Digitized Koffee With Nick
Use Your Social Media to Support Local Businesses
By Nick Kossovan
It is estimated by 2021, the number of active social networks users will reach the 3.02 billion people mark. This is more than a third of the world’s population!
Social media’s far-reaching tentacles present us with an unprecedented ability to support businesses, charities and causes. As COVID19 restrictions are being lifted, many businesses are reopening. They will be trying to return as soon as possible to a semblance of the revenue stream they had post-COVID19, or risk becoming a pandemic business casualty.
Then there are those businesses, who have been permitted to stay open, trying to make the best of the COVID19 situation. To keep their business afloat and keep their staff employed, they offer takeout, curbside service, delivery and whatever else they can.
It’s disheartening to see many of our local stores, favourite hangouts and businesses facing the challenge of lower number of visitors or being closed due to COVID-19. You may have been thinking, What can I do to help these businesses and my neighbourhood?
According to Forbes, 81% of consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by their friends’ social media posts. Forbes also states that 78% of consumers say companies’ social media posts impact their purchases.
Undeniably social media influences consumer buying decisions, which is where you come in.
If there was ever a time when small local businesses needed support and encouragement, now is that time. Regardless of the extent of your social media presence, you can actively support local businesses by:
- Writing a review on Google / Yelp / TBDine / Tripadvisor / YellowPages / Zomato (88% of people are influenced by reviews and online comments).
- Posting on Instagram pictures of you, with family and friends, enjoying a meal on a local restaurant’s patio. (be sure to tag the business in the photo). You can do the same on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
- Tweeting a shoutout (@HandandStoneCA … I haven’t felt this relaxed since 2013! #ScarbTO #Ward20 #Torontospa).
- Following / Liking their social media accounts and posts.
- Posting on the business’s Facebook page.
- ReTweeting a business’s Tweet (with comments and appropriate hashtags, which is the topic of my next column).
- Commenting on a business’s post.
The above are rudimentary social media activities you can easily do. Basically, take a selfie at the business (or a picture of your food pickup/delivery, or the end results of a service such as landscaping or autobody repair), post it on your social media platforms, write some witty text, add appropriate hashtags (i.e. #ScarbTO, #Ward20, #Ward24, #Ward25, #food, #Toronto #Guildwood #Torontofood #takeout) and a link to the business’s website. Now you’ve put out some good social media karma.
Business supporting social media activities requiring a bit more effort:
- Email a review, the business can post on its website as a testimonial.
- Starting a crowdfunding campaign (collect donations through family, friends, friends of friends, strangers, to raise money for a business or individual).
- Donate through Distantly.ca (an online donation platform, developed in partnership with the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), allowing community members to make direct donations to small businesses).
- If you have a website or blog, write a detailed review (be sure to include a link to the business’s website).
The “KISS” (Keep It Simple, Stupid) approach is most effective on social media. User’s timelines are inundated with posts and shares. Most people scanning the social media accounts don’t have the time, or inclination, to read through lengthy posts, stories and opinions. A detailed review of your date night dining experience will receive less social media attention and love (or hate) than a simple one-line post/review, such as: “Big Brother Gourmet Pizza Al-Pesto #pizza kept me and Arlene happy during an evening of red wine and engaging conversation. We’ll be ordering the same next #datenight. #ScarbTO.” Adding a photo of Arlene and me enjoying our pizza (a compelling visual) will further increase the number of engagements the post receives.
Sharing and liking, posts, retweeting Tweets of people’s positive experiences with local businesses gives much-needed visibility to a business. Doing the same for a business’s social media posts and marketing efforts goes a long way in supporting a business’s attempt to return to normalcy.
~ Nick Kossovan is the Customer Service Professionals Network’s Director of Social Media (Executive Board Member). Submit your social media questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.