Updated: May 19
A World Without Social Media
On 4th October 2021 the Facebook owned apps crashed and failed to work, this included Facebook messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. Until this point I hadn't realised how much I had relied on these apps to communicate with my audience and other small businesses. The world felt a lot smaller for several hours.
As mentioned in a previous blog post Why I Quit Facebook I had already decided that Facebook wasn't for me and that I was going to break the addiction and move away.
However, I opened my Molly Newport Design Instagram account for my illustrations and textiles work when I was in my final year of university in 2016 and since then I have spent many hours building a network and collecting moments and photos to share with others.
Once the Instagram app crashed, I suddenly realised how fragile it is as a platform and that I can't rely on that alone to keep my business and networks afloat. Although blips like these are uncommon, they can happen and it was a stark reminder that Instagram is just a platform for me to use, it could all disappear overnight without reason or warning. This could be a devastating loss for anyone who relies solely on these apps for their business.
How To Follow A Small Business Without Social Media
Make a more meaningful connection
So the app crash got me thinking... if I were to loose all access to my Instagram pages, how would I find the small businesses that I follow. Also with algorithms changing, social media and digital detoxing becoming more common - for business owners and their customers. How can we make more meaningful connections without using social media.
1. Join their mailing list
Giving out your email address might seem daunting to some people, concerned they might get hounded with emails. The reality is that many small businesses send an update once a month or even quarterly with offers, discount, personal news, recipes, inspiration, gift ideas etc. You can unsubscribe at any time.
I find that I'm more focused and present when i'm reading through a newsletter, I connect more deeply with the business who's contacted me than I would scrolling past their post on Instagram.
You can also reply to these emails, give the business owner your feedback, if you love their products or want them to trade near to you, let them know.
2. 'Favourite' their Etsy Shop / Bookmark their website
Saving items and shops online is a great way to find them again when you're ready to buy. If you're busy in that moment and see something you like, bookmark it and go back at a later date. There's nothing worse than trying to find those blue teardrop earrings in Manchester months later.
3. Visit them
If the business have a physical shop or maybe they're trying things at a craft market nearby, go and visit them! It'll be a much more meaningful experience for you than scrolling through photos online. Turn it into a good excuse to take a friend along for a catch up too.
I have a collection of shops saved on my Google Maps app, where I can see if I have a few shops saved close together or nearby somewhere that I'm visiting. I can then make the conscious effort to tie their shop into the trip, it's a great way to spend a rainy weekend.
If your new favourite business are behind a table at an event, chat to them, see where they are heading to next and book that into your diary.
4. Are they being interviewed on a podcast?
Podcasts are a quick and easy way to find lost of inspiration as well as to be introduced to people you might not necessarily have heard of before. They are also a quick way to get to know someone and you can tell almost instantly if you like them. Small businesses are usually linked in the show notes so you can find them afterwards.
5. Create a 'wish list' on Pinterest
By creating a list of your favourite shops, products, books, ideas, blog posts etc on Pinterest you can have everything saved together ready to dip into at any point.
Tell 4 friends about your new favourite shop.
A bit of good old fashioned word of mouth goes further than you might think! If you've just tried a cinnamon roll from your new local bakery, bought a great book from the new book shop in town, bought some great earrings from a start up trader at a craft event, tell your friends! Your recommendation could go further than you think.
If you're considering a digital detox or just fancy a break from social media, i'd love to hear any tips on how you found new small businesses or even things like podcasts and books.
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