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10 Ways to Support Small Businesses for Free

Free ways to support small businesses.

Small businesses are invaluable assets to our community in northern Wisconsin in U.P. Michigan. By keeping money local, small businesses foster the strength of the local economy and community morale. Small businesses offer meaningful jobs with higher rates of satisfaction than you’ll find at many larger companies, and they also contribute to the unique flavor of northern Wisconsin and U.P. Michigan towns that keeps tourists coming back year after year and keeps happy residents here for their entire lives.

Supporting small businesses is important for our region all year—not just on Small Business Saturday, right after Thanksgiving. Although we definitely recommend making purchases and visiting small businesses, there are impactful ways you can show your support for free.

10 No-Cost Ways to Support Small Businesses

1. Tell your friends, family, and coworkers about the business.

Even in this highly digital world, good, old-fashioned word of mouth is still a powerful and relevant tool.

2. Write a review.

Consider leaving a review on Facebook, Yelp, and/or Google. Use words that are positive, truthful, and believable.

3. Follow the business account on social media.

Check out Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, and other platforms to see if the business has accounts.

Did you know that some social media platforms provide benefits only to business accounts with large followings? For example, a 10K following on Instagram enables the “swipe up” feature and allows businesses to attach links to stories. These tools drive success by making it easier for prospective customers to visit the business’s website, contact the staff, and make a purchase. Having an established following also gives the company leverage and exposure as their posts appear higher up and more frequently in users’ feeds.

Furthermore, some large corporations will only work with small businesses that have a large number of followers and a high post engagement rate, so following small businesses really can provide them with greater opportunities.

4. Engage with the business’s posts on social media.

Use the reaction buttons (like, love, etc.). Comment on their posts and tag a friend. Send them a direct message. Share their posts and stories. Even simply clicking on a link to their blog or another page of their website and then clicking some more internal links while you’re there are helpful actions. These actions demonstrate to the platforms’ algorithms that the business’s content is valuable, making it more likely that the content will reach a wider audience.

5. While you’re visiting a local business, post an on-location photo on Instagram.

6. While using a small business’s product, snap a photo with the product in-hand.

Man taking photo of his coffee to support a small business.

7. Tag the business, use the business’s hashtag, and/or add the business’s location to your own post.

8. Sign up for the organization’s email list.

9. If the business has a booth at a community event, such as one of the Northwood’s unique festivals, stop by their booth and say hello.

10. If you notice an issue on their website or social media account, suggest a fix.

Perhaps there’s a broken link or outdated contact information. The business owner may never realize the error unless you flag it for them. Google makes this easy—if you notice something amiss, you can simply click the “Suggest an edit” link. In other cases, you can use the business’s contact information to write the business owner a (tactful) email, notifying them of the error or issue. Not only will you be helping the business, but you’ll be helping other prospective customers find a valuable local product or service.

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