A social media presence is no longer an optional part of running a small business; it's an absolute necessity.
Facebook, Instagram and other popular forums are as important, if not more so, to a company's marketing as is television ads and sponsoring local events. But that's still a lesson some small-business owners are learning.
Half of small-business owners have a Facebook page, according to the CNBC/Survey Monkey Small Business Survey. The survey, conducted in April, gathered the findings from more than 2,000 small-business owners across the country in a variety of industries. It revealed that while 40 percent use social media to communicate with potential customers, just 21 percent advertise their companies on social media.
Those numbers are increasing as these sites become a bigger part of the general public's life (Facebook, for example, recently announced it had hit 2 billion users). If you're running a small business and are on (or joining) Facebook and other social networks, there are a number of ways to gain an edge on the competition — and boost your bottom line.