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Edmonton sees huge jump in #SupportLocal tweets during COVID-19 shutdown

More than 600 businesses call Old Strathcona home. .
More than 600 businesses call Old Strathcona home. . Shallima Maharaj, Global News

Globally, a COVID-19-related tweet is sent every 45 milliseconds. The social media platform has also seen a surge of users is recent weeks, with its daily active users increasing 24 per cent year over year, according to Twitter’s April 30 earnings report.

Part of the online discussion focuses on local businesses adapting during the pandemic and the push to support local.

Twitter Canada says the #SupportLocal hashtag has grown in popularity in recent weeks.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Creative ways Edmonton businesses are adapting amid COVID-19

In Edmonton, #SupportLocal mentions grew 56 per cent in April (compared to March).

“We saw a huge increase in Edmonton-based mentions of #ShopLocal in April 2020,” said Laura Pearce, head of marketing for Twitter Canada.

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“This includes mentions from both the local businesses using the hashtag and the Edmontonians supporting these organizations.

“It has definitely become a key hashtag to explore for those seeking out the latest content and offers from the local restaurants and retailers.”

Support local businesses, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson urges
Support local businesses, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson urges

In Calgary, mentions grew 29 per cent over the same time period. Across Canada, #SupportLocal mentions grew 60 per cent.

In terms of sheer number of tweets in 2020, Calgary had the most #SupportLocal mentions, followed by Toronto and then Edmonton.

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“As we all adjust to the new normal, connecting online has become even more important than ever before,” Pearce said.

“We’re also seeing brands, both big and small, are stepping in to share how they are helping. We’ve seen growth in conversations across a wide range of topics, from staying home and #SupportLocal, to toilet paper, comfort food and haircuts, to what people are watching and baking.”

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READ MORE: Booming bloom business: Edmonton-area flower shops grow sales during COVID-19 isolation

Pearce highlighted four Alberta businesses doing a great job using the platform to communicate during this time.

Calgary’s Annex Ale Project is a microbrewery making hand sanitizer and Hippo Hug Canada, also based in Calgary, is a weighted blanket manufacturer making personal protective equipment (PPE).

Alberta distilleries make hand sanitizer amid COVID-19 pandemic
Alberta distilleries make hand sanitizer amid COVID-19 pandemic

In Edmonton, beauty brand and spa EvelineCharles has turned its attention to hand sanitizer as well. Belt manufacturer Unbelts is now making face masks and other PPE.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Farmers enjoy ‘buy local’ trend, but worry it may not last

Pearce said messages from companies using the #SupportLocal and #ShopLocal hashtags resonate best when they’re offering a good or service that can help support, engage or entertain customers. She said Cookies By George and Table Top Cafe were good examples of that.

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“These are simple messages tapping into larger conversations that promote how essential small businesses like these are to the communities we live in,” she explained.

Edmonton entrepreneurs open businesses during COVID-19
Edmonton entrepreneurs open businesses during COVID-19

Twitter Canada offered some simple tips to businesses hoping to make the most of their social media presence at this time. Brands should communicate by:

  • Sharing useful and reliable information
  • Providing customer service and support
  • Providing distraction and entertainment
  • Connecting through positivity and empathy

READ MORE: Toilet paper panic: Fear, fights and memes spreading faster than coronavirus

Other than #SupportLocal specifically, Twitter Canada also tallied the most-mentioned items during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most-mentioned household items:

  1. Toilet paper
  2. Soap
  3. Gloves
Stockpiling goods not necessary amid coronavirus worries: Alberta health officials
Stockpiling goods not necessary amid coronavirus worries: Alberta health officials

Most-mentioned sweet snacks:

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  1. Chocolate
  2. Ice cream
  3. Candy

Most mentioned (non-alcoholic) beverages:

  1. Coffee
  2. Milk
  3. Tea
When does your food really go bad?
When does your food really go bad?