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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.[1] Through word of mouth, social media, and press coverage, an organized cash mob can have an enormously positive effect on hometown businesses.

Cash MobI’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![2] 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.[3]

The importance of a Check-in

Google ReviewA “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.”

[1] http://www.cashmob.com/

[2] http://searchengineland.com/study-72-of-consumers-trust-online-reviews-as-much-as-personal-recommendations-114152

[3] http://www.brightlocal.com/2013/06/25/local-consumer-review-survey-2013/