Over 280,000 people join Facebook groups backing local businesses this Christmas

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Facebook has shared new data that shows how people in Ireland are rallying around their local businesses this Christmas after what has been a disruptive year for many Irish SMEs.

In just three months, over 325,000 posts and comments using hashtags such as #buyirish #shoplocal and #supportsmallbusiness have been created on Facebook and Instagram.

On Instagram in Ireland, the fastest growing hashtag is #MadeLocal. More than 30,000 Instagram Stories featured the ‘Support Small Business’ sticker in the last three months, which people use to spotlight their favourite business to their followers.

Irish shoppers are aware that many SMEs can’t operate as normal during the most important shopping season of the year and with this in mind, communities across Ireland have been coming together online to raise awareness for small, independent businesses.

In the last twelve weeks, over 280,000 people in Ireland have joined Facebook Groups, such as Shop in Ireland, to search for and engage with Irish businesses across the country.

“I created the Shop in Ireland group in October to gather Irish shoppers and business owners together in one space,” said Teresa Venables, Community Leader of Facebook Group Shop in Ireland.

“With over 167,000 members, the group is a wonderful community of Irish SMEs from local crafters and small retailers to photographers, jewellers and more, all of whom have been affected by Covid-19.

“I felt there was a need for a quick and easy way for small businesses to reach their customers without the months of building a website and all that it entails. Facebook is an easy to use platform and businesses can set up a free Facebook Page in minutes.

“With over 100,000 shoppers browsing the Page every day, a lot of owners have experienced a level of trade they could only have dreamed of in their bricks and mortar shop or craft stalls.”

David Harris, Director of Global Business Group at Facebook, said that it’s fantastic to see the country coming together to support Irish businesses this Christmas by joining Facebook Groups and using hashtags like #BuyLocal and #CeannaighSaGhaeltacht.

“As consumer behaviour shifted online in a big way this year, we introduced a range of new features to help people discover and share their support for local businesses,” he said.

“We’re delighted to see people connecting and supporting local businesses through Facebook and Instagram.”