Social media marketing has grown in leaps and bounds over the past several years, and it can be easy for small shop owners to feel like they’re struggling to keep up with the advancements. Small shop owners often have strict budgets that afford little room to experiment with all encompassing social media strategies and other efforts where risk might seem high and reward is unclear.

At the same time, most small shop owners understand that they must meet and engage their customers everywhere they are, and increasingly, these places include social media. These shifts are resulting in a significant challenge: How can small shop owners build their brands on social media and integrate their efforts into their overall marketing and business goals, while also working within budget, time, and staffing constraints?

We talked to Susan Gunelius about this very challenge. Susan is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of, an award-winning blog that covers news and information to help women succeed in business. She has also counseled businesspeople of all stripes as the President and CEO of marketing communications company KeySplash Creative. Susan has written numerous business and marketing books, including several of the “for Dummies” books on content marketing and blogging, and she frequently writes about marketing for Forbes and Entrepreneur.

Susan Gunelius, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of

She spent some time with us discussing how small shop owners can build their brands on social media using low input, but gaining high output. One of her key takeaways was this: “The quicker you realize that social media isn’t a promotional tool, it’s a relationship-building tool that drives indirect marketing results -- of course you can supplement it with short-term tactics to drive short-term sales -- but the power of social media comes in long-term, organic and sustainable relationship growth and business growth.” Take a listen to our podcast or read the transcript.

  • 2:03 How retailers can decide if they should build their personal brands or business brands on social media
  • 5:11 The social media sites that retailers should start engaging on first
  • 9:34 Ideas for optimizing company Facebook and Twitter pages
  • 13:13 The importance of providing value to customers on social media
  • 14:39 Ways to use social media to drive foot traffic
  • 16:50 Common mistakes retailers make on social media that can hurt their customer relationships
  • 20:35 Steps retailers can take today to advance their social media marketing efforts

Thanks for joining us, Susan.

If you’re interested in finding more insights from Susan, you can follow her on Twitter @susangunelius and @womenonbusiness.

This has been an installment of StoreFront, an interview series with leaders of successful retail businesses. For more interviews, visit the StoreFront page. To learn how you can be featured, email us. We’d love to hear from you.