You probably already knew but just for those who don't: I am currently donating my time to help YEG Edmonton local businesses in this challenging time through social media.
Q: How did you start and approach these local businesses? How did I pitch to them?
A: Long story short, one of these days during quarantine, I woke up just had a thought realizing how big of a change of my spending habit was, especially about dining out. I asked myself “what’s gonna happen to those restaurants that I used to visit? What’s gonna happen to that family restaurant that I usually visited when I was homesick? Are they even open?"
Literally, I just picked up my phone and gave them a call to ask them if they are open, asking how are their businesses going, and pitching the idea that I can set up a social media account for them, take free pictures and help them to manage and post content. Absolutely at no cost. At first, they thought: "Why free? Is this a scam?"
I mainly target those elder owners and who weren't on social media at all. My goal is simply to raise awareness in the community and to deliver information to the audience instead of trying to generating sales online.
Q: How are these family-run businesses doing?
A: For some, they are doing fine. And for some, they do see a significant drop in sales.
Those who were family-run, "while the supply lasts", no prior social media presence, those who stayed open, they were doing relatively okay since their sales were generated by the "good old loyal" customers and word of mouth.
For those located in downtown office buildings and university areas, they suffered. These business sales rely heavily on office workers and students. And since offices are closed until further notice, there isn't much traffic as before. Even with the #supportlocal movement on social media, dining out isn't as affordable and sustainable as before.
Q: Success & Challenge?
A: It is really rewarding seeing a lot of positive comments and support from the community. Either is from customers visiting the stores because they saw the post from social media or other influencers promote for us! The conversation is going!
On the flip coin, the challenge for me is that there is only so much I can help since these family businesses don't have an online payment system (and many may not need it). Additionally, how can I keep this presence on social media sustainable in the long run?
Q: What did I learn from my experience:
This Week's Challenge For You: Try a new dish!
When traveling around the world, first thing first, I observe. I observe the culture, custom, and human interaction. Interestingly, I've noticed that in Asia, A LOT of people are hanging out with their smartphones rather than talking to the friends/family that are on the dinner table right beside. This has been bugging me personally for a while. Undoubtedly, I start to ask the question "Why are we out having dinner? It makes more sense for you to stay home and play with your phone. What's really the point of this hangout?"
To be clear, this does not only happen in Asia, it is everywhere. Just more obvious.