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support a friend's small business without buying anything
support a friend's small business without buying anything

All of us want to support our friend’s small business, it may not be financially possible. As we look toward the 2020 holiday season, many of us are tightening our belts and getting ready for winter. It’s a struggle for many people to make ends meet and put food on the table. These are six easy ways for you to support a friend’s small business without buying anything.

Support A Friend’s Small Business Without Buying Anything

Don’t worry. You can still help your friend reach new clients with just a few minutes of your time. Here are ways to support a friend’s small business without buying anything. This list has tips on how to help local small businesses, podcasters, musicians, and bloggers. No matter their income stream, a few minutes of your time can help them reach new audiences and find paying clients

What you need to know to get started:

This article will commonly discuss “algorithms” and helping your friend increase their “visibility.” Let’s break these terms down a little further to help you understand what’s going on. 

An algorithm is defined as a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.

The algorithms on the search and social media sites want to keep their users happy and continuously introduce them to new exciting content. How often they show your content to new people is their

Visibility can be defined as how often your website or social media/ social media posts are found on the Internet. 

For example: if you are using Spotify and type in the search bar “90’s rock music,” you will get thousands of search results. Spotify will return hundreds of pages, ranked from highest relevancy (i.e., Metalica) to lowest relevance (i.e., Enya). The pages that show up first have the highest Visibility, and those at the end, have the lowest. Our goal is to make your friend more visible by helping them show up at the top of search results.

Even though your friend posts new content twice a week, it can often go unnoticed. There are tens of thousands of pieces of content created each minute around the world. That means there is much competition for a customer’s attention (and wallet). 

Now that we’ve covered some key terms and concepts, let’s discuss six ways to support a friend’s small business without buying anything.

Tip 1: Like, Comment, And Share

Likes, comments, and shares are all indicators of good content. After all, social media, first and foremost, should be social. When your friend makes a new post about their new product, service, or album, be sure to like, comment, and share the post. 

So let’s talk about each aspect here, and how you can add some extra benefits.

like friends small business

Liking

Choosing a reaction is more substantial than a general like. Take a moment to love, care, or laugh instead of just liking their post.

Commenting

When someone leaves a question or comment, it allows the person behind the page to show some personality. Ask them questions about their new service or upcoming show. 

comment on friends small business social media page

For example, good comments can include “When does your album drop and where can I get it?” and “I didn’t know you offered X services! Where can I find out more?” They can link their website and offers the opportunity for other people to join in the conversation. 

To supercharge your comments, add a keyword. What’s a keyword? 

In short, it is any term or phrase that you type into a search engine. Imagine your friend’s clients, what keyword(s) would they use to find your friend’s business? If your friend is a plumber, you could leave the comment, “You are one of the best Plumbers in Plattsburgh!” When you strategically comment, you help increase their Visibility for the keyphrase “best plumbers in Plattsburgh.”

share content without buying

Sharing

If they are promoting a new service or upcoming event take a moment to share it on your page. You can either share to your main feed or to your story. Tag their page so anyone who is interested can easily click to find out more information. If they have a physical product, share a photo of you using or wearing the product. 

**Extra tip** When you are scrolling your social media timeline and see a friend’s business’ posts, pause with their post on your screen for a minimum of 10 seconds. Algorithms know how long you look at a post. When you choose to stay longer, it sends the signal that it is a high-quality post. 

Tip 2: Watch All Of Their Content

Video content is currently the most engaging and furthest, reaching content at the moment. Many businesses, musicians, podcasters turn to vlogging (video blogging) or at least make video updates. Here are some tips to help friends creating videos to promote their small businesses or project. 

support voggers watch whole video

I want to take a moment to discuss point number two. Many people do not know that if you do not watch a video until the end, it can hurt that video’s performance. That’s because of something called retention rate

For videos, the retention rate is how long the video kept the viewer’s attention. If you only watch half of your friend’s video, they will get a 50% retention rate from your view. Why does this matter?

It matters because the retention rate is a signal if the video is good or not. Think of a movie theater; if 50% walk out before the movie is over, it is not a good sign. Contrast that with a movie where everyone is glued to the seats, even after the credits roll. 

