Digitally Cash Mob Your Favorite Local Businesses
Ever heard of a cash mob? A cash mob is a group of people who gather at a locally-owned business to buy at least $20 worth of items. The purpose is to support both the local businesses, and the overall community. Locally-owned businesses are often the lifeblood of the local economy, but rising costs often mean small retailers can’t compete with the lower prices of “big box” stores. Through word of mouth, social media, and press coverage, an organized cash mob can have an enormously positive effect on hometown businesses.
I’m proud to say that we have a highly successful monthly cash mob in our area. It has rallied the community; introduced lesser known stores; and, helped to increase awareness of “buying local.” Social media has played a large role in its success. For example, there were about 50 people at the first local cash mob. News of its success spread like wildfire via Twitter and Facebook; and the next month, there were 160! It has continued to grow ever since.
But what about other lesser known local gems that can’t be “mobbed?” How can I tell people who aren’t connected to social media about my favorite places? Consumers may not be connected socially, but only 15% of consumers say they don’t use the Internet to find local businesses! How can I show my support in a digital space beyond a “Like?” The answer is leaving customer reviews and “checking-in.”
The importance of Customer Reviews
It almost goes with saying that if a friend or family recommends a place of business; we’re more likely to choose to shop there (or eat there; or use their services). 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
The importance of a Check-in
A “check-in” is when you use your GPS-enabled device and a geolocation app (i.e., Google+, Facebook, Yelp or Foursquare) to log your visit to a particular location. The more people who check-in to an establishment, the more likely the business will appear in the search results when a person looks online.
Bottom line: Check-ins help businesses get found.
Unfortunately, business owners don’t always understand the power of online word-of-mouth marketing. For this reason, they may not think to ask their customers to leave a review online. So, on behalf of all our favorite hangouts, I call on you to take time to “Check-in” to your local stores. Or better yet, take a minute to send in a short Customer Review.
Think of it as a “digital mob.”