By now you’ve probably experienced the disappointment and sadness of finding out that one of your favorite local haunts didn’t make it through the stay-at-home period, or you’ve heard that other businesses in your neighborhood are struggling. It’s safe to assume that all of our local small businesses are having a really difficult time right now, but we can do something to help. You may be thinking, “I can only eat so much takeout in a week!” or “I’ve already bought two gift cards!” but all of us can use social media to give a little boost to the shops or service providers that we love and want to support.
1. Give Them Stellar Reviews
Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor and OpenTable reviews are significant for most shops, restaurants and service providers when it comes to attracting new customers. In researching this post, I found that 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 72% of shoppers will only take action after reading positive reviews.
In less time than it takes you to call in a takeout order, you can leave a 5-star review for your beloved taco stand or dog groomer or yoga teacher regardless of how recently you saw them in person. Your review doesn’t have to be a literary masterpiece, just a few sentences that say why you love the product/service/provider and a mention of your favorite products/menu items/services. Still stumped? Just write a few sentences that answer the questions you have before you try someplace new. The more positive, recent reviews, the better for a business. If you only have time to write one review, choose Google – it’s the most widely used platform.
Not sure how to do it?
Click here to learn how to post a Google review. (Google is great for reviewing any business.)
Click here to learn how to post a Facebook review. (Facebook is great for reviewing any business that has a Facebook page.)
Click here to learn how to post a Yelp review. (Yelp is primarily for reviewing restaurants and services.)
Click here to learn how to post a TripAdvisor review. (TripAdvisor is for reviewing places you might go on a vacation like hotels and local attractions, as well as restaurants.)
Click here to learn how to post a OpenTable review. (OpenTable is exclusively for restaurant reviews.)
2. Share Their Content on Your Social Media Channels
Sharing social media content is a great way to shine a spotlight on the good things your favorite companies are up to, and helps them much more than clicking “like.” Is your gym offering a free yoga class? Share the post! Did your favorite burrito place just deliver a donation to hospital workers? Share the post! Did your tomato plant supplier post a list of growing tips? Share the post! If you love a place then rave about it and promote their posts! Your friends and followers will appreciate learning about a new place/service provider and might end up making a purchase.
Note: Facebook’s “share” button makes this very easy. Twitter’s “retweet” option is also a breeze. Unfortunately reposting is not a native feature on Instagram and raises copyright issues in some instances.
3. “Check in” and Tag Them in Your Social Media
When you pick up an order at your takeout spot, take a second to “check in” on Facebook. If you take a photo of your food at home, add a location tag for the business. Location tags and check-ins help businesses show up in “what’s near me” searches, guiding new customers to businesses.
Always tag and/or hashtag your favorite makers/service providers in relevant social media posts to help them get new eyes on their offerings. It only takes seconds to throw some love to small businesses this way. Note: not all businesses allow check-ins on their Facebook page, but you can still tag them in a post about your visit!
How to add a location tag to an Instagram post (from Instagram FAQ):
After you upload or take a photo or video and add any effects or filters you want, you can add your location. To add your location:
- Tap Add Location.
- Find your location in the suggestions or search for the location and select it.
- Tap share.
Don’t feel intimidated by pro food photography on Instagram – take a photo of your takeout meal and tag the business you bought it from. It helps. Add some popular hasthags like #shoplocal and #smallbusiness and add a location. All of these data help your social community find new places to spend their disposable income!
Don’t withhold – be generous and give a 5-star review (or whatever the max rating happens to be on that platform). If you’re thinking, “Well, I want to give them a 4 because last time they forgot my ketchup packets” just close the browser window. This is not a time to split hairs. If you love a place, give it the full treatment!
What I’m reading: Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (And Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham (aka Lorelai herself!).
What my 10- and 12-year olds just read: Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure by Nadja Spiegelman and Sergio Garcia Sanchez. This comic book skews a little younger than my kids but I wanted them to read it so they can get an idea of the New York City subway system for a future visit. I love the illustrations depicting the hustle and bustle of NYC.