Of Sticky Buns and Social Media…
Is it possible to find love in a warm, fresh sticky bun? Quite possibly. At least that was my first thought as I tried one of these delightful indulgences from the new local coffee joint. But what I loved just as much was that I was buying local. For a number of reasons, I have a big soft spot for independent business owners.
And that’s part of the reason I love social media. Whether it’s YouTube or Facebook, Twitter or Flickr, social media platforms help even the marketing playing field for the businesses in your neighborhood, whether it’s the ice cream shop where your daughter got her first job or the art store where you had your marriage certificate framed. In social media, the platforms are free, and by investing time and by learning the ropes even something as “small” as a hot dog stand can connect with customers in a way that simply wasn’t possible five or ten years ago.
If each family spent $10 a month at a local business rather than a national chain it would direct nearly $9.5 billion into communities, according to the website of Independent We Stand, a group whose mission is to help independent businesses reach into communities and educate neighbors of the benefits of “buying local.” They write: “That means better schools, better roads, more support for police, fire and rescue departments and stronger local economies.”
What can you do?
- Local, independent businesses can register their website with Independent We Stand. Registration adds your business to the organization’s “Shop Local” recommendation list.
- If you have social media savvy and would like a volunteer opportunity that makes great use of your talents, contact a local organization focused on helping independent local businesses. (For example, my area has a very active chapter of SCORE.) They may be in need of a professional able to help local business owners learn how to use social media to connect with customers.
- Last, but not least: Spend $10 (or more!) with a local business.
**Thanks to Cynthia Boris on Marketing Pilgrim, who recently wrote about Independent We Stand and urged her readers to support their local businesses.