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December is Support Local Business Month. #SupportLocal2015

Recently we looked at how if you Support Local businesses, you will feel good, help the neighbourhood keep its flavour, and show solidarity with the hardworking people who run their own companies. But did I mention that Santa could put you on his extra-nice list and maybe even get you that Porsche Boxster you’ve been hankering for*, if you shop neighbourhood businesses and hire local service providers?

While we hear a lot about the global economy, and it’s great that you could probably order up that car with a click of a mouse if you wanted to, it’s still the local mom-and-pop shops, eateries and service providers that are the bread and butter of our communities in so many ways – and that make living in that neighbourhood so darn special. If you’re thinking YEAH!!!! Only to remember you’ve already blown your monthly budget in a single frenzied night of Black Friday shopping, that’s quite all right. You can easily Support Local right in the comfort of your home, without spending a dime....of course, if you got it, spend it. But did you know that you can also support businesses online? Two easy, effective and FREE ways to Support Local businesses online Oscar Wilde said that the only thing worse than being talked about was NOT being talked about. How true in our social media driven world! Without conversations, it seems like nothing would happen at all. That’s why our first awesome way to support home grown businesses is… Talk about them online. If you had the best pedicure ever, don’t just put your socks on and go home. Take a picture of those pretty toes and share it with your friends on Instagram! Mention the great services, meals and products you’ve enjoyed on your social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. Or ask your favourite small business owner for a selfie, and tag them on Facebook as being the best [insert title] ever. Follow them, and share what they say with your friends. Any small business owner who is serious about reaching out to fans online, will have some kind of social media presence. Say they’re on Twitter and you’re following them for their cool, informative tweets. Don’t be selfish, share that shiz! Re-tweet what they have to say to your friends. Your friends want to know! Why are you keeping this from them? Wait…what about my own business? Can I "Support Local" myself? Hells yeah! In fact, it’s a must. But beyond paying for advertising and trying to leverage your fans, your fans’ friends, and your fans’ friends’ friends’ sisters’ cousins, there’s lots you can do to encourage people to use you rather than the corporate giants. Band together. Two heads are better than one, and never is this truer than in the case of strategic business alliances. You’re a small business. You patronize another small business. Say you’re an independent local café brewing really amazing fair trade coffee, and you source your delicious hand-made pastries from a local gourmet bakery. The opportunities for joint promotion(s) are endless! Offer discounts to each other’s eateries, promote each other on Facebook with selfies and tagged comments, agree to mention, refer and further each other’s business wherever you go. Bonus: you discover you both source your dairy products from a local farm that keeps happy, grass fed, humanely raised cows. Now’s your chance to create a three-way power trifecta of products that are an essential complement to your own. Create your own hashtag. If you doubt the tremendous power of the hashtag, consider when #BrusselsLockdown was trending; it transformed the behaviour of an entire city reeling from shock, grief and fear, in just minutes. Create your own hashtag in line with whatever you want to talk about. For example, the aforementioned café could get the conversation going with #Torontosbestcoffee and use it in all your online conversations, pictures and posts about your biz. What’s your favourite way to Support Local? Share your tips and tricks online and tag #SupportLocal2015! *Clause: The possibility of Santa Claus coming to town and bringing you a Porsche in his sack is strictly hypothetical. We are not responsible for, nor do we guarantee or warrant the actions of Santa, his elves, or any other representatives of the North Pole.

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