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How to Grow Your Business With Social Media Miriam Fried, owner of MF Strong, shares why a solid online presence, including social media and Yelp, is important for starting a business and achieving continued growth.

By Emily Washcovick

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Courtesy of MF Strong

Personal trainer Miriam Fried built her business, MF Strong, primarily by posting how-to videos on her social media channels, like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. But when it was time to expand from a virtual presence to a brick-and-mortar location, she realized there was more heavy lifting to do. She needed a way to advertise her business locally and attract in-person clients.

As a one- or two-person company working in the virtual space until this year, Miriam wasn't sure she was a big enough business to justify creating a Yelp Page. Once she sat down with Yelp's Small Business Expert Emily Washcovick, however, Miriam saw the benefits immediately.

"I'd love to have a Yelp Page. I just had never sat down to do it," she said. "[Emily] gave me that accountability of yeah, this is a good thing. We should have this, especially since we opened our own brick-and-mortar studio this year. A lot of people in the neighborhood don't know we exist. If anybody lives in the area and they're searching for personal trainers, I always want to be the first one that shows up for people, and Yelp is a really good way to do that."

As Miriam discovered, setting up and claiming her Yelp Business Page was easy since she already had all the information she needed on hand. In addition to adding basic business information, like contact details and location, she was able to add high-quality photos and a business description that tells potential customers who she is, what she believes in, and what she offers—something Miriam learned is more important than telling people what she doesn't do.

"Sometimes when I talk about my business, I'll say we don't do diet culture. We don't do the shame and the blame and the guilt," she said. "So it was very important for me to edit and say what we do offer versus what we don't offer. If someone's searching, I want the stuff we offer to pop up."

Within a short period of time, Miriam started to notice an uptick in search results and new clients. By changing the way she thought about her messaging, she could better convey MF Strong's unique stance on fitness, focusing on health and happiness rather than weight loss.

Miriam also asks each new client how they heard about MF Strong when they sign up so she has an accurate picture of how, and if, her marketing efforts (and dollars) are working. Because it's free to be on Yelp, Miriam didn't have to spend anything to get set up and going.

Before setting up her Yelp Page, she said, "Most of our clientele come through social media. That's our biggest funnel of clients. So I definitely take note when I see them coming from elsewhere.."

Now that the business has taken off, Miriam has handed MF Strong's social media channels to a social media manager, an important delegation strategy that shows how robust the business has become.

"It's so important to be able to delegate and be able to say, 'I could do this, but it's just a thing I don't need to do.'" she said. "As a business owner, making those distinctions is so vital for the business but also for your own mental health to say, 'Where am I needed and where is it non-essential for me to be controlling the situation?'"

There are more lessons from Miriam and Emily that could help your small business on this episode of Behind the Review, including:

  • List your business categories and specific services on your Yelp Page. There are more than 1,500 categories on Yelp to choose from, and you can choose up to three. Displaying your niche is key to helping potential customers find you, so be sure to select your specific services and describe the outstanding ones in your Specialties section.
  • Be yourself. On social media and your Yelp Page, showing up with an authentic voice goes a long way with potential and current customers.
  • Get ahead with artificial intelligence (AI). AI can help you draft content like polite and professional communications to customers or social media captions. The key is using it sparingly and always maintaining a personal touch in every correspondence.

Listen to the episode below to hear directly from Miriam and Emily, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.

Available on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and Soundcloud.

Emily Washcovick

Small Business Expert at Yelp

As Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily is meticulously focused on helping local business owners succeed and grow. Her expertise lies in customer engagement, reputation management, and all things digital marketing. Through speaking engagements and thought leadership, Emily shares industry insights that entrepreneurs in any business category can leverage for the growth and well-being of their businesses. She is also the host of Behind the Review, a podcast from Yelp and Entrepreneur Media, where each episode features conversations with a business owner and a reviewer about the story and lessons behind their interactions.

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