How To Support Small Businesses (Tips From Business Owners)

I asked some of the Artisan Shopping members, who all own home-based online businesses, how people could support them, whether for free or not!

The best way to support a small business is to purchase from them. If you can’t purchase for some reason, there are ways to support a small business by sharing their social media posts and interacting with them online. This will encourage the social media platforms to show their posts more often so that more people will be likely to see them.


Table of Contents

Some of the links in this article are affiliate links that will pay me a small commission if you use them to purchase something.


Support a small business by shopping with them.

The most obvious way that you can support a small business is by purchasing their products. There are many home-based businesses that provide goods and services that are handmade or created in a custom manner for each customer, and they can provide products that big box stores can’t. Purchasing from them gives you a more interesting range of options than you can get from a mass manufacturer, so there’s a benefit for both customer and business owner.

The problem with this is that there are a lot of people who claim to be making their own products, but who really just resell things that they buy from manufacturers.

You need to be careful who you buy from on Etsy in order to avoid purchasing things that aren’t really handmade if that’s what you’re looking for.

One way to do this would be to use the Artisan Shopping Directory on this site, because all of the members who are listed there have been verified and do work from home and create or design their own merchandise.

Another source would be the Artisan Shopping Directory Facebook pageOpens in a new tab., which is a group for the members to post individual listings. Anyone can join the group, but only screened-in members can post their products, so you can be sure that the posts and products are verified.

And you can always share this article on your social media, which leads me to the next point!

Buy directly from their websites.

If you want to support a small business by purchasing something, always make sure that you check to see if they have an individual website, and buy from there instead of from platforms like Etsy. That way you’ll help them to avoid having to pay fees to the platform, which will eat into their profits.

online shopping

A lot of social media platforms have started including shopping features, which allow shop owners to list their products on the social media site.

Some of them will let you link to your website from the social media, but some don’t. Always try to shop from the website if the business has one, and not from a different platform!


How to support a small business for free.

There are many ways to support a small business for free, including through social media, word of mouth, and posting reviews online. It’s a simple thing to refer a business that you like to your friends, and because people like certain types of videos, it can also help your own social media engagement if you post specific types of videos like unboxing videos.

Share an unboxing video.

An unboxing video shows yourself opening a package that you’ve received from a small business and taking out the items inside of it.

People have a natural interest in opening packages, so when you post a video like that it will attract attention from more people, and it can help the small business that you purchased from because of word of mouth.

People like getting suggestions about businesses and products from their friends, so posting this kind of video will help refer people to the small business that you purchased from.

Make sure to post the link to the business to go along with the video, since that will make it easy for people to find them!

social media sharing

Interact and share on social media.

The way that social media platforms work is generally through measuring interaction, so the more activity on posts, the more they get shown to other people. When you comment, like, and save social media posts on various platforms, it helps the person who created the post more than you know.

As far as which type of interaction is best, that would be a share. So if you follow a small business and share their posts, that counts as a bigger “Vote” for the post than just liking it does.

Sharing a post to your personal timeline or saving it to a board on Pinterest is the best way to get the word out about a specific business, and it doesn’t cost anything.

Sharing products that people in your social media groups would benefit from is also an excellent way to support a small business. A lot of us have received sales from Facebook groups when our products and posts were shared in them and we really appreciate it.


For an article about how to shop local on Etsy, click here.


Comment, Like, and Save.

Next down the list are the comment, like and save for a post. These aren’t as powerful as a share as far as the individual social network platforms go, but they do show interaction, which is a positive signal.

Liking is the simplest and fastest way to show your support for a small business.

Commenting is the next step up because it involves more effort, so it tells the social media platform that you like that post more.

Saving the post, if that’s an option, is better than liking or commenting. Pinterest lets you save posts and most other platforms let you bookmark things, so taking that action shows the platform that you want to engage with the post more.

Liking, commenting, and saving also gives encouragement to the business owner, because it’s hard to post something and have no response! Even the minimum interaction, which would be liking a post, is encouraging.

Sharing the post, though, is the best thing, so definitely do that if you can!

feedback images

Leave a review

Another way to support a small business that costs nothing is to leave a review after you’ve purchased something. (Yes, it does cost to buy something but reviews are free!) People don’t realize that many platforms include the number of reviews in their search placement algorithms, but it’s something that’s taken into account.

One thing to remember is that any review that’s less than the top rating MIGHT actually hurt the shop in some way! If you have a problem with a product you should contact the shop owner before leaving a review so that you can eventually leave a 5-star rating for receiving excellent customer service!

You can also leave a positive review on websites like Google or Yahoo if the business has an account here.

Some businesses also have review spaces available on their business Facebook page, so a positive review there goes a long way.

Word of mouth in real life!

The absolute best way to support a small business is to recommend it to your friends by word of mouth. People trust their friends more than anonymous online reviews, and telling people about a business that you personally like is a great way to help them out.

If someone mentions that they’re looking for a specific product, you can refer them to the businesses that you’ve purchased from (or just send them to this shopping directory!)

Make sure that you’re not just saying “I got it on Etsy.” Etsy isn’t an individual business, so please say that you got something from our businesses, not from the platform it was purchased on!


As small business owners, we appreciate and rely on customers to spread the word about our businesses. There are many ways to do that without spending a penny, and they do help in the long run!

Make sure to share this article with your friends! 🙂

Kara

Kara Buntin has run a home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 46,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO.

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