fuzzy feeling inside.
So here are 7 ways you can support a small business for free:
Write a review
If you’ve visited a store, whether in person or virtually, and you’ve loved the service you’ve received, leave them a review. If you can, post the review on as many of their social channels as you can, including Facebook and Google My Business. Ensure to use the business’s hashtags so they can easily see, share and comment on your review. Better still, use an image or short video showing the product or service you received.
Google’s own research tells us that 60% of smartphone users contact businesses directly through the click to call button. But for a small business to appear legitimate and trustworthy, they need five shiny 5* reviews in order for their rating to be publically displayed on their profile. And according to Which?, 46% of UK adults read Google reviews prior to contacting or using local businesses.
So take just five minutes of your time to leave a small business you love a review.
Zero cost. High-impact. Why not?
Recommend to your friends and family
Whether it’s a quirky pop up boutique in town, a local farm shop’s delivery service, or an independent jewellery business, get recommending products and services that you love to your friends and family.
When someone close to us promotes and validates a service, it becomes instantly more attractive. We’re much more likely to trust the brand if we know someone who has benefitted from it. In essence, if you’ve loved a service, they’ll love it too.
And this one’s not all about goodwill: many small companies will thank you for bringing new business to them, so it’s well worth doing some digging to find out if they have any referral discount schemes.
Get following and engaging
Social media is often the primary marketing strategy for many small businesses. It helps them to build and promote their brand, and enhance customer loyalty and retention. It’s also a fast and free way to improve their brand’s visibility, whilst staying connected to their customers.
Social media can also support many small businesses in driving and boosting sales. Over 50% of internet users utilise social platforms to research a brand’s products and services, hence many small business owners place a lot of time and energy into their social platforms.
With many small business start-ups being unable to afford paid ads, they rely heavily on organic traffic for sales. So support them today by liking and following their social pages. Not only that, make their day by liking, sharing and commenting on their posts.
Younger business owners are often savvier in the utilisation of social media as a tool for promoting their businesses. A lot of their pages boast impressive content and aesthetics. Following a creative and engaging business’s social allows you to keep up to date with the latest social media trends (a useful tool if you run or manage a social media page yourself).
Share them in your stories
The power of social stories is explosive. For example, in May 2021, Instagram had around 28.74 million users in the UK, most of whom were between the ages of 25 and 34.
It takes less than a minute to create and share a social story. So if you’re shopping on the high street and a product or shop window catches your eye, snap away and get sharing. Again, be sure to use the business’s hashtags, so they can easily see your post. Remember, the stories feature runs across multiple platforms, including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Take a moment just to say, ‘thanks’
There really is nothing like gratitude. In fact, there are no downsides to saying, ‘thank you.’ So if you’ve been really impressed by a small business, tell them. Send them a message on social, or tell a member of staff in person.
Just think of how many independent businesses have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Sadly, some didn’t make it through to 2021. If you’ve been slaving to make your business work, to keep food on the table, imagine how wonderful it would be to receive a personal thanks or well done from a customer.
And want to hear the best bit? Saying thank you won’t cost you a penny. But the impact can be invaluable.
Invite them to guest post
If you run a business yourself, promote another small business’s products or services across your social channels. Promoting other businesses in this way is not only a great way of staying connected to other local businesses, it’s another easy way to improve your reach and increase your following.
Equally, if you have a business blog, invite other small businesses to guest post. This will send traffic their way, and hopefully tick a few of your SEO boxes too.
Purchase gift cards and vouchers
Fast forward four months, and we’ll all have one thing on our minds: Christmas. And what better way to say, ‘Merry Christmas’, than a personalised, unique gift. Socks are so 2020. 2021 is all about sustainable, heartfelt gifts that your loved ones will cherish.
A gift card from your local craft ale shop – that’s dad sorted. A mani-pedi and full body massage at the local spa – mum. A voucher for a family portrait at the local photography studio – that’s your sister sorted.
Your purchase now could be a lifeline for many local businesses. And you won’t have to worry about the Christmas rush. Win, win.
How to promote your business
Do you want support in promoting your business to the masses?
Well, you’re in the right place.
Here at The Cheshire Business Directory, we support businesses, small and large, to be seen and heard across Cheshire and Greater Manchester. With a combined social media following of over 140K, we can place your business in front of thousands of potential customers and clients.
As well as providing a range of bespoke marketing packages, the team here at the Directory run successful business networking events to connect business owners from across the local area. Together, we’re stronger. So come and join an ever-growing community of like-minded businesses who want to collaborate, support, learn and grow. (And our tea and cakes are pretty good too.)
These really are trying times, but there is help available. The Cheshire Business Directory are here to support all business owners in the local area, however we can. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved, so if you need help achieving the reach you’re after, get in touch.
To find out how the team and I can help your business stand out from the crowd, call me, Kerry, on 07501 896 445 for more information.