PR for Local Small Business – Yes, You Can
Many small business owners consider PR unnecessary, but the fact is that having some PR basics in place, and learning how to manage your public reputation IS something most small business owners can do. In fact, once you understand the basics of PR, and have some of the essential tools in your toolbox, you CAN handle PR and reputation management internally.
Here are some of the basics that small business owners need to have in place so that PR becomes semi-automated and integrated into the way you conduct business.
1. Support local non-profits or youth organizations. This is a great way to inadvertently get your name out into the community. In this world of ever-increasing global news and issues, people are craving the “yester-years” and simplicity of small-town life. Local, community papers are widely read, and having your business mentioned during the “Paint Your Heart Out” or “Arbor Day” celebrations in your town is a great way to touch the locals and neighbors who are most likely to patronize your business or request your services. You don’t need the name of your roofing company splattered all over twitter, you just need the elderly couple 2 blocks over to know you’re there when they need their roof repaired, have their carpets cleaned, or want to have pavers installed.
2. Have solid internal communication chains IN PLACE. This is huge not only for good customer service, but during a crisis or natural disaster in which your services may be needed, knowing who in your organization is reporting to whom will keep communication clear, and reduce the chances of a missed lead or poor customer service due to a botched hand-off. Knowing the points of contact within your organization for customers, project managers, staffing supervisors, and having clear expectations of which channels of communication are to be used by whom (text, email, phone, auto-notifications, etc.) will ensure that every member of the team is receiving the information they need to provide services requested, and report supplies and/or personnel needed.
3. Don’t be afraid to go public. If you’re not using social media, reconsider this. People are on social media, so if you want people to feel they can trust you and your team, you need to be there too. Whether you’re in the construction industry or have a food truck, you need to be posting content that makes people smile, offers them helpful tips, and showcases your expertise. Post images of your work, post quotes that satisfied clients have said to you, post blogs about simple recipes or helpful-DIY hints, create a fun # around your annual company picnic with hilarious pictures of the egg toss and the three-legged race. It’s absolutely ok to show off the good and the positive things that are happening with your work and your employees, so GET SOCIAL!
4. Invest in a professional Press Release Template, and start compiling a database of local reporters. Of course, Savvy Sister can provide this, but if you are really on a tight budget, just search up press release templates online and try to create a professional press release template that can be used to push out information to your business to local papers and reporters. As you see a story online or in the paper, make a note of the reporter. Most reporters cover a certain beat like lifestyle or “feel-good” stories, local schools, local council meetings, zoning issues, etc. Try to find reporters that cover stories relevant to your business, and start keeping their contact info in an Excel spreadsheet. When you have something to share, write it up (or let us do that for you), and send it out to those most likely to have an interest in covering the story.
5. Make asking for reviews part of invoicing. Having links to your business on Google+ or links to your profile on Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, (whatever is relevant to your business) at the bottom of emailed invoices is very powerful, and allows customers the opportunity to share their experience with others. There MAY be negative reviews, but this is unlikely if you are committed to providing good service, and the amount of positive reviews is usually heavily outweighed, and is worth this effort.
These are just some of the basics of PR, but if you are using these tools on a regular basis (whether it’s an annual press release or daily posts to social media), you CAN internally manage your reputation. If you want to learn more about solid PR strategies for your organization, contact the team at Savvy Sister Marketing today. We are here to help the small business owner, the non-profit team, and the upstarts! WE WILL HELP YOU. Contact Us Today.
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