Whilst social distancing is hugely important and totally necessary at the moment, the lack of physical footfall is having a real impact on small businesses.

The Government has announced various forms of financial help, but there are plenty of ways that you can help to support your favourite small business too…and some of them cost nothing!

Here’s our shortlist…

1. Share on social media

This is probably the most important one – and it’s free! Whether you’ve bought something from them and you’re sharing a photo or you’re just giving someone a shout out, be sure to tag small businesses in so other people can check out their Pages for themselves.

This week, Instagram has released a ‘Support Small Business’ sticker for users to put on their Stories. When the sticker is used, it adds a preview of the business’ account to the Story and will also include the post in a collective, shared Story so your followers can see the businesses that you love. Instagram will also notify the business that you’ve used the sticker, allowing them to repost or message to say thanks.

Instagram - Support Small Business Sticker

2. Shop at/order from local businesses

Smaller local shops (like greengrocers and butchers) and independent restaurants really need your help right now to make up for their lack of footfall. Think about the things that you buy on a regular basis. Is there somewhere local you could buy or order from instead? You can probably even get it delivered to your door!

Small Business Owner - Florist, woman arranging bouquet of flowers

3. Buy gift cards and vouchers

Many small businesses are now selling gift cards and vouchers, ready to be claimed when they reopen. It’s not just shops and restaurants either… we’ve seen hair and nail salons, tattoo shops and even personal trainers offering gift vouchers recently. These make great presents for friends and family members too – you can pop them in a card or email and show that you’re thinking of them.

4. Postpone, don’t cancel!

No small business wants to reopen to empty books. If you’ve already put a deposit down and you don’t desperately need the money right now, why not postpone your appointment rather than cancelling it? You’ll probably thank your past self for keeping your place on their list – especially if it’s a haircut or nail appointment!

Small Business Owner - man looking at iPad, tablet

5. Leave a review

Even if you bought from them or used their service a while ago, leaving a review is another great, free way to show your support for a small business. Write them a quick recommendation on their Facebook, TripAdvisor or Google Business Page. It only takes a couple of minutes, but reviews really help small businesses to get noticed and win over new customers.

6. Take part online

Lots of businesses have had to change the way they work and some have started to offer products and services online. If your favourite shop, salon, restaurant or leisure facility is now offering something online, why not buy a ticket and show your support?

This is especially important for those in the creative industries. Lots of artists and musicians are using websites like Patreon to sell their art in a time where they can’t be out performing or selling in venues or markets. This could have been their main source of income so if you can spare a bit of cash – even if it’s just a small amount for a raffle ticket or a tip – it might all add up to make a big difference!

Finally if you’re a small business, we’ve made this graphic so you can remind your followers how they can help you out. Please feel free to share it on your social media pages!

Support Small Businesses - social media graphic from South Coast Social Support Small Businesses - social media graphic from South Coast Social  , , , , , ,