For many small businesses, the summer season is akin to watching molasses flow during cold weather. These companies should fight the summer slump by kicking social media marketing efforts into high gear. According to a recent survey, 82 percent of small businesses engage with customers through social media. Summer is the perfect time to use these networks to remind customers that they are missed.
Most small business owners surveyed use Facebook but an impressive 59 percent are active on Twitter or LinkedIn. These entrepreneurs consider Facebook very effective for marketing purposes, with LinkedIn coming in second in terms of effectiveness, only slightly ahead of Twitter. Summer is the season to reach out to prospects and customers, letting them know about summer sales and providing previews of what the fall season will bring.

By increasing their social media presence now, small businesses will reap the benefits tomorrow. Marketers who are already making the most of Facebook and Twitter should turn their attention to Pinterest, one of the hottest new social media networks. Its image-based platform is perfect for showcasing new products linked to online order pages or highlighting services that are best described through videos.

More than four of every five small businesses engage with customers through social media and that figure is expected to increase next year. Now is the time for small businesses with established social media networks to get a jump on those that have yet to enter the world of social networking. Coupons, exclusive offers, location-based services, and @replies to customers develop a loyal following.

Social media networks are excellent platforms for selling but they are also much more. Use summer downtime to prepare how-to guides, informative whitepapers, and colorful brochures and share these through social media accounts. Experiment with different social media marketing strategies now to develop the perfect approach for next season.