How You Can Help Local Businesses Without Spending a Penny

In the midst of this pandemic I realized that you can show support for small businesses by more than just transferring currency to their account. As a small business, it was some of the little things that are easy to do – but often overlooked – that will provide me the longest term value.

Many of you might be in a similar circumstance. You were laid off or furloughed and the checking account isn’t as fruitful as you might like. It might be hard to support some of our local companies – especially if they aren’t selling you necessities. That doesn’t mean you can’t still show support.

Here are 5 Ways You Can Support Your Local Businesses Without Spending Your Money

Leave a Review on Google

You didn’t come here to learn about how Google ranks websites, so I will spare you the details. Reviews in Google make a difference.

Don’t believe me, here are 100 online review statistics that prove my point.

Here are few that I found helpful:

  • 83.5% of shoppers would not consider a business with a 3-star rating or below
  • 49.7% of consumers need to see a 4-star rating or higher to consider a business
  • Having five reviews results in purchase likelihood increasing by a factor of almost 4
  • Businesses with more than 82 total reviews earn 54% more in annual revenue than average.

Some of your small business friends don’t have 5 good reviews – let alone 82. Leave them a review with a paragraph explaining what they did that exceeded your expectations. The more specific, the better for the business and new potential customer reading the review.

Comment on their Social Media Posts

Facebook, Instagram, and most other social media platforms are designed to show you the most relevant and popular content. This makes for a great user experience, but this tends to favor individuals and not businesses. Facebook was once a friend the business page but has changed to a ‘pay to play model’.

Your organic post reach can be as low as 2% of your followers. Yes, 2 of those 100 fans will see your post. Unless you want to fork out some money and pay for a boost.

If you are one of those two, you can throw a “like” and move on. You might be giving a slight boost, but a comment and share is what will help break the algorithm. Now your comment on a post will start displaying to your friends and give that business some added publicity – without them forced to send money to Facebook.

Don’t Skip the Commercial (on YouTube)

This might be a niche topic, but one of the best ways to support a local content creator is to watch the preroll commercial in front of their YouTube video. I’m not sure how many local businesses or personalities put time into their YouTube channels, but if they monetize a video, this could be an additional income source by you just spending an extra 15 seconds.

Although there are many factors and ways individuals make money from YouTube, if you want the commercial – they make more. And if you are interested in the product, feel free to click and buy.

Take Business Pictures and Upload

We are going back to Google and our local businesses Google My Business profile. Not sure what that is, in short, it’s the panel on the right when you search for a business’s name. Did you know that you can upload photos directly to their account?

Why would you do that?

  • Businesses with more than 100 images get 520% more calls than the average business, while those with just one image get 71% fewer.
  • Businesses with more than 100 images get 2,717% more direction requests than the average business, while those with just one get 75% fewer.
  • Businesses with more than 100 images get 1,065% more website clicks than the average business, while those with just one get 65% fewer.

Help the business out and upload some pictures.

Recommend, Refer, and (once again) Review

You don’t have to spend your money to support a business. I make websites for a living and most of my friends don’t need websites. But they are sure to tell other business owners about my web design company if the topic comes up.

74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.

Maybe the businesses you advocate for doesn’t come up organically in conversation…because how often do you talk about Local SEO tactics with your neighbor? Go to social media and recommend or review. Over the last year, I have seen an uptick in users asking for recommendations on Facebook. Be sure to chime in and tag your local business professional.

Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor still play a huge part in the business’s local reputation management. They also make a huge factor in a buyer’s decision making. Help everyone out with a positive review.

This Isn’t Just a Pandemic Thing

Yes, the topic is coming up because COVID is forcing many families to adapt. These tactics are just as important when users are shopping without restrictions as they are now.

  • Challenge yourself to review one business per month.
  • Comment on one business post per day.
  • Watch the commercials for local YouTube channels.
  • Take pictures of your food and/or of the entrance of your local shops.
  • …and always speak up when you have a business that can solve a friend’s problem.

Eric Hersey is the owner of Eric Hersey Web Design & Development. He works with local businesses in the Ohio Valley on increasing their web ranking on Google and search engines. His goal of ‘making a better web for the Ohio Valley’ helps businesses provide more information and users a better online experience. You can learn more about Eric by following his Facebook page – Eric Hersey Web Design & Development.

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