How to Support Your Friend’s Small Business
It’s the age of the small business and you might have noticed that we are surrounded by talented artists, crafters, makers, and bakers. We see them at the art festivals, farmers markets, and craft shows we love to frequent year after year. When I open up Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok, I am absolutely blown away by the sheer number of amazing entrepreneurs all over my feed and favorite arts & crafts groups.
It is my business to offer support whenever I can to artists, crafters, local events, and small businesses (especially our VIPs), and today I am going to share just a few of my favorite ways to support your friend’s small business without breaking the bank.
Find them on social media
Take the time to find and follow them on social media. This sounds so simple and straightforward, but I’ve been amazed at the number of people who haven’t thought of it. Honestly, even if you follow your friend’s small business, it can be hard to make sure you have the right settings to actually see their posts. Good news, I can walk you through that!
Like Follow Subscribe Favorite
Depending on the number of folks you follow, how active you are on social media, and how many of their posts you want to see, Facebook and Instagram offer a variety of follow settings to help you stay in touch with your friend’s small business. First step: follow or like their business page.
After you click Like/Follow for your friend’s small business page, click the same “Liked/Following” icon again and you will see a pop-up window similar to the one above. From here, you can decide if you want to see some of their posts, all of their posts, or receive notifications about specific types of content. These settings are important because without specific instructions, the Algorithm will swallow up small businesses whole, never to be seen again.
If you “Favorite” an account, their posts will receive priority status and always display higher in your feed. On Instagram, you have the choice to add your friend’s small business to your Favorites or Close Friends Lists. When you add your friend’s small business to your Favorites feed, you unlock two important benefits.
- You will see their posts more often
- You can seek out their posts (and your other Favorites) but using your Favorites feed.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time on social media or are easily distracted (like me), the favorites feed is a great way to filter your social media down to the accounts that are most important to you. Think of it as your “Greatest Hits” list on social media. The Favorites feed ONLY shows those pages/people that you have specifically added to this list.
Now that you are following your friend’s small business on social media, you are in a position to make a substantial, positive impact on their algorithm. The power that you now wield is called engagement, and it is what the social media overlords use to decide what posts get seen by the page’s followers, and which ones go quietly into the night. Engagement is basically what every small business on Facebook is hoping for. Every time you engage with a post, you shine a brighter light on their content.
Engagement is weighted depending on the form it takes. Any engagement is better than none, but a share is better than a comment, a thoughtful comment is better than simply tagging a friend, etc. I’ve found that the most impactful engagement is ranked accordingly (with 1 being the lowest level).
- Comment thoughtfully
Of course, reacting, commenting, AND sharing a post is the holy grail trifecta of engagement and offers the largest algorithm boost for any content. Engagement is one of the best ways you can support small businesses for free, and it swings the algorithm in your direction as well. The more you engage with your friend’s small business on social media, the more you will see their posts.
I see so many small businesses out there networking and making connections, but failing to actually engage and lift each other up on social media. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming to support each other. If you notice someone being present and encouraging on your feed, take the time to return the favor. Don’t be afraid to jump in there and start your own chain reaction.
Events can be stressful even under the best of circumstances. One way you can support local businesses is simply by showing up. One of my favorite artists sets up at a local art festival every year. Though I do own one of their pieces, I certainly cannot afford to purchase something every year. That doesn’t stop me from swinging by to say hello and reminding them how much I love seeing their new work. I wish nothing but success for them and it brings me joy to watch and encourage their journey.
If your friend’s small business is setting up at an art festival, farmers market, or craft show local to you, there are lots of ways that you can show up for them:
- Help unload
- Bring provisions
- Babysit their booth
- Help pack up
Do what you can
Markets and Arts & Crafts Shows are basically marathons that start long before the show begins and continue well after the last patron has left the building. By offering to help them unload or pack up, you are lessening their load for the day. If you aren’t able to help with physical labor, don’t worry, that isn’t the only way you can help support your friend’s small business on their big day.
A simple appearance is such a supportive and encouraging gesture and offers many opportunities to help. It can be so hard for a vendor to prioritize their own needs when working a busy event. Even just walking away from your booth to use the bathroom is a challenge. Seeing a familiar face that they can trust to watch their booth while they eat or run to the bathroom is such a gift. Do them one better and offer to bring them a coffee, snack, or hot lunch, and hang around for a bit while they enjoy it.
I love that my own small business has introduced me to so many talented artists, many of whom have become fast friends. It might be tempting to think that friendship with small business owners somehow equals special treatment. It does… but not in the way you are thinking.
My friends offer unique, beautiful products, and simply knowing them is a privilege. The ability to support their small businesses IS the perk of our friendship, not an insider track to lower prices. Expecting a small business owner to offer you a “friend discount” is essentially asking them to devalue their own time and effort. Paying full price is what supporting your friend’s small business looks like.
If you find yourself in the perfect position to support your friend’s small business, and you love everything about your purchase, GET LOUD. Help your friend’s small business thrive by making your experience public! Post positive experiences on social media and tag your friend and their small business page. Leave reviews on their websites or social media pages. The joy and passion you feel about your friend’s small business will shine through your words. It is incredible how one heartfelt review can catch fire and inspire all sorts of support and connection.
Small business owners juggle a lot of responsibility. They basically play the role of a dozen different people in the every day operations of their small business, and that can be hard. You can help support your friend’s small business by holding space. Let them know you are there for the ups and the downs, for the business minutia and the big victories. Encourage them on the tough days, and remind them how far they have come. Believe in your friend’s small business even when they are having trouble believing in themselves. That kind of support is worth so much more than a single purchase.
Support Small Businesses
Simply pausing to read this shows that you really care about supporting your friend’s small business, and that’s great! I hope you feel inspired and equipped with all the tools you need to be a fantastically supportive friend to whatever lucky small business owners are in your life.
If you are looking for more small businesses to follow and support, please check out our Vendor Directory for some truly talented artists.