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SM_0Social media has been widely embraced by large corporations and small businesses alike as a way to better interact with online communities. Businesses and their audiences are more connected than ever, and this actually empowers small businesses over sprawling franchises in important ways. While social media is an informational tool, it is – at its core – a way for businesses to reveal more about themselves. It’s an opportunity to humanize, to lighten up, and to show what you’re really made of. It’s a platform for quantifiable word of mouth marketing, and it’s here to stay. Here are 5 social media ideas that only work for small, respected business with local roots and friendly faces.

1. Introduce and feature your staff – Small businesses have the great advantage of close communications and close quarters between staff. Humanize your organization and flaunt your cohesiveness by featuring staff members on your blog and posting it to social media. Make it fun and lighthearted, and remind people of how wonderful it is to do business with people, rather than flow-charts.

2. Give a tour of the office/store/headquarters – Small businesses also have the advantage of small, accessible work spaces. Post photos and anecdotes from your office or headquarters, and connect to potential clients on a tangible, local level. This transparency does wonders for building trust and empathy.

3. Incentivize Visits – The beauty of a small business is that it exists within a local community ecosystem. Incentivize local customers with deals, contests, or coupons that they can only redeem at your local workplace. Use social media to bridge the gap between the digital and the person-to-person world.

4. Align Yourself Locally – Small, locally-run businesses can use social media to establish their brand and community priorities within a robust local movement. Trading links and likes with other non-competing organizations is a great way to drum up good will and remind your audience that you’re a member of the community, just like them. Comment on weather, local events, and exciting news in your community.

5. Feature Success Stories – Small businesses generally have a much better idea of the stories behind their clients. Think about who uses your product or service, get in touch, and share that story with the world. In a similar fashion to #4, this will align your business within the community and demonstrate an understanding of the people with whom you work. When a big business does this, it seems like marketing. When a small business does this, it seems like community building.

When thinking about social media and your small business, remember that it serves small businesses over large corporations and high-powered marketing firms in some very powerful ways. Small businesses can use social media to level the playing field and build their brand and business without the big budget costs of major marketing campaign.