The call to ‘shop local’ has to go beyond the individual. When local shops and services choose to do business with each other, we see our communities thrive.

6 small but mighty ways you can start supporting your fellow local businesses

1. Try to like or share 5-10 social posts from local businesses weekly.

Getting the word out about your business can be challenging, especially in the digital realm where there is so much competition for everyone’s attention. Social media is a great way to connect with potential customers both near and far, but even when you put a lot of effort into social content and posts, they don’t always get seen. We can help each other here. Make a goal to share, comment, or interact with local business social pages at least 5-10 times a week. You will get their content out in front of your audience, helping them gain exposure. At the same time, you will benefit from having the additional activity and content on your stream with very little effort on your part. It’s a win-win!

2. Audit your business purchases, are there any you can swap out for a local vendor?

Using local shops and services for everything your business needs is probably not practical, however, there may be areas you can find that would actually benefit from switching to local. For example, turnaround times for products may be quicker when you don’t have to add time (and money!) for shipping. If something goes wrong with the order, having someone you can talk to face-to-face about the issue may lead to it being less likely to re-occur. Some local services and shops offer discounts to other local businesses, so it’s worth asking!

3. New business in town? Pop in to say hello and offer words of encouragement and support.

If you have opened a business before, you know how overwhelming and stressful that process can be. Someone sharing encouragement, support, or their experience can be so helpful!

4. Write a positive Google or Yelp review.

According to ReviewTrackers, 63.6% of consumers say they are likely to check Google reviews (through Google Maps and Search) before visiting a business location. Reviews are an incredibly persuasive tool for helping people choose a business they can trust, so if you have a positive experience with a local business, don’t forget to share it with a review!

5. Create a local entrepreneurs’ Facebook group and start connecting!

These groups provide a forum for ideas, collaborations, helpful tips, and resources. Looking for another business to collaborate with you on a promotion? Hoping to cross-promote within a specific industry? Want to just commiserate through the challenges and celebrate the successes with others who are in the same boat? Social groups can provide this and so much more.

6. An employee favorite—buy your employees lunch from a local restaurant!

There are many ways to show your employees that you appreciate them, and when you do, try to stay local with it. Gift cards, local foods, a catered lunch—these are all great ways to boost employee satisfaction and when you keep it local, it also exposes them to local products or restaurants they might not have known about before. Not only are you patronizing the local business, but hopefully you are increasing their exposure in the community at the same time.

There are many ways we can support each other this holiday season and throughout the year, every effort can help our business community grow and thrive.