5 Ways to Support Your Small Business Friends
As a small business owner, I get a lot of questions from friends and family members about the inner-workings of running a business. One of the most frequently asked question I get is, “Emily — how can we support you?” I don’t have to tell you that it’s the best feeling in the world when someone asks you that. Running a small business is hard, and for us to succeed we need help from friends and families. So how do you support someone who runs a business when you’re not the target market? Since I run a service-based business to a VERY niche market, my family and friends struggle to know how to help support my business. I don’t provide a service that the average person could use, and I don’t sell products that the average person could enjoy. However, supporting your small business friends is much easier than you think, and today, I’m telling you 5 fast and easy ways you can do it!
1. Visit Their Blog and Read the Content
This is completely free and only takes a few minutes of your time! By taking the time to visit and read your small business friend’s blog post, you are helping to improve their Search Engine Optimization. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process where grow your site’s visibility organically in search engine results. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, including the use of keywords and creating targeted content. The better your website’s SEO is, the more likely you are to appear in the top of the search results. The higher your website appears in search results, the more likely it is to get organic traffic.
Part of what gets your website to the top of a search engine is the amount of traffic coming to your website. Not only that, but search engines are looking for how long viewers are staying on a particular page, and whether or not they are clicking on other pages within your website. The more traffic and time spent on a website, the better that website’s SEO will be. So if you find you have some time one day, visit your friend’s website and read their content. They will appreciate it more than you know!
2. Comment on their Blog
Taking the time to visit your friend’s blog and read their content is really wonderful (and definitely appreciated). If you want to take an extra minute after reading the article and leave a comment about the content, then you’ll earn extra brownie points with your friend! Legitimate (non-spammy) comments left on a blog will help boost your friend’s SEO and grow their organic traffic. One way to make a comment look less like spam is to make it at least 2 sentences long, and have it relate to the article’s content. Comments like “This is great!” and “Awesome article!” are fine, but they aren’t going to be quite as helpful to your friend. A thoughtful comment goes a long way!
3. “Like” and Comment on Their Social Media Content
Another way you can support your small business friends is by liking and commenting on their social media content. Most people will simply “Like” a Facebook or Instagram post, but if you take a minute to comment, you’ll be helping your friend out even more. With the new algorithms on Facebook and Instagram, posts with more interactions (such as “Likes”, comments, or shares) are more likely to be seen by a wider audience. Social media platforms would rather promote posts that are getting a lot of interaction. As a result of this, posts with little to no interaction are hardly seen on newsfeeds. Likes are good, comments AND likes are even better. It only takes a few seconds to comment, so please consider this when supporting your small business friends! Like with the blog posts, make sure it’s a quality comment with at least 4 words.
4. Share their Posts
Sharing your friend’s post is easy and will help boost the amount of viewers on their content substantially. It can be something as simple as sharing one of their Facebook posts, or you could even copy the url to an article on their blog that you enjoyed. By doing this, you are helping posts to gain more traction, website visits to go up, and you’re helping your friend grow their viewers organically (which hopefully means more business!).
5. Purchase One of Their Items
Earlier, I mentioned that my particular business is for a very niche market, but a lot of small businesses are not that way. I know many calligraphers, artists, designers, photographers, etc. who would be really easy to support! Simply buy one of their products or services! You might be able to find something similar to a small business owner’s product at your local Walmart at a cheaper price, but you’ll never get the same personal touch as you will with a small business. Also — if you really want to support your friend: please —PLEASE don’t ask for a discount. Running a small business is not a hobby — it’s a job, one that your friend’s livelihood depends on. It’s a lot of sleepless nights, sacrificed time with family and friends, and really, really stressful. Small business owners have to pay bills, they have to feed their families, and they have to pay their taxes — just like you. You wouldn’t ask your doctor or dentist for a discount on their services, would you? So support your friend, value their time and effort, invest in their business. If they provide a good service, spread their name around!