By Bill Brunelle
Self-promotion can help to make or break a small business. In the omnichannel marketplace of today, there are more fronts than ever to fight competition from big-boxes and more platforms than ever to control your message. If your small business isn’t promoting itself across these channels, it can quickly get lost in the mix. Fortunately, the growth of these modern platforms, such as the internet, social media and mobile applications, presents an opportunity for small businesses to promote, promote, promote, even in several places at once. While your bottom line feels the benefit of self-promotion, your ego can stay humble with a few creative approaches.
Promote Your Community
When promoting your small business, place yourself in the context of the community. Share messages and visuals that connect your business to Main Street or the Chamber of Commerce. Showcase your participation in local events, like seasonal parades or weekly farmers’ markets. By centering your messages on the role that your business plays in the larger community, you’ll vary your content and spread a message that goes much further than your business.
Highlight Your Employees
Rather than bragging about yourself or your business, brag about your employees. Share shout-outs on social media when an employee reaches a work anniversary or achieves a goal. In interviews, invite an employee to give his or her perspective. Chances are, the publication or outlet will appreciate having more than one voice to include. By highlighting your employees, you can take the focus away from any individual and put it on the team as a whole.
Appreciate Your Customers
As hard as you work to make your business successful, you also rely on customers from the community to truly keep it going. Show gratitude to these customers by making them a part of your promotion strategy. With their permission, you can share visuals or messages about their experience with your business on social media or your website. Ask them to leave you a friendly review online then comment on their review to show your appreciation. In these ways, you can build a relationship with your existing customers and appeal to potential new customers at the same time.
Consider Your Impact
Sometimes, it’s OK to toot your own horn. If you feel uncomfortable talking about your work on social media, in interviews or elsewhere, remember that your work makes the community and the country stronger. Small businesses create more jobs and reinvest more money into local economies than national chains or online stores. Sharing these facts and the ways that you make them a reality for your community should be a source of pride. Your messaging plays an essential role in educating the public about the importance of small businesses and buying local. Spread the word not just to brag about your business, but to uplift all small businesses.
For more ideas about promoting your small business, plus graphics and materials you can share, visit Independent We Stand at www.independentwestand.org.
Bill Brunelle is co-founder of Independent We Stand, a cause-marketing campaign sponsored by STIHL, Do it Best Corp. and PPG Paints, which is dedicated to educating communities about the importance and strong economic benefits of supporting locally owned businesses. Independent We Stand inspires small business owners across the country to celebrate their locally owned status and help consumers understand the importance of supporting them. @IndWeStand