We all know that one picture is worth a thousand words. For Downtown small businesses participating in DLBA’s Gift Card Giveaway campaign over the last few months, one picture on DLBA’s Instagram page was worth thousands of positive words and well-needed public connection.

Daily gift card giveaways invite DLBA’s Instagram followers to participate in challenges to win cards. On May 1, DLBA gave away four $25 gift cards to Churrino.

Since the Safer at Home order was given in mid-March, DLBA has been purchasing digital gift cards from local businesses to give away on its Instagram account.

“What’s great about this giveaway is that it gives businesses who may be closed or experiencing reduced revenue a chance to reconnect with the community that loves them,” said Lauren Mayne, DLBA Social Media and Digital Marketing Coordinator. “The giveaway helps support small businesses by giving them immediate cash and free promotion on our social media. We have over 30,000 followers right now who are seeing these giveaways as a daily reminder to shop local and engage with the DTLB community.”

Not all small businesses in Downtown offer digital gift cards that are easily transferable to winners. To include those businesses, DLBA had to get creative.

“When this giveaway began, we wanted to focus on businesses that offered digital gift cards. As we continued promoting our DTLB neighbors, we realized that digital gift cards didn’t make sense for certain types of businesses,” Mayne noted. “For example, in our Groundwork Fitness giveaway, we opted for prepaid virtual fitness classes. With Atomic Basement Comics, we featured comic books as our prize. There’s no cookie-cutter solution to promoting a small business. Each post needs to be as unique as the shop itself.”

On May 4th (Star Wars Day), DLBA gave away comic books from Atomic Basement Comics.

Scroll through DLBA’s Instagram posts over the last several weeks and you will find daily evidence of the can-do spirit within the Downtown small business community. Starting with a late-March giveaway to the Downtown bar Mezcalero – which sparked a discussion about favorite “quarantini” recipes – DLBA’s Instagram followers began receiving a steady flow of enticing giveaway promotions featuring local barbers, restaurants, dessert shops, holistic healers, and a myriad of businesses that reflect the diverse fabric of Downtown.

Grateful prize recipients were quick to offer feedback. “Thank you!” said a winner of a batch of fresh-roasted gourmet coffee beans. “I love this Instagram page and Downtown Long Beach. I’ve lived here for 14 years now and love to see Downtown grow and change.”

Participating businesses are touched and delighted by the love and encouragement they’ve been receiving through the giveaway. “Wow!!” posted the MAKE Collective Boutique. “Feeling all the LOVE, everyone! So grateful for my Long Beach community. The support right now means so much! Can’t wait to see each and every one of your faces when we open back up. I am getting all emotional reading these comments. Seriously love you all.”

Throughout the quarantine weeks, Gift Card Giveaway posts were interspersed with posts chronicling the many donation meals provided to front-line health care workers and first responders by such Downtown restaurants as Burger Daddy, Arize Cafe and Portuguese Bend Distillery.

“This campaign taught us how great of an impact one post can have. Posting daily about small businesses helped keep the business community in the minds of our audience, and it also helped those establishments reach new followers,” Mayne reflected. “It’s done a great job at opening the door for community interaction with Downtown businesses and DLBA while providing a positive promotion for businesses.”

Since mid-March, DLBA has purchased over $6,000 worth of gift cards and giveaways on behalf of Downtown small businesses.