It’s no secret that COVID 19 is hurting many businesses here in New Zealand and all round the world. Stuck at home in Alert Level 4 you may be wondering how you can do your bit.
Well, here are 8 ways that you and your smartphone can support your favourite local businesses from the comfort and safety of your couch. And they don’t have to cost you a cent!
Get active on Social Media.
Hit up their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages and spread the engagement love. Many small businesses are doing their very best to get attention and will be posting regularly. If you are their customer then chances are that you are part of their target audiences and so are a lot of your friends. Your likes, comments and shares on their social media posts will help increase their brand awareness across your social network. Helping with the organic reach of pages will also help their promoted posts go further.
Get active on LinkedIn.
Again engaging with posts is very helpful but go a step or two further if you can. If you know individual business owners and contractors connect with their personal LinkedIn accounts and give them some endorsements to help boost their profile. Invite them to relevant LinkedIn groups you are active in. If you can use your professional network to help people make some connections, please do so. This is particularly helpful for the contractors, sole traders or employees of small and medium business who are on shaky ground in terms of job security.
Smother your favourite businesses with review love. Facebook, Google, Yelp, Trip Advisor, there are loads of review options out there – just get typing! Customer testimonials are marketing gold for a small business (or any business for that matter) and they cost you nothing but a few minutes of time.
Give them content they can use.
Videos and photos of people enjoying their products is another form of marketing gold for small business. If you are comfortable letting them share your images/video this can be such a valuable tool. This works well for trades to especially if you happen to have before and after photos of the work they did for you.
Many trainers, performers and fitness instructors are doing online performances, classes, webinars or live Q & A sessions. Make sure you show up and get involved. Let them feel heard, make comments, add to the buzz around their live events. For many, trying to move their business online is pushing them way outside their comfort zone. They will be very grateful for the support that your presence offers them.
I know, I know I said this wouldn’t cost you a cent – let’s rephrase that to it won’t cost you a cent that you wouldn’t have spent anyway.
If you know anything about business finance you will know that bricks and mortar businesses are taking the biggest hit right now. Yes there is the government wage subsidy but many have massive overheads they are trying to cover with very little money coming through. Many are also doing their best to support their employees through this difficult time. Buying vouchers will give them some much needed cashflow and hopefully help prevent further job losses.
Got someone you love celebrating their birthday during lockdown? Buy them a voucher to use at their favourite local business once the lockdown is lifted. As a bonus you will be able to send the voucher to them on the actual day of their birthday without breaching any lockdown measures. Beats a pair of socks from the supermarket any day!
Planning a meal out to celebrate the lockdown being over? Buy a voucher for the restaurant now.
If the business doesn’t have their own obvious eCommerce platform set up for vouchers send them a message – I’m sure they will figure something out. There are a few sites like SOS Cafe popping up to help with this.
Order now – receive later.
Missing your favourite retailer and craving some non-essential stuff? If they are set up for it, shop in your favourite online stores now. Sure it won’t be sent till after lockdown, but you have the joy of knowing it will arrive eventually so fill that shopping cart!
Make sure your favourite service providers have work to come back to. Book in your haircuts/ spa treatments/ home improvements now. Being able to forecast future work will allow these small businesses to get the right business strategy in place to carry them through the remainder of what will be a difficult year. Do keep in mind you may have to reschedule if the alert levels stay high.
Now I’m not saying that throwing out a few likes and shares is going to take the pressure off a struggling business, I’m not suggesting it is going to result in massive growth, but I promise you it will make a difference. If even a few of us care enough to make an effort to offer some not-so-random acts of kindness then we might just be able to give our favourite businesses a fighting chance.