Selling Socially: Branding local business on social media

SNOW HILL, N.C. (WNCT) – As Small Business Saturday approaches, a growing number of local business owners are logging on to the social side to brand their products and services.

That includes Stacy Bailes of Farmer and the Dail in Snow Hill.

“They’re coming from Greenville or Goldsboro, Raleigh or the beach,” said Bailes. “They’re traveling hours to see us.”

Bailes says it’s an incredible concept.  Her little bakery on her family’s farm property is attracting the attention of thousands across eastern North Carolina.

“Having a presence on social media has helped us get our name out there and kind of make us a destination,” said Bailes. “I think we’re almost to 7,000 likes on Facebook. Not as many on Instagram but we actually get more interaction on Instagram, especially with Instagram stories. It’s more of a personal take of what we do here.”

The goal is to get people to visit with the quality and service bringing them back. That’s exactly what the Small Business Center at Pitt Community College is helping other local businesses to achieve.

“The whole idea of marketing on the internet [is that] it’s the first mass media that we’ve ever had that relies on interpersonal communications,” said director of the Small Business Center, Jim Ensor.

It forces small business owners to also become social media and marketing experts. Ensor recommends Twitter, LinkedIn and most importantly, Facebook.

“It allows you to find people who have similar interests, who may be interested in your service or who may know someone who may be interested in your services and products and it gives you a way to spread your message directly,” said Ensor.

One business which got its start at the Small Business Center and maintains a strong presence on social media is Greenville’s Knee Deep Adventures.

“Social media has been a great way to help us get the word out without breaking the bank,” said owner, Kelsey Curtis.

As a small business owner on a budget, Kelsey Curtis chose to spend most of her advertising dollars on a website, so the rest of her marketing efforts are handled in house through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

“We’ve done a lot of research on how to best utilize all the social media platforms and it’s really helped us out a lot by keeping a low budget but helping us reach a huge audience,” said Curtis.

One of Curtis’s goals is to create a community through events, demonstrations, and workshops.

“We’re always trying to do something that no one else has heard of something unique.”

It’s a similar thought for Farmer and the Dail.

“We love that opportunity that we get to have to create a community around good, made from scratch food,” said Bailes. “Be authentic, be yourself. That’s the easiest and least time consuming way to be on social media. You don’t have to think through posts because it’s just you.”

If you’re interested in seeing how social media can work for your small business, visit your local community college’s Small Business Center. The services are free of charge and the staff members are eager to help.

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