Small businesses thrive on personal connections. They can also struggle to make them happen. As much as we love small businesses, they are often seen as smaller versions of big companies: They sell the same things to the same people in the same way. But that’s where the similarities end.

Small businesses have some significant advantages over big ones. They have more negligible overhead, a closer relationship with their customers, and more flexibility in how they operate. It’s easy to see why small businesses have grown so much in recent years — they give us something big companies can’t offer: A personal touch. Making connections with your customers is what will keep your business small and help it grow at the same time.

Be more personable

One of small businesses’ most significant challenges is getting customers’ attention. You might have a great product or service, but if people don’t know about it, they won’t buy it. Personalization can be the key to getting your business noticed in a world where consumers feel bombarded with advertisements and too often ignored by customer service. To get customers to see you, you need to notice them. You must do your best to find out who your customers are, what they like, and what they need.

Engage across all social media channels

Social media is one of small businesses’ most significant advantages over their big-business counterparts. Big companies have teams of writers and marketers who spend their days posting on social media. You might have a few hours a week to post, and that’s it. In addition to your other responsibilities, this can be not easy. But it doesn’t have to be. Your goal should be to engage with customers and answer their questions, not convert them to sales. People who visit your social media pages often look for information. Engaging with them will show you care about what they have to say. You can also use your social media pages to encourage customers to engage with one another.

Utilize interactive digital signage

New businesses often use digital signage as a part of their marketing efforts. But as they grow, they often fall back on the same old marketing methods. They still rely on TV ads and billboards but don’t use their digital signage to its fullest potential. As you grow, you should continue using digital signage differently. Depending on your industry, you may be able to utilize it for customer service. You could have prompts for employees telling them how to handle certain situations. You could also use Loop Media digital signage to send messages to your customers, like thanking them for their business or announcing sales.

Run contests to get customers to engage

Another way to engage customers is to offer them something in exchange for participation. Contests can be a great way to get customers to share information about your business. If you are having difficulty getting customers to interact with you online, try setting up a contest. Contests can be built around a theme related to your industry. For example, if you own a bookstore, you could have customers submit their top three favorite books and the reasons why. Contests are a great way to get people talking about your business and valuable information about your customer base.

Ask for feedback and use user-generated content

In addition to getting customer feedback, you can also ask customers to submit their photos or stories related to your business. People love to engage with companies they love, which is a great way to get them to share their experiences with your company. You can also use visual content to get customers to engage with your business. In most industries, customers take photos and post them online during their visits. You should encourage customers to include your business in their posts and use their photographs to tell your story.