"Social media is here. It’s not going away; not a passing fad. Be where your customers are: in social media." – Lori Ruff 
With over 3.4 billion users, social media seems to be the only thing that binds the world together. Social media users cut across countries and continents. The good fact about social media is that it is free to use. Some of the popular social media platforms available today are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Telegram among a host of others. Currently, Facebook leads the chart with about 2 billion active users, closely followed by Youtube with 1.9 billion active users. This statistics is mainly to show that your small business is missing out on a large potential revenue source by neglecting social media.  

As a small business, you may not have the financial capacity to advertise in the print media like the big circle businesses do but you can leverage the power of the free social media to put your local business out for your community to see.  

The benefits of social media to your business are quite enormous. It gives your business the required attention it deserves. It also differentiates your business brand from your competitors. It has the singular ability to multiply your sales in a little time.    

Want to make social media work for your business? Then apply these key hints: 
What is your Goal?
Are you looking at attracting online awareness to your small business or for people to patronize your products? You need to specifically identify the social media goal for your small business. This will enable you to plan strategically to actualize your goal. If your goal is to drive people to procure your physical products, you need to place towards it by updating the necessary information. So, identify your goal and work towards it.  
Be Specific About the Social Media Platforms for Your Local Business
There are quite a number of social media platforms available on the internet space. So, as a local business, you have to be specific about the one you need to register with. It is not advisable to register for all the platforms to avoid inconsistency and mismanagement. However, it is better to have a business page with the popular ones like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and the likes. This is because these popular platforms have the most users around the world, so there’s likelihood that majority of your prospective customers are also there. So, determine which social platform would work better in helping you achieve your goal and sign up. Right away!
Update Your Pages with Relevant Contents about Your Brand
Like the popular aphorism goes, ‘content is king’. In this era of social media and a large influx of small businesses, content is not only king, it is everything. Your social media pages should eat, drink and breathe content. Yes, literally. 

Creating a business page on these platforms is definitely not enough because these pages will not update themselves. The social media pages of your business need to be updated regularly with relevant contents. The contents must be relevant to the line of business you are into. For instance, if your local business is a coffee shop, the contents on the social media pages must at all times be related to coffee, its importance, the various kinds and all of that. Anything outside coffee would be irrelevant. 
If You Consider Using Ads, Target Demographics
Social media ad is another way of reaching out to a huge number of prospective customers in your locality. The beauty of this ad is that it is very cheap and pocket friendly compared to advertisements on Newspapers, Magazines, Radios and even TVs. Social media ad allows you to target a particular demographic of prospective customers. For instance, if your business has a particular age preference of customer, say only for adult Londoners between 25-40 years, you can set your ad campaign to target only people who are that age range and also live in London. It is that simple. 

You may decide to run a social media ad campaign with as low as $1 (Yes! ONE DOLLAR). Apart from this, it is also flexible to manage. You may start your ad at any time you feel and stop it in a similar manner.
Be Consistent
Starting out is one thing but consistency is another. A social media business page with no consistency as to contents and interaction with followers is as good as no page at all. What continuously drives traffic to your pages is how consistent you are in managing the pages. You don’t have to post everyday if you can’t but at least you should schedule your posts on particular days of the week. The good thing is that if you feel you may not have the luxury of time to manage your business and at the same time manage your social media presence, there are freelance social media managers you could hire for a little fee to manage your social media platforms and ensure consistency.
Engage your Followers
Your online followers are as important as your current customers. You never can tell how many of them would turn into paying customers the next minute. The point is that you should engage your online followers. If they drop a comment on one of your posts, be sure to like such comment at the least. When any of them tags your handle in their independent post, be sure to like, comment and even share or retweet. This would not only give them a sense of belonging but also would mean more awareness for your brand and maybe more sales at the end of the day. The bottom line here is to build a relationship with your followers. 
In the current of age of digitalization, no business, no matter how large or small can effectively function without a social media footprint. Therefore, your small business should not be left out in benefitting from the huge marketplace social media has to offer. 
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