Social media is more than just a way for old and new friends to connect. It is an inexpensive form of advertising for small businesses to softly promote their products and services.
The first step in promoting a business through social media is to make time to do it, said Janet Wagner, associate professor of marketing and director of the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland in College Park.
"This is a big issue for owners of a small business," Wagner said. "They are pressed for time, but if they are really interested in growing their business, then they need to set aside time for this, even if it is just an hour a day."
Kathryn Lively, manager of social media for Spider Writers, a division of web-design firm Ciniva Systems in Virginia Beach, recommended six steps for small businesses that want to connect with the public through social media:
If you do receive unfavorable comments from a social-media user, Wagner suggests reacting in an unemotional and positive way.
"If someone posts they had a bad experience with your company, let them know you are really sorry and offer to fix it," she said. "And be prepared that this could happen." Online portal featuring additional small business news and information coming soon.>> All content produced under the direction of the news team of Inside Business.