I’ve been running my business as my job for nearly six years now and this will be the third General Election in that time. During the last two campaigns I have seen my work vanish. Not a single online order, no new enquiries or opportunities - it just stops completely. Now when this is in May it’s bad but you just deal with it - May tends to be a pretty quiet month for me anyway. December on the other hand is another matter altogether.
Since this election was called my online traffic is down significantly. I haven’t had a single order or sale from anywhere. It’s the run up to Christmas… commissions have dried up in the last few weeks when I was expecting to get busier. When I speak to people online it’s (mostly) the same story.
One theory I have is that those of us without marketing budgets rely so heavily on social media to promote our work. During election campaigns and times of political turmoil these places are flooded with it… this has the effect of either making you anxious (and therefore you switch off from it completely) or it results in the small businesses shouting into a void… The other day I scrolled through my Twitter feed and 80% of the tweets related to the General Election. If the public don’t hear our message, they’ll just buy everything from Amazon.
Personally, I have made a very welcome change, which is muting a number of election related words in my Twitter feed (thus returning it to the friendly, inspiring place it used to be) but I know others haven’t and won’t - although I really would recommend this if you are feeling anxious - it’s life changing. I’ve vowed to keep on promoting my work, but if I’m honest it’s starting to feel like a waste of time.
I’m sure in many respects I’m preaching to the converted here, but in case you’ve stumbled upon this and it’s news to you, please please please support small businesses now. I hear tales of shops and galleries closing, in November! The timing of this election couldn’t be worse for small businesses and the only way to save them is to shop with them, and shout about it from the rooftops (oh and do join in with Indie Week too!).