Grassroots social media campaign Buy from the Bush helped generate $5 million for featured small businesses in its first four months, in a stunning fightback against drought, new analysis shows.
On average those businesses experienced a "300 per cent sales uplift" within one month of being featured and one in five hired new workers.
The results are contained in a newly-released economic impact evaluation by AlphaBeta Australia, commissioned by Buy from the Bush and Facebook Australia.
One of its success stories is Coonamble boutique mink and me, which saw its revenue grow almost five-fold in the weeks after the launch of Buy from the Bush.
Eight months later, boutique owner Lucy Moss is still marvelling at the "life-changing" impact of the movement.
Prior to Buy from the Bush, her online shopfront accounted for 20 per cent of her revenue, but then rose to as high as 65 per cent in the last quarter of 2019, she said.
"We had to take on new staff, because before that, I was pretty much it, as a one-woman show," Mrs Moss said.
"I employed up to six staff casually, over that period, once the Buy from the Bush phenomenon kicked in, just to keep up with the orders."
"It's been life-changing."
The study showed Buy from the Bush positively impacted small businesses in regional and remote Australia in five key ways, including "revenue, market access, employment opportunities, entrepreneur empowerment and well-being".
Mrs Brennan said it was exciting to share the research, which illustrated the impact of Buy From The Bush on individuals, businesses and communities.
"It's evidence of how powerful community-driven action, enabled by digital technologies like Instagram and Facebook, can be," she said.
"It has changed lives.
"With ongoing investment I believe Buy from the Bush has the potential to significantly improve economic and social outcomes for rural Australia in the long term."
The movement has 192,000 followers on Facebook.
"Platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be a great equalizer for businesses in regional and remote Australia," Facebook Australia and New Zealand policy director Mia Garlick said.
"The research announced today highlights how social platforms have helped to level the playing field for bush businesses. It can send a message of hope during these challenging times for small business owners across the country, especially those impacted by bushfires and COVID-19.
"Something as simple as a social media post can help business owners connect with customers across town, across the country or even in other countries."