Is it just me, or does the world seem to be getting more filled with negativity and hate? Every time I turn on the news,or open my social media, I am bombarded with people ranting about this or that, or my feed is filled with stories of corruption and rampantly evil policies.
I have been feeling myself spiralling down into despair and finding it harder to find the positives in what I do at times.
I talk with other small business owners, and many of them are also struggling to see the good and enjoy their businesses.
It is freaking exhausting and slightly overwhelming.
I have been wracking my brain, trying to work out how I can help to turn around this tide for myself and other small businesses.
How can I help my friends, colleagues and fellow small businesses to swim and succeed in this turgid mess of negative treacle?
This morning, as I watched the lunar eclipse from an empty paddock outside of Samford, I had a brainwave.
What if the counter to the darkness of negativity is sharing a little bit of light through public joy and thanks?
What if a few times a week, I tracked down my friends, colleagues and small businesses that I know or have worked with, and simply popped in a positive review for them across different social platforms?
Positive reviews are the greatest gift you can give a small business
By leaving a positive review on Google, Facebook, Yelp, True Local or other review sites, you help to make that business more visible in search engines, which in turn sends more business their way.
You also help more people to choose that business. People choose businesses based on what other people say. The more people that say nice things about a business, the more that potential clients are willing to trust that business and to use their services.
How much difference? One case study article looked at a local removalist company. When they had four reviews, they received 20 leads a month from Google. When they had 83 reviews, they received 350 leads a month from Google.
A positive review also feels amazing when you receive it. It is like winning Lotto each time one lands in your inbox. It is like you are enveloped by a deep, nurturing hug from someone who cares about you and wants to see you succeed.
It is like you have been seen and noticed. It is a validation and a vote of confidence in you and what you are doing. It refills your resilience tank and gives you a feeling that you are making a difference and that you do matter.
As an aside, it also feels darn good to leave warm, genuine, heartfelt words for someone and it costs you nothing.
A Weekly Festival of High Fives
Here is my challenge to myself, and to anyone else who wants to help support small businesses and counter the negativity that is out there.
Once a week, leave a high five, positive review for a local small business.
That’s all you need to do to make a small business owner’s day, help to send them new business and make a difference.
Just leave one high five review.
A few tips for your Festival of High Fives
Here are a few tips to get you started on your Festival of High Fives.
Always start with Google
Google Reviews have a high impact on local search engine results, which means more clients for your local business.
Type in the business’s name into search, and then check out their Google My Business listing. Click on the “Leave a Review” tab (making sure you are signed into your Google/Gmail account), and then leave your 5-star review with a few words about what makes the business effective and wonderful.
The rest of these high five locations are totally optional. You only need to leave one high five review in one place to make a difference.
If you have left a Google review, then the next best place to leave a review is Facebook. If the business has a business page and has enabled reviews to be left, then repeat the process.
One tip to the wise, Facebook blocks you if you try to leave more than two reviews in 5 minutes (go figure!) They think you are misusing the system, so if you are going to leave a Facebook review leave time between each one.
If you have left a Google and Facebook review, and are feeling particularly enthusiastic, then move onto trustworthy directories that you regularly use: Truelocal, Yelp, WOMO, Hotfrog, Tripadvisor, Beanhunter (for coffee) and ProductReview.
What to say
Many people struggle with what to say when writing a positive review or testimonial. The trick is to keep it simple and meaningful. Here are some thought prompts:
- What service or product did the business provide for you?
- What are a few features that you liked most about the product or service?
- What results did you get from using the service or product?
- Are there any specific people you would like to single out for praise?
- Who would you recommend the product or service to? Why?
But what if you only know the person as part of your networking group or as a friend and haven’t bought a service or product from them?
Even if you have never bought a product or service, you can still leave a high five review.
You will have spoken with the business owner, asked advice, seen what they do, or are on their mailing list or have liked their Facebook page and have seen what they share.
Never lie in a review and pretend to have bought something if you haven’t. Comment on what you know. Comment on their advice, expertise and skill. Comment on their helpfulness. Comment on the results you have observed.
Should you leave less than a 5-star review?
What if you think they are only 4-stars and not 5-stars?
This is entirely up to you. However, remember that people who are having a bad day never hesitate to leave a 1-star review. Most review sites average out the stars, so your 4-star review will be added to the 1-star and will not make as much of a difference.
Emotionally, when you get a 3 or 4-star review, it is a little bit of a kick – as if you are not good enough. Is this really what you want to do?
If you are going to do a Festival of High Fives, then seriously consider going all out and High Fiving the review.
My challenge to you
My challenge to you is simple. High five a small local business that you love and want to support today.