There's more opportunities than social media
Let's run down your small business checklist. You have a Facebook, Twitter and GooglePlus, but so does every other business. The reason you signed up for these was to increase your SEO and probably your customer interactions and grow your brand's reputation. Then again, so did everyone else. It seems everyone touts social media as the Emerald City, the bright light at the end of the road, that once you have created these you've reached the zenith. Far from it!
Okay, you can talk to your clients on social media. Why should they talk to you. You must give them something. I'm not speaking of incentive marketing, that's passe and easy to do. "Like this for 10% off" is all well and good, but not good enough. I'm speaking of deal-of-the-days. Yes, the Groupon and LivingSocial that nearly every mom in America subscribes to. Think about it. How much traffic does your Facebook page get? Did you have trouble getting those 20 "Likes" to become a business page in the first place? Now, bigger offerings, make 50 people go in on a discount with you. If they love something you sold them, or your services, boom, you get their recommendation. Now, you get their friends coming in. Social media is all well and good, but you're speaking to one individual at a time, Groupon get's a horde of visitors a day, and now your logo and name are out there for hundreds, if not thousands to see. I've seen companies on there I've never known existed in my city, mere blocks from my house. Even if I don't get a deal from them, I know they're there. Maybe, I'll recommend them to a friend. "Hey, that massage place has a Groupon out. Give them a try."
I'm probably preaching to the choir. Of course you're already on top of these things. Your a saavy business owner.
Why do you see all those small book shops and coffee niches stick around for decades. You never see their parking lots full and they just seem to exist. Well, here's the secret. Local events and socializing. Concerts by local bands and daily book club meetings are the lifeblood of these places, besides their generally corky staff, people feel community there. You might say, "But I sell lumber and dirt!" Great! Teach a free carpentry class one night a month. When you donate an free night, people see you investing in them and will therefore invest in you. If you make yourself known as a member of the community, the community will support you.
Be the Go-To place
This goes for online, as well as off. You should be the sage on top of the mountain that all climbers come to for advice. Sell yourself as the sensei of a specific subject, be it gardening, chinese food or home brewing. If people come to you for advice, you can point them to products you use/sell and they're going to buy it from you. Not only because they trust you, but because they want you to be in business the next time they have a question.
We already spoke about cause marketing, so read up on that if you missed it. I know we've created this illusion that all business related solutions come from behind the keyboard. And it's true, they mostly do. Yet people want that face to face interaction, that's why social media was created in the first place.