We’ve talked recently about how social media for small businesses can generate leads and help you meet your digital marketing goals, but what about your branding and PR goals?
After all, every business owner operates essentially as their own brand. They have to cultivate a positive image, represent themselves as an active part of the local community and shape the way they are generally seen by the public. Accomplishing all of these things makes you a much more marketable — and usually successful — entrepreneur.
It may not surprise you to find out that social media marketing excels at all of these PR-related efforts and many more. For instance, those in the real estate industry indicate that the #1 reason they use social media is to promote their name and their brand.
So how exactly does social media act as an business owner’s completely transparent and fairly customizable PR hub? Here are five ways.
Showcase Your Involvement Within Your Community
Beyond showing off their knowledge, business owners should also be able to demonstrate that they do more than sell goods and services in their area.
One of the best ways to do this is to sponsor and/or attend a local event, especially one related to charity or fundraising. You can take photos that clearly depict you being an active member of these events and post them to social.
Representing yourself as an active member of the community is a highly important facet of appearing as a well-rounded and locally involved business professional. Event organizers will also appreciate you bringing attention to their cause and your enthusiasm in general.
Make Announcements and Sound Your Take on Industry News
Part of PR is keeping the public informed. Owners will want to post both announcements for their own business and commentary on industry news in general.
Social media provides the perfect platform to do that since it is highly visible and has a user base of 69% of the U.S. population.
Your announcements can reflect big events or important changes for your business. You can also keep the public informed of general announcements, like reports on industry trends, while adding your own data and opinions to the report.
Find Allies and Potential Threats
Social listening tools help you monitor certain keywords, like your own name, the name of your business or more generic terms like “personal injury lawyer (your city)” or “real estate agents in (your city)”.
Using these tools can help you keep your thumb on the pulse of ongoing conversations. If these conversations are positive, you can thank someone for their mention of your industry or your business specifically. These mentions can also serve as data points teaching you about the qualities the community responds well to.
On the flip side, you can also keep a lookout for negative sentiments. Bad press, criticism of you or your fellow industry peers and peripheral issues related to your industry are all worth keeping tabs on. You should be cautious before responding to negative takes on you or your industry, but being aware of negative opinions is better than fumbling in the dark.
Also, if you find that a person or an outlet is directly attacking you, you can gather information to prepare a calculated damage control strategy. Your ultimate aim is to respond to criticism maturely and in a way that positively reflects your brand — all without coming across as defensive. Getting as much information as you can is key to being able to put forth such a response.
Show Off Your Local Knowledge
Small business owners can build trust with their community by exhibiting local knowledge. Among certain industries like real estate, local knowledge can even be seen as a critical competitive differentiator.
Audiences feel deeper bonds with businesses that can not only keep them informed about their service area, but who can also provide specific insights that only a long-time local intimately connected with the community would know.
One way to send this message is to offer profiles on local businesses and services within your service area. You can highlight the best restaurants for late-night takeout, for instance. Or you could give an overview of all the urgent care clinics and medical services within the area.
Public services are also important for newcomers to know about. For instance, you could post a listing of transit services, how trash pickup works in different neighborhoods, or what adult education courses are offered at the local community center.
These blog articles pull double duty for both new potential customers moving to your area and as a point of interest for other locals. Posts like “Who Has the Best Authentic BBQ in Town?” can earn clicks and engagement from locals as people debate their own favorites.
Just remember to put a positive spin on other businesses and your town in general! The last thing you want to do is sew seeds of resentment within your local community.
Engage Directly Through Social Media Customer Service
Public Relations usually refers to the public in general, but there is certainly such a thing as 1:1 PR.
As a matter of fact, great brands are built upon consistent positive personal experiences, so creating opportunities for great interactions is key to building a solid reputation.
Social listening can again help you prepare for and orchestrate these moments. You can set up alerts for when someone seems to be asking about your industry or local businesses in your area, for instance. Then, you swoop in with your response to provide the exact information they need. These moments create positive impressions both for the person and anyone who sees them.
Even private conversations can help boost your business’s PR. Chat or messaging services run through social platforms can give someone a direct way to reach out so you can answer questions, resolve issues, or respond to comments.
Three quarters of these people will share their positive experience to the public if their question is answered or issue resolved in a way that leads to a good experience. Being available on social for 1:1 conversations is therefore a critical means of generating a good image to the public at large.
Get Outstanding PR Results When You Outsource Social Media for Small Businesses
We at Prospero Media want to ensure that your social media presence gives you the PR boost your business deserves. Our clients receive strategic guidance and full social media management and support thanks to our social media management services.
Find out how we can help you meet your goals and create a glowing image for yourself online when you contact us today!