Always, Katie: 8 Free Ways to Support Your Friend's Small Business

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

8 Free Ways to Support Your Friend's Small Business

I love supporting small business, as do many of my friends and family and most of you, dear readers. :-) I respect the makers using their skills to support or supplement their families, and I know the hard work that goes into these businesses, so I love to encourage those efforts and know my purchases are making a difference to a family instead of being a drop in a corporation's bucket. :-)

We all probably know lots of people who own their own direct sales businesses (in fact, if you're ever looking for a consultant for any sort of direct sales company, I probably know two or three that I can highly recommend for any given company), and many of us probably know people selling homemade goods in etsy shops, or curating stylish and fun boutiques. But another venture that a lot of people forget is a small business... is blogging. :-) 

Always, Katie is pretty much a one-woman show, although I do get lots of support from Ethan and from a few close blogging friends. :-) I mentioned a year ago that I was taking my blog "pro" and beginning to work on sponsored posts and other forms of monetizing, but I never really explained in much detail what those things mean or how they work. Or how friends who want to support my small business can do so. ;-) 

The best thing about supporting your blogger friend (and most of the info I'm about to share will apply to most of us who run for-profit blogs) is that most ways won't cost you a penny, or at least not a penny you wouldn't have spent anyway. :-) 

Read her blog.

We love it when our friends and families read our stuff... but also, when someone visits my blog, I get pageviews that register with a program I use to track my statistics. These statistics are important for our sponsored post opportunities, because potential partners like to see a high number of pageviews. In fact, most of these partners or the sponsorship networks that connect us with those partners won't even offer you work unless you have a certain number of pageviews per month, and the most lucrative ones require PRETTY high numbers! Also, pageviews are one of the major contributing factors for how much I can fairly charge a company to write sponsored content for them. I also have ads placed in my sidebar and in my footer, and the commissions on these also depend on pageviews and ad clicks.

Click on links.

Some sponsored campaigns have us insert links into our posts, and we actually get paid per clickthrough. We're not allowed to disclose when a link is that kind of link, so we try to make them enticing links to click! Usually these will take you to the company's site or to a coupon download. Once there, you don't have to click anything else for us to benefit, but look around anyway! We wouldn't work with the company if we didn't think their site had something that would benefit our specific audience! If a link leads to another page in our blog, it's because it is somehow relevant to the post you're reading, and clicking through helps you read more of our story plus it boosts our pageviews and improves a lesser-known or used stat called "bounce rate." Brands like to see that people spend more than a few seconds on our sites ;-)

Leave a comment.

Brands love to see engagement on sponsored posts, and when those posts are on a blog, comments are the major form of engagement. But also, comments encourage us that people are reading and getting value out of what we work hard to create!

Share posts you love.

I get giddy when people share things I've written because they think their friends could benefit from reading my words! Such a great gift to a writer! Plus, all the things about pageviews and clicks... if your friends click through, we get even more of those :-)

Use her affiliate links.

This is a little tricky to explain, but I am an affiliate for a couple of small companies and for Amazon. If I share a coupon code, chances are high that I'm receiving a small amount of money or credit toward free product (which I will probably give away on my blog or Instagram!). So with those, it's a win for both of us! You get a discount, I get a tiny kick back ;-) With Amazon affiliate links, I disclose ahead of the link (in compliance with FDA law), and if you click on an Amazon affiliate link (like this one -> hedgehog dryer balls) and buy ANYTHING within 24 hours, I get a teeny tiny percentage of that total purchase. Even if it isn't the product my affiliate link led to! When I say teeny tiny, I mean that in the several years I've been an affiliate, I haven't made enough money for it to be worth it to them to cut me a check ;-) But maybe as my posts start reaching more people :-)

"Like" and comment on Facebook (especially her business page) and Instagram.

Likes and comments make Facebook and Instagram algorithms like us, and put our posts into more newsfeeds. I have 400+ Facebook fans, but an average post of mine only reaches fewer than 100 people. Even if an article I post isn't written by me, likes and comments on it will improve the overall ranking for my page, leading to more eyeballs on posts that DO lead to my blog. Instagram works very similarly, with the additional fact that many sponsored posts I do pay based on number of likes and/or comments. Engagement is key on pretty much all of our social media platforms! Plus, again... it just feels nice :-)

Enter giveaways or participate in challenges!

While these are time-consuming to put together, most of our giveaways are a chance we jump on to be able to give back to the wonderful folks who support us! We love to be able to give you nice things, and we really appreciate when you get excited about the chance to win something we picked out just for you. :-) If we're working directly with the brand (ie, the brand is supplying the prize rather than us purchasing it out of our blog budget), they do like to see high numbers of entries! Engagement engagement engagement! ;-)

Ask questions.

If there's a subject or question that you think she may have a unique or expert perspective on, she would love to know so that she can work on blog posts on those subjects. For example, I get lots of questions from BFC patients about what to pack, and I'm looking forward to making a packing list just for people traveling to Barbados for IVF treatments! Is there a product you'd love to see a review on? Let her know... she may be able to approach the company to work together. If you're interested, her other readers probably are, too!

So there you are! Your friendly neighborhood blogger is a small business owner who appreciates your support as much as an Etsy seller or Tupperware lady (is that still a thing?) does, AND there are tons of ways to offer that support that don't cost you anything but a minute or two of your time... and you may learn something fun or useful in the process. :-) Cool, right!?

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