How social media can help you expand your small business

Not all entrepreneurs use online networks in their organizations’ marketing efforts. One PR pro offers three reasons to log on and broaden your digital reach.

Despite social media’s growing popularity, many small-business owners are reluctant to log on.

If you devote time to maintaining an active presence online, the results will be positive and plentiful. From strengthening brand awareness to increasing sales, here’s what platforms such as Facebook, Yelp and Twitter can help you do:

Create an opportunity

Gone are the days of “if you built it, they will come.” If you want your brand to be successful, you have to challenge yourself and your team to use social media to interact regularly with customers.

It isn’t enough simply to have an account Twitter or an organization page on Facebook, you must stay active. Once you establish an audience, you can create conversations with your customer base. Make it a goal to post at least three times per week or comment on three customer reviews every day. Making an effort to connect shows you’re a go-getter and infuses your brand image with that same energy.

Get to know your audience

For a small-business owner with a busy schedule, using social media to interact and gain insights might seem counterintuitive. It isn’t.

First, consider where you audience is. Are people using Yelp to favorably review your business? Are you seeing an increase in followers on your brand’s Facebook page? Comments and reviews are “consumer-speak” for showing they care. Although online engagement takes time, if your customers are willing to put forth the effort, you should, too. RELATED: Escalate your social media game at Ragan’s Disney best practices summit.

Remember, your success boils down to how you want your audience to remember you or refer you to their friends and followers.

Use word-of-mouth

Before the days of Facebook and TripAdvisor, if you were visiting a small town and asked the locals for a recommendation, they’d provide a list of destinations and directions.

Today, social media can do this for your business. Various platforms can help you broaden your brand’s reach using digital word-of-mouth.

If someone says something positive about your company, hop online and share it. This will help you build a reputation in your industry, and it can even identify potential brand ambassadors.

Establishing a presence on social media is not strictly a PR or marketing decision; it’s a business approach that all entrepreneurs should adopt.

What about you, PR Daily readers? How have you used social media in your marketing efforts?

Corina Manea is a PR professional, social media strategist, founder of NutsPR and client service manager for Arment Dietrich and SpinSucks. A version of this article was originally published on NutsPR.

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