Small businesses don’t have the budgets of major corporations, leading many small business owners to forgo public relations activities altogether. Although public relations is multifaceted and modern public relations campaigns are becoming more innovative and complex, there are some simple techniques small business owners can use to generate awareness about their businesses.


Establishing an Online Presence

No single innovation compares to the limitless possibilities for promotion provided by social media. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter make it possible to reach millions of people for free. The best piece of advice for any business owner starting out on social media is to develop a strategy before posting. Diving in without a strategy will bring inconsistent, if not non-existent, results. Determine your target audience and create and share content specifically for your audience.


In addition to social networking sites, you can develop content directly on your website. This is different from using social media because your website is your property, and you have complete control over your property. Blogs are a great way to share your expertise in your field and drive prospects to your website. Blogs take time, and the results aren’t instantaneous. Provide your insights about your industry, and share information about what’s going on with your company. Keep in mind that a blog isn’t a sales platform, and readers don’t appreciate bloggers using their blogs to push products and services on them. Readers go to blogs to learn, not to buy.


Generating Awareness in the Community

Public relations isn’t all about the media. In fact, it’s not about the media at all: it’s about building mutually beneficial relationships. Small business owners rely on their local communities for continued business. Placing a sign on your storefront and hoping for the best might do the trick in a small town, but it’s not much of a public awareness campaign. If you want your business to become a staple in your community, you must engage with your community. Networking at local events can put your company’s name in the mouths all the right people in your area. From networking at seasonal events to attending events and meetings at your local Chamber of Commerce, the value of networking is priceless.


Sponsoring local events lets everyone in your community know that you value and support your community. You don’t need to donate thousands of dollars to sponsor an event. You can donate items from your business to be used at the event or set up a table to promote your services and provide product demonstrations. The opportunities to directly connect with your community are endless.


Public relations takes many forms and intersects with a host of other industries, but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. There are plenty of creative ways for you to increase awareness for your business. Online public relations tools are in abundance on the Internet. Many of them are free to use and can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend on public relations activities.


What are your thoughts on public relations for small business? Leave your insights in the comments section or tweet me @nataliepetitto