Social media is helping small businesses improve their customer service operations.

Dean Swanson, a small business expert, recently wrote in a submission to that small businesses can improve their appeal to consumers by offering superior customer service.

While in-store customer service is critical, social media provides these businesses with the ability to answer questions when customers are at home or on the go, as well. Developing a social media marketing campaign that focuses on engagement will help businesses improve their appeal to shoppers, especially those in the surrounding area.

According to Swanson, shoppers will head to large chain retailers for low prices. However, truly strong customer service will keep shoppers coming back. The internet has essentially provided small businesses with a means to target their desired audiences more effectively.

Developing a strong website that includes original content can help small businesses attract new customers, and social sharing buttons will allow them to engage quickly on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

“One advantage of being local is that it’s easier to stay close to your customers, not only face to face but also through social media,” Swason wrote for the Post Bulletin. “Use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to advertise flash sales, last-minute deals and other time-sensitive offers. And don’t forget email alerts.”

ContentLEAD reported on Thursday that, while small businesses are struggling with social media marketing, those that find the time to do it successfully are seeing improved lead generation and engagement.