Research shows that the average retention rate for Youtube videos is only 30%. By giving your

Do your friends a favor, and watch their video until the end.

Tip 3: Listen to all of their music or podcasts

If you have a podcaster or musician friend, they will likely have an audio catalog stored somewhere on the web. You will probably find their episodes on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Podcast Addicts, or another streaming podcast site for podcasters. A musician is more likely to have their songs and albums on Bandcamp, Spotify, or Soundcloud websites.

Spotify pays musicians cents per play.

A secret benefit

You should know that listening to the whole song or podcast carries the same benefits as listed in tip two. Plus, some websites, such as Spotify, give the artist a few cents per song play. So be sure to listen to the entire song or podcast until the very last second. Listening to a podcast can support a friend’s small business without buying anything and can help them make money, too.

Create a playlist of your favorite local artists and bring them along with you on your next long car ride. Long car rides are a great time to share music or podcast with other friends. So, in a way, you are accomplishing two tasks of giving them another play, plus sharing their content.

I also suggest that you make a playlist of your favorite local musicians or podcasters. This way, you can stream your friends on any long car ride or while you’re doing chores around the house. Playing their content in the background is a great way to introduce friends or family members to their music or podcast. 

Tip 4: Leave them a great review 

Leaving a review is one of the best ways to support a friend’s small business without buying anything. An online review carries the same weight in today’s digital economy as a family member’s recommendation. When you offer a review of their business, music, or podcast, you help them build trust and authority online. Your online review can help a potential customer or listener decide to invest their time and money in your friend. 

Time needed: 5 minutes.

Here are some tips to leave a great online reviews:

  1. Give them five-stars

    Or the equivalent of the highest rating.

  2. Share a specific product, service, album, or podcast episode to review. 

    “I loved their goat milk lotion!”
    or
    “Their episode about Dr. Beaumont’s Tour of Terror was fascinating!”

  3. Share how their product, service, album, or podcast improved your life.

    “My skin is so softer without the oily feeling.” 
    or
    “I have shared facts from this episode at a few parties.”

  4. Tell others why to choose your friend over the competition

    “I’ve tried a lot of other lotions and oils, and this is by far the best.”
    or
    “History podcasts are often boring and dull. This podcast kept me wondering what’s next.”

  5. Add a call to action

    “You have to try this lotion!”
    or
    “Check out this podcast!”

Here is a list of the best places to leave a review for a small business. If they have a Google listing, make it a priority to leave a review there first:

Tip 5: Visit their website or blog

Many small business owners, musicians, vloggers are turning to blog. Blogging is one of the original forms of online content, and it’s having a resurgence. During COVID, many are taking the time to build out their website with new helpful information. 

If they share a new blog post on social media, be sure to click the link and read the whole post. As we have discussed earlier in this blog post, retention time is a factor on websites. That means you should take the time to read the entire post. 

A way you can take this to the next step is easy, just read another blog post. After reading one entry, if you decide to read another, it reduces something called “bounce rate.” The bounce rate is a measurement of how likely viewers are to read additional content. 

When people read more than one blog post or service page, it sends the signal that information is useful. Search engines see these signals that the information is helpful and share the content with more people.

Easy action step: Take 10 minutes and read as many of their blog posts and pages as possible.

Tip 6: Sign Up for Newsletters

Some small business owners are still looking to reach people through email and even print newsletters. Newsletters are an opportunity to get business highlights. You can read all about the upcoming sales, tours, or new content.

When you stay up-to-date with their business, you will give better recommendations to others. Some of the best clients are those that a friend or family member has referred to. That’s because the friend or family member has “pre-sold” you and your business.

That means they can save time by not having to deliver their whole sales pitch. Plus the client has a better idea of your work. Your friend must continue to provide an excellent service or product but won’t have to work as hard making the sale.

Summary

There you have it, the ultimate guide to support a friend’s small business without buying anything. If you spend even thirty minutes each month you can make a big impact. With your help, they can reach new paying clients. Believe it or not, you too influence a lot of people. Your support can help them win over real life clients and the algorithms and online bots.

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