After last year, many East Texans still find themselves a bit strapped for cash. You know who else is still struggling? Many of our locally-owned East Texas businesses.

In fact, I've spoken with various friends who own businesses and they've shared their worries with me. And on top of basic business still recovering, many of them are struggling to find all of the employees they need.

It will take a little while for them to recover to get to where they need and want to be. So anything we can do to support them is crucial. For them and for all of us.

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I've been focusing hard on buying from East Texas-owned businesses whenever I can. Many of us are.

But even if you curbing your spending this year, there's still several ways you can support local and/or small businesses and projects this year--thanks to social media.

Social media often gets judged harshly for keeping us glued to our screens, waiting for the next hit of dopamine when a post gets a "like." Certainly, like any other addiction, we have to be careful not to go overboard.

At the same time, there are real ways you can support local and small businesses using the power of social media. Here's 8 ways you can start helping immediately on social media: 

Share Their Posts. Yep. Pretty simple, huh? It can be hard to get traction on a social media platform's algorithm when a post is originating from a business page on Facebook. Instagram, Twitter, etc. all have their own algorithms that can be confusing. An organic share from another human can be quite a boost for them.

LIKE Their Posts. Even simpler, huh? Even if you don't feel compelled to share the post, even a simple like can help them become more visible.

Tag A Friend. It's really about engagement. If you come across a post from a business owner that you know a friend may be like, don't be afraid to tag them. It could benefit both your friend AND the business.

Comment On Their Post. So, for example--let's say you like this post you're reading right now. Wanna help me spread the word? I would really, really appreciate a comment either on the site, or better yet on Facebook if you linked to it from there. (Hint ;))

Your friend's business would definitely appreciate it, too. It helps them become more visible on whatever platform they're using.

Don't like words? Simply Comment Using An Emoji. Hey--this counts as a comment, too. It will literally take you like 2-5 seconds--depending on how long it takes you to find the "heart with stars" or the "happy frog" emoticon.

If you use the service or product, Post A Pic on your own page and let people know how much you enjoy working with them and why.

Give A Simple Shout-Out. It's super easy to tag a business on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Just type "@" followed by a few letters of the business name or your friend's name and OUILA! It should pop up--although I confess it seems to work some times better than others.

Leave A Positive Review. Sadly, people seem more willing to leave a bad review than a good one. Yeah, it's a couple of extra moments out of our day. But, leaving a good review is a personal testimonial from you. And testimonials are powerful.

Obviously, if we CAN spend money with our East Texas business owners, that would be amazing. Please consider them when you're shopping and dining out. But, if you can't--this could be the next best thing.

Any others you'd add to this list?


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