“If you’re scared or worried, do something to help others.”
These are words Diane White’s mom used to say, and they are words the Tulsa PR woman put to use after the onslaught of COVID-19.
White is the woman behind one of Tulsa’s 33,000-member (at press time) Facebook groups, “Stand Up to COVID 19 — Support Local Tulsa Business.”
“I think like everyone I had this heightened sense of fear and worry,” White says of the days surrounding the group’s March 16 launch. She had just called off spring break plans and Mayor G.T. Bynum had just canceled events with more than 50 people. “It was the calm before the storm, and people knew it would never be the same.”
With the goal of helping local small businesses, she started by simply tagging friends and small businesses on her personal page. An immediate stream of comments encouraged her to create a group and invite 300 to join. Overnight, there were 2,000 members.
“It came out of this authentic place,” she says. “It grew because of Tulsa, and all these people in there supporting small business.” Members can promote deals, leave positive recommendations and connect each other with resources, sharing information critical to not only businesses, but also nonprofits and displaced workers.
White and her team at Diane White PR moderate and categorize posts and frequently add members. They plan to keep the group going after this subsides.
“I hope that part of the new normal is that everyone truly is shopping local, not just on Small Business Saturday, but doing it all year long,” she says.