“Support your friends’ businesses and progressions like you support the celebrities you don’t actually know.”
I think that’s a powerful statement (with a bit of truth behind it). It seems, in the US at least, that people can be quick to jump on the bandwagon to support the latest fad when they may have small business owners in their circle feeling unsupported.
I believe education and communication are imperative to set up the support you need. I also believe our comrades want to support our endeavors, but may fall into the trap of “innocent ignorance.”
It’s not their fault, really. They simply don’t know what support looks like—what is helpful and what isn’t.
In the spirit of education for all parties, I’ve prepared the following list of 10 Ways to Support Small Business Owners Who Write:
- Read their stuff. Books, blogs, posts, memes—read it all if you can. If you can’t, at least click on the link to count it as a page view. Writers write to share stories, relay information, and empower others. As Oprah says, “Everybody just wants to be heard. Validate them. I see you. I hear you, and what you say matters to me.” It’s a basic human need and it’s easy to meet.
- Share their stuff. If you like what you read, share it with your peeps. Share it far and wide. Let your circle of influence know why the article struck a chord with you. Don’t just share it on your Facebook timeline either, share it in your Facebook groups and consider your other social media channels as well (including LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram). Think of your entire network and the diverse groups who could benefit from the writer’s words. Note: Speaking of sharing, you should know it’s more valuable for the writer if you share the piece from the publisher’s website (the Huffington Post website, for example) than the social media post itself. When sharing from the publication’s site, the shares are tracked. A higher number of shares tracked by the publisher, help build the writer’s credibility. While page views represent good promotional efforts in presenting articles to an audience, shares indicate high-quality content that resonates with the audience.
- Comment on their stuff. If you like what you read, let the writer know—preferably on the publisher’s site. Comments on the publisher’s site help keep the post active and engages readers (long after the original publishing date). Also, commenting on the publisher’s site keeps all remarks in one place and visible to everyone who reads the article. This starts a larger conversation with a more varied group of people (instead of numerous conversations in smaller groups across multiple media channels).
- Let them know how their story impacted you. See #1. Writers write to help others. They know sharing their story will help and empower others. Stories connect people. Stories help people know they are not alone. When you read a story and you are able to say, “That happened to me too,” or “I feel the same way,” the author did his or her job. Let the writer know you were moved by their words. It means the word to them—honestly and truly, it does.
- Engage with their content on social media. When articles, blogs, posts, and memes are shared on social media, engage with it and be generous with your reactions. Don’t just like a post if you really love it. The Facebook algorithm gives more weight to reactions over likes when evaluating relevancy and placing articles in the News Feed. So, give the posts all the love you can to help boost its placement and display it in front of more people.
- Like their business social media page(s)—Even better, share them. It just takes a moment. Literally. You can turn notifications off so you don’t receive broadcasts of posts or activities on the page(s). For small businesses, having higher numbers on social media pages can mean the difference between obtaining sponsorships or not, and this directly impacts income.
- Hire them when appropriate—or recommend them if it’s not. If your businesses are compatible and it makes sense to work together, make it happen. A word of caution first, make sure you have proper contracting in place to ensure business needs are addressed properly before the work begins. If you can’t work together directly, make sure you have a digital version of their business card to pass along when networking and opportunities arise.
- Offer to review initial drafts. Writing is a solitary endeavor, particularly for those who freelance. For writers, it’s immensely helpful to have someone else review their work and offer a fresh perspective. It’s even good to have a bit of the Red Pen Treatment. Writing gets better through editing. Having someone else proofread and provide constructive criticism is a welcome offer.
- Send them writing resources you find. With US consumers now spending five hours per day on mobile devices and 51% of that time on social media, you’re bound to come across articles, memes or studies related to writing or publishing. Pass your findings along to your writer friends. Even if it’s just for a laugh. Again, it only takes a minute and will be appreciated.
- Trust them with YOUR story. Everyone has a story to tell. Most people have several. Often, people are afraid to tell their story because it is too dark or sad. You know what? Dark and sad stories are very relatable. Every person knows dark and sad in one way or another. The act of writing is one of the best ways to process emotion and gain perspective. When you share your story with others, it helps them to process emotion and gain perspective. It also helps them feel supported, because in reading your story they can now say, “Me too. I’m no longer alone.” This empowers them, and the cycle begins.
Live your truth, tell your story, empower others.
It’s a big world out there, and today’s technology makes it possible for nearly anyone to succeed in business with a bit of dedication and perseverance. And of course, a little help from their friends.