Social media marketing may feel overwhelming for local small businesses, but there are huge benefits that will drive your brand in a positive direction. This includes everything from digital word-of-mouth, credibility with customers, new customer trust and authenticity, and an overall online reputation that will increase your brand value. SOCIAL MARKETING ON GENM Social media marketing can be the most effective low-cost way to drive traffic and reach new prospective customers.But what can a small business do to leverage social media?StrategyHaving a strategic plan is the first step to build your online reputation. Your plan must consider your business industry and audience you're trying to attract. Firstly, having a strong Facebook page with bright positive images, business and contact information, and having it setup correctly to reflect your industry is a great start to leading customers in the right direction."Goal without a plan is just a wish."Having a business goal is great way to test the efficacy of your social strategy. Do you want to be known as the best in your neighborhood?  Do you want to attract new customers from out of town? Do you want to know what your customers like and dislike about your products and/or services? Do you want to simply increase your online reputation?With both a plan and overarching goal, you can start a worthwhile campaign that will drive sales and increase value to your customers."Money never starts an idea, an idea starts the money."PlatformsUnderstanding your target audience is a key factor in reaching the correct drivers for your social media success. Your business industry, as well as customer age, gender and socioeconomic factors will lead you to the correct platforms to implement your plan. Focusing on your current customers is a great way to understand their habits. Where do your customers spend their time on the web? Are they mobile friendly? Do they like taking pictures?  Do they write reviews, or share local findings online? Understanding where prospective customers are - and what they do online - can ensure you are not wasting resources on the wrong platforms. Selecting the right content platforms can ensure existing and new customers can engage with your content.Follower count doesn't mean anything for local small businesses. Do your pages have a small following? That's okay! Follower counts do not necessarily signify high follower engagement. Having your subscribers and followers comment, share and interact with your posts can be far more valuable than any large follower count can provide. Engaged followers will bring new engaged followers, solidifying your brand presence online. Iteration with your posted content can alleviate any pains in follower adoption. What do you think would resonate best with your customers? Wait a few days, and ask, "Did it work?" If not, try something else. Listen to feedback and cherry pick your most engaging posts, and do more of that. Your audience will tell you what to do, you just have to listen. Follow WorthyKnowing that your local business is alive and community-driven provides extensive value to newcomers. Do you respond to comments and critics? Do you answer questions on social media in a respectful timeframe? Are you cheery and grateful in the tonality of your posts and comments? Being follow worthy means people want to not only follow your brand, but engage with your social attitude.Rich content, such as static images, gifs, emojiis, live video, interactive video and others have been proven as a staple in modern marketing tactics. Mobile users tend to swipe more, and read less. Therefore, having rich images, videos, graphics, and colors can keep audiences from swiping away.Less selling, and more of a focus on engagement can benefit your brand presence. Your audience does not want to always buy, they simply want to be reminded that you are alive and happy. Therefore, social media posting that is not always related to your product or service can amplify your audience's willingness to keep following.Being authentic is your number one tactic. Would you follow yourself? Would you feel like your business is the right choice by a quick Google search? GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH GENM