If you run a local business focused primarily on customers in your area, you might think that global social media marketing capabilities are not for you.
Think again ! Social media is great for bringing real customers to your door and is as valuable to a local business as it is to a global business.
Your local customers are on social networks
A very compelling reason to start looking at your social media channels from a local perspective is that the vast majority of businesses will find that their customers are already there! Whether you’re a B2C or B2B business, social media has become mainstream with over a third of the UK population logging into Facebook every day – that’s potentially a third of your customers.
Do a third of your customers walk past your business every day?
Of course, I use social media locally for my business, Stop and Stare, and for my clients. Having experience managing social media accounts for local and global businesses, the engagement I see with local businesses has much better results overall. I think it’s because local businesses are able to personalize their contact with customers through social media much more effectively than a global business.
In fact, most local businesses that successfully use social media are replicating much of what they do online in the ‘real’ world: engaging personally with their customers, establishing local B2B networks, and participating in the local community.
5 things you can do on social media today!
So here are 5 easy things you can do to market your local business to your local customers today:
- Targeted Advertising: One of the big advantages of social media giants that store so much data about us is that you can use it to create highly targeted advertising for relatively little money. Targeted advertising allows you to select your audience through geographic information as well as gender, age, interests and behaviors. This allows you to use a global tool at a very local level.
- Local groups and hashtags: Facebook and LinkedIn have groups, Google+ has communities, and Twitter uses hashtags to connect individuals with common interests. Whatever your business has to offer, there is a local social media discussion group waiting for your business to engage with them. That said, this is no excuse for spamming members with overtly promotional messages. In fact, this led to a group re-forming under the name of I love Farnham Surrey (spam free version)!
- Engage with other local businesses: You can use social media groups to connect with other local businesses, but it is also helpful to collectively promote local businesses online. For example, if you are a store on the main street, why not support other stores in your town? If the hairdresser next door offers a 50% reduction, let your subscribers know on social networks; they can take advantage of this offer and then walk into your store with their new fit! A little bit of back rubbing can go a long way, and other local businesses will definitely return the favor if you help them out.
- Celebrate your local community: People are interested in updates on local events and news and respond well to businesses that show they are part of the community. Simple things like posting a photo of your favorite neighborhoods in your city can spark great engagement from your business and show your followers that you are not a faceless business!
- Use your existing customers: Word of mouth is a powerful promotional tool and a tradition that many local businesses rely on. You can replicate that on social media by providing your existing followers and customers with plenty of content that they will want to share and engage with. Your loyal social media fans have their own networks of family, friends and colleagues, many of whom will also be local in your area and share their interests. Ask them to spread the word about what you do and provide them with relevant tweets and updates.
Using social media to market your local business is an effective tool when used consistently and as part of your overall marketing strategy. Not all social media channels will be right for your business, and the approach used is very different from more traditional promotional efforts. For many business owners, getting to grips with social media can be a challenge, and that’s where we come in!