How to help small businesses through social media

Wendy Johnson

If you’re like me, you want to support small, local businesses, but your budget doesn’t always allow you to do so. What if I told you there were a simple yet effective way you can support your favorite businesses outside of purchases?  Well, there is! If you’re an active social media user, take notice: you can be a Brand Ambassador for your favorite businesses.

Here’s how your social media activity can help the small business in your community:

  1. It helps increase exposure. By liking, commenting, sharing/reposting, tagging, etc., you help the business’s brand awareness. By simply letting your friends and family know about the restaurant, retail space, or blog that you like, you’re helping the business. There are REAL people behind those brand accounts… they spend hours trying to create content that their followers will engage, and when you do, you’re helping them out in a big, big way!
  2. You’re a trusted resource. Your friends on Facebook trust your opinion more than they trust the opinion of strangers. When you share a post from a company, your friends know that you either strongly believe in that company/concept or that you have a personal interest in it — so much so that you’re willing to tie your name and reputation to it. That’s powerful and helps the small business owner.
  3. Constructive feedback. Believe it or not, these real people I referenced in point #1 are very appreciative of the comments and feedback they receive on social media. Sometimes the feedback isn’t always positive, but if it helps the brand then it is welcomed.
  4. Sales. It’s a no-brainer that the ultimate end-game for most businesses is sales. And when you comment on a company’s post and tag your friends, you’re introducing them to a company that they’ll more than likely want to follow and engage with as well.

There’s a big debate about the ROI of social media, and it’s important to note that not all engagements on social media lead to a sale. But more often than not, someone who likes a company page will eventually buy from that company, or their social activity will introduce someone else to the brand and that engagement will likely lead to a sale. It’s a bit of a snowball effect — one that business owners are aware of and greatly appreciate.  

It seems rather simplistic, but likes, comments, tags, and reposts/shares will help your favorite small businesses.

When you get a chance, go into the local store, buy something, and chat with the owner. Tell them what you enjoy seeing them post on social media and continue engaging with them online. Your activity will eventually lead to sales for the business, making it a win-win for everyone.