If you’ve been a reader for a while here, then you know how important supporting local is to me — and it probably is to you too since you’re here! My blog’s main focus is all about living your BEST life right here in Baton Rouge — and of course supporting our local creatives, small businesses and entrepreneurs along the way. And what better time of year to support our local folks than during Christmas!! So check out three ways you can support local businesses this holiday season below!

Shop Local Louisiana | Local tee by Hey Penelope in Baton Rouge

Local tee from Hey, Penelope located at 7317 Jefferson Hwy

1- BUY your gifts at small businesses

Ok, so this is a given. But I wanted to get down to the basics first!

Buying locally is easier now than ever. Obviously, the traditional way is to hop in your car and drive down the road to their store/restaurant/business.

But today we have SO many local businesses that are run solely online or out of people’s homes. And lucky for us social media and our phones make it suuuuper easy to shop from them– and brick and mortar stores. It’s as easy as shopping their websites or even their social media. Now, we can literally comment on an Instagram post and purchase something — or even send them a DM. Crazy! But it’s really easy and really cool how shopping is changing.

Here in Baton Rouge, we also have plenty of in-person events you can shop with lots of businesses all at once. We recently had Mistletoe Market, HollyDays and White Light Night, but we still have the Holiday Shop Hop downtown on December 7 and Mid-City Makers Market coming up!

(And more Baton Rouge Fashion Council events coming up in 2018!)

Plus, the good thing about purchasing your Christmas gifts locally is you’ll be buying something really unique and knowing it’s really making an impact on a small business owner.

Get the Baton Rouge Holiday Shopping Guide HERE!

2- SHARE the local love

Next, I want to encourage you to SHARE the local love.

You can do this by sharing your shopping experience through your Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook with your friends and family (and me!) Or by simply TALKING about local businesses with your friends/family — which I’m sure you already do! But really make it a point to spread the word of the businesses you’re passionate about this year. If you have friends struggling to find Christmas gifts, tell them of your favorite boutique down the street. Or purchase a gift card to one of your favorite restaurants to gift to a family member that you don’t know what else to get.

Over the past few years, as I’ve worked with local small businesses, I’ve learned they THRIVE off word-of-mouth. Often times, their marketing/advertising budgets aren’t huge, so YOU are really giving them a gift by sharing your love for their business on your social media platforms.

Let’s all band together over the next month and really spread the message of shopping locally with #shoplouisiana.

This is a hashtag I started using a few years ago with the Baton Rouge Fashion Council, and I’d love to use it as a way for us to share what we are purchasing and, hopefully, discover new local businesses to love and shop along the way!

p.s. Here’s a whole post on LOCAL hashtags.

3- INTERACT with small businesses on social media

One way you can really help a local small biz without spending any money is by commenting or liking their photos on social media.

I know it sounds weird, but that truly helps a TON!

Here’s a little on Instagram if you’re not familiar with the biz/marketing side of things: Basically, there’s this big scary algorithm that Instagram chooses who you see in your feed based on well… their algorithm.

You may follow accounts and NEVER see their photos. Instagram “judges” photos you may want see based on the amount of engagement a post gets. If its popular with likes/comments, Instagram thinks you may want see it too, so they show it to you.

Also, if YOU like/interact with an account often then Instagram thinks you like seeing their posts, so they keep showing it to you — and more potential customers!

SO if you have people/businesses you WANT to see on your feed, then you should be interacting with them like crazy to make it clear to Instagram you like them.

As far as small businesses, Instagram and Facebook are usually the top marketing platforms because they’re easily accessible and the most cost efficient… plus it’s where ALL the people are hanging out vs traditional print media, tv, radio — which are all more expensive.

So you simply liking, commenting, sharing and following your local favorites REALLY makes a difference. And I know they really appreciate the support.

Shop Local Louisiana | Local tee by Hey Penelope in Baton Rouge

p.s. Here are some of the local small business owners I featured this year on Southern Flair:

Nimia Cabrera of Elohim + Nim

Jennifer Myers of Article & Thread

Jada Bruce of Movement Martial Arts & Fitness

Emily Hymel of Crave Macarons

Mary Johnston of Merry Floral

Rachel Vielee of Southern Sophisticate Boutique

Kadee Wilson of The Purple Rack

Meredith Waguespack of SFT

Annie Claire Bass and Chelsey Blankenship of Sosis Boutique

And again my Local tee here is from Hey, Penelope!

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