We all want to support our friend’s small business, but it may not be financially possible. These days inflation is causing many people to struggle to make ends meet and put food on the table. These are six easy ways to support a small business without buying anything.
Support A Small Business Without Buying Anything
Don’t worry. You can still help your favorite small business reach new clients with just a few minutes of your time. This list has tips on how to support a friend’s small business for free. These tips work for podcasters, musicians, and bloggers alike. 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 discuss “algorithms” and helping someone’s business increase its “visibility.” Let’s break these terms down to help you understand what’s happening.
An algorithm is a process, or set of rules followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.
The search and social media algorithms want to keep their users happy and continuously introduce them to exciting new content. Many social media platforms and search engines want you to return repeatedly- to make you a repeat customer by providing you with exciting and engaging content.
Think of visibility as how often your website or social media/ social media posts are found on the Internet.
For example, if you use Spotify and type “90’s rock music” in the search bar, 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 visibility.
You want to make the algorithm happy to increase the business’ visibility. Once satisfied, it will boost your friend’s business to the top of search results and reach new clients. Now that we’ve covered some key terms and concepts, let’s discuss six ways to support a 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 favorite business makes a new post about their new product, service, or album, be sure to like, comment, and share the post.
So let’s discuss each aspect and how you can add some extra benefits.
Choosing a reaction is more substantial than a general like. Take a moment to love, care, or laugh instead of just liking their post.
The person behind the page can show some personality when someone leaves a question or comment. Ask them questions about their new service or upcoming show.
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 you type into a search engine. 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.”
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 your story. Tag their page so anyone interested can easily click to find 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 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 signals that it is a high-quality post and is an easy way to support a friend’s small business for free!
Tip 2: Watch All Of Their Content
Video content is currently the most engaging and furthest reaching content. Many businesses, musicians, and podcasters turn to vlogging (video blogging) or at least make video updates. Here are some tips to help people who create videos to promote their small businesses or project.
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 signals whether the video is good. 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 likelier 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 small businesses 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: giving them another play and sharing their content.
I suggest 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 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 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.
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:
- Facebook (now recommendations)
- Better Business Bureau
- Apple Podcast
Tip 5: Visit their website or blog
Many small business owners, musicians, and vloggers are turning to blogs. 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, click the link and read the whole post. As discussed earlier in this blog post, website retention time is a factor. That means you should take the time to read the entire post.
A way to 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 measures how likely viewers are to read additional content.
Reading more than one blog post or service page signals useful information. Search engines see these signals that the information is helpful and share the content with more people.
Tip 6: Sign Up for Newsletters
Some small business owners still want to reach people through email and print newsletters. Newsletters are an opportunity to get business highlights. You can read about upcoming sales, tours, or new content.
When you stay up-to-date with their business, you will give better recommendations to others. The best way to support a friend’s small business for free is just being informed about their business. 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.
There you have it, the ultimate guide to supporting a small business without buying anything. Spending even thirty minutes each month 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, algorithms, and online bots.