You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

The Major Benefits of Social Media for Small Business Owners Crystal Media owner Crystal Vilkaitis breaks down the benefits of social media for small business owners, including how to boost sales, exposure, and brand recognition.

By Emily Washcovick

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Crystal Media

Small business owners know the only constant in life is change. Technology has evolved with the times, altering business practices and even what it means to be an entrepreneur. When it comes to selling products or services, it's hard to turn a blind eye to the benefits of online platforms like social media. While beginners might be intimidated by the algorithms and formulas of Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook at first, learning to harness the power of your digital presence can lead to long-term success.

Crystal Vilkaitis, owner of social media strategy company Crystal Media, knows how daunting it can be to create unique and personal content for social media, which is why she always reassures clients with a simple tenet—be yourself.

"We love relatable content. That's what gets us to watch people, gets us to stop the scroll, is when it's somebody like us or somebody that we aspire to be," Crystal said—adding that business owners just starting out on social media don't need to worry about filters, scripts, or content that is expertly edited and produced.

"We don't want perfect. Perfect isn't relatable. So when you are sharing your stories and behind the scenes and what goes into running the store and just getting to know the store owner, you're starting to feel like, this is my friend. I wanna support them. And when you are being your authentic self, the right people are gonna connect with you."

Selling products through social media outlets is a growing priority for business and marketers, and small business owners can take advantage of that trend no matter the size of their business or products offered.

"I really recommend retailers to sell through social media. It's one of the best ways," Crystal said, emphasizing that you want your business to show up where your target demographic spends most of their time and to offer a shopping experience they enjoy.

While social media ad campaigns are effective, they can be costly. Therefore, one of Crystal's top recommendations is live selling (live streaming the products you have for sale) because it's easy on the business owner and on the consumer. She also recognizes, however, that some business owners may be reluctant to try out new and unfamiliar strategies.

"There's a lot of resistance when it comes to social media and putting ourselves out there. But if we can push through that, get comfortable with the uncomfortable, show up anyway, and be consistent, you start becoming that local celebrity. The people at the bank recognize you, and you find those primary customer groups that just love you and will become lifelong customers—that will also share your content, talk about you to their friends, and really connect again in that meaningful way."

Oftentimes, running a social media campaign takes up more time than a business owner has, which becomes the perfect opportunity to delegate, whether to a professional like Crystal, a business partner, or an employee. No matter who runs the accounts, business owners should always be aware of how it works, what makes a campaign successful, and if the campaigns are meeting goals and driving revenue.

"Education is really important for retailers and small businesses, especially when it comes to marketing and social media. Retailers say, 'Please do my social media. I don't wanna do it. I'm so busy.' But when we don't know what we don't know, it's really hard to manage that company or manage that person that's gonna be helping you with your social media.

"I really want retailers to be empowered to know enough. For some, they love it. They love marketing, so they wanna know it all. But most of them are busy business owners, so they need to know enough to make sure they're doing the right thing and that it is actually supporting their business goals."

More strategic tips from Crystal Vilkaitis in this week's Behind the Review include:

  • Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timed) goals in your social media planning as well as overall business planning.
  • Do research when hiring a social media strategy company. Ask for references and examples of their work. Crystal had a client whose previous social media manager posted items online that were not in her inventory, creating confusion.
  • AI and ChatGPT can help you respond to comments. Take advantage of AI technology to help you draft potential responses to comments, then customize them and add your personality. This can help you stay focused and efficient, while still being "you" in your replies.

Listen to the episode below to hear directly from Crystal 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.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Resumes & Interviewing

Build a Better Resume with This $35 Subscription

AI Resume Builder promises to help you apply to jobs twice as fast.

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.


I Got Over 225,000 Views in Just 3 Months With Short-Form Video — Here's Why It's the New Era of Marketing

Thanks to our new short-form video content strategy, we've amassed over 225,000 video views in just three months. Learn how to increase brand awareness through short-form video content.

Business News

Samsung Makes 6 Day Workweeks Mandatory for Executives as the Company Enters 'Emergency Mode'

Samsung said its performance "fell short of expectations" last year. Now executives are required to work weekends.


6 Habits That Help Successful People Maximize Their Time

There aren't enough hours in the day, but these tips will make them feel slightly more productive.


You Won't Have a Strong Leadership Presence Until You Master These 5 Attributes

If you are a poor leader internally, you will be a poor leader externally.