As Canadian businesses have continued to feel the devastating effects of COVID-19, Arlene Dickinson and her team at Venture Communications have been searching for a unique way to support local entrepreneurs. The answer: #RavingReviews.
The #RavingReviews campaign encourages consumers to post a review on Google, Yelp or the company website and then perform your review and post it to your social media accounts. The video adds a personal touch to the review because consumers can experience your enthusiasm for the business directly from you.
“When we find a small business we love, we get so enthusiastic about it and we talk about it a lot,”ARLENE DICKiNSON
Dickinson said. “Like, when you’re telling a friend, “Oh I found this great coffee shop,” or this great bakery or restaurant and you always rave about it, right?”
Dickinson and her team found that 90% of consumers read online reviews before even visiting a business. Makes you want to go and check your Yelp Page right? But not only are consumers reading these reviews, many people trust them as they would recommendations given by a close friend. The bottom line is: excellent reviews can help drive business.
#RavingReviews has been garnering attention online as the campaign picks up. Several celebrities have raved about their favourite local businesses including: Drew Scott, Hayley Wickenheiser, Amber Mac and Dan Clapson. When asked who else she’d like to see post a #RavingReview Dickinson had a few names in mind.
“Let’s go big. Let’s get Ryan Reynolds to do one, because why not? He loves Canada. You know, I think we could get – Tessa Virtue could do one. Maybe the whole cast of Schitt’s Creek, the Levys’, all the cast members.”Arlene dickinson
Dickinson’s first #RavingReview showcased the Toronto-based business The Spice Trader, located on Queen St. West. In the video she raves about how helpful the staff are, the quality of the spices and much more.
When asked what other local businesses Dickinson would shoutout in a #RavingReview, she listed another 5 of her favourite spots including: Balzac’s the independent cafe chain; Pop Health Bar which sells organic smoothies and natural foods; Forno Cultura for the best pizza; and Marvelous by Fred for the absolute best pastries. Joso’s and Soto Soto were also mentioned as Dickinson admires and respects ownership for all the hard work they put into their restaurants. Meg’s is Dickinson’s favourite Canadian designer who has a boutique on Queen St. and in New York.
Splitting her time between Toronto and Calgary, Dickinson admits there are many places in the city she has yet to discover. Spending a lot of time in the King West and Yorkdale areas, Dickinson has plans to explore as many areas of the city as possible.
“I haven’t spent enough time in the Beaches area and those areas and I’d like to explore those a little more,” Dickinson said. “Also, Leslieville or the Junction, there’s so many fabulous places to go.”
On top of leaving your #RavingReview, Dickinson has some other tips on supporting local businesses. Before ordering online, check if an independent business has the product you are looking for with shipping and order from them. Giving gift cards to your friends and family is another easy way to support local businesses.
“At this time of year, or any time of the year, people need things. So if you know a great store, why not buy a gift card and give them as presents, so people can try them themselves,” Dickinson suggests.
Use gifts as an opportunity to support local artists. This past Christmas, Dickinson bought her loved ones pieces from a local woodworker’s gallery in PEI. Plus, what could be more exciting than having a mystery gift show up at your door? It’s a great way to give unique gifts, share products you love with your community, and create hype around businesses that truly deserve it.