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February 04, 2022

These can be vegan energy balls, cute handmade greeting cards, or tasty tomato ketchup made by a farming family in a Swiss mountain village.

Local products have their own charm, their own authenticity, their own uniqueness. More and more people are buying locally made products and trying out what small, independent stores have to offer, so buying local is increasingly more than just a trend.

For those who have yet to be convinced to buy local brands, here are the benefits of doing so: By supporting local businesses, you can actively support your community, help revitalize the economy and benefit the environment by reducing waste, pollution and carbon emissions. The stronger small businesses are, the more a community can become self-sufficient and less dependent on imports.

a local shop with a sign on blackboard

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has also affected small and medium-sized businesses. Some have been forced to close their doors for good. Others are struggling to stay afloat. They are more in need of help than ever. Any purchase could easily be turned into funds for living expenses, help more entrepreneurs keep producing, and potentially create more jobs.

But do you know that you don't have to spend a lot of money to help local businesses stay and grow? Here are 5 inexpensive ideas you can do: 

Give them social media engagement 

a hand playing social media

Social media has infiltrated people's lives more than ever. Even before the pandemic, people were spending more time online. Social media channels have become effective ways for small businesses to thrive. By "liking" or following small businesses on social media, you reach more people (and hopefully more sales). By liking, sharing and commenting on their posts, you help them increase their online presence. Another option is to tag a friend on social media so more people hear about the product or service.

Your social media engagement for small business will make their page more active and attract potential customers.

Tell your circle about it

3 people stand and talk

Would you be more likely to buy that new cereal if you heard an experience from your colleague or read an article about it? Tell your friends and family about the local brand you love. They will trust you more and remember the testimonials because they hear them from someone they know personally. Word of mouth as best advertising is still the most powerful advertising tool. If you know people who are looking for local gift ideas, let them know what businesses or services you've had good experiences with. In fact. Networking is king. 

Write a review

Share your experience online. Was the product delicious? Was the service professional? Did you receive your order on time? Did you find a special, personal touch in your order? You can tell a lot. A review about great products or services has a very positive impact on the company. By leaving positive feedback or stars, you help the business attract new customers. You can do this on the company's social media page or on other online sites like Google reviews, Tripadvisor or Yelp.

Give a 'Shout-Out'

a hand playing instagram

Let's say you just tried delicious chips from a local business that uses leftover bread to avoid food waste. Recommend the product. Take a photo, post it on your social media account and tag the business. Say something cool and honest about it. The more they get their name out there, the better.

Consider small before big

When you're doing your normal shopping, think about your choices e before you buy it. Take an extra second to see if you could support small businesses in your neighborhood. 

Local businesses are of great benefit to our community and economy, but they need our support to continue to exist and grow. There are many easy ways to help them without spending money. A simple online review or social media tip can make a big difference for them. Do you have local products that you love? We'd love to hear how you support them? 

Text: Kathy Muenster, Zürich-based content designer

Photos: Unsplash

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