Thanks to social media and in particular Instagram, shopping habits are reverting to the old days, with more people than ever exploring their local areas to find hidden gems.
A new study, by the online business directory Yell.com, has revealed how crucial being post-worthy is for smaller businesses, with one in five people admitting they care more about “Instagrammability” than the product.
Findings showed that the audience favoured small businesses much more when they share online, as posts relating to finding a new local business on Instagram have grown over 50 per cent year-on-year.
Commenting on this, Yell CEO Richard Hanscott, said: “The findings of our study show that these local businesses truly are the backbone of the UK.
“The heightened social media conversations and interactions show they will become ever more important to local communities, with a new tech-savvy generation seeking out new discoveries and places that aren’t your high-street stalwarts.”
How “Instagrammable” a service or product is, is also now a key factor for many consumers, 20 per cent of people caring more about how a product or service will look on their feed than how much it will cost.
Regionally, the City of Westminster leads the way where local discoveries are concerned, with more consumers sharing an experience than anywhere else in the UK over the past year. This was followed by Manchester and Edinburgh.
The data suggests that local businesses are capitalising on this trend more than big high-street names, with local food and drink venues being the most popular business types to be shared online.
Shares of vegan foods shot up 408 per cent from 2016 to 2017, Thai by 217 per cent and Spanish by 200 per cent.
Alongside just posting online about your business, it is increasingly important to insert hashtags in order to be discovered by potential customers.
The most frequent hashtags used to describe a discovery of a new business on social channels are wonderful, cool and love. The term wonderful was used to describe a local business 270 per cent more since last year.
The study also found that Sunday is our most preferred day of discovery, with 16 per cent of all local shares via Instagram or Facebook, happening at the end of the weekend.
Former BBC Dragons’ Den panelist, Sarah Willingham, added her insight as to how Instagram was helping her find local businesses.
“What I love about being an investor is discovering the small businesses in the country that are doing something different,” she said.
“Small, local businesses can offer more exciting, enjoyable and personal experiences, so it’s amazing to see these local discoveries are being more readily embraced and shared by the British public.”
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