6 Ways to Use Social Media Marketing for Local Business
Many small and local businesses do the majority of their business with local customers and while social media tools can be used to connect with global audiences, they’re also great for driving targeted local traffic. One of the best things that a local business can do is get involved with social media and build connections with their target audience. We know that social media marketing can seem both daunting and overwhelming, but with our tips below, we think that you’ll be able to take advantage of the many opportunities that social media marketing offers small businesses
Using social media marketing to help drive local business
- Location-based services. Tools like Foursquare, Gowalla and Yelp allow you to take advantage of your geographical location as a marketing tool. By making location-based offers, daily local deals, or creating games scavenger hunt-style games with foursquare or Scvngr you can use your location as a selling feature to your audience. It adds a local “exclusivity” to you offers and helps encourage people in your area (who already drive most of your business) to become part of your network.
- Use hashtags to relate everything that you post to your area. Hashtags are a great way to get found by your target audience through Twitter by marking the important words or phrases in your tweets. For example, using the hashtag #Vancouver or #VancouverDeals in a post for your company means that anyone searching for either of those terms will come across your tweet, allowing you to reach out to your audience based on your location and their interests. When people find you through terms like that, they’re almost pre-qualifying themselves as viable local business leads.
- Facebook advertising. Facebook advertising allows you to target customers by specific demographics including location, age, gender and more. This is a great tool for targeting local clientele, and it helps keep your marketing efficient by saving you from sending ads to non-local audiences.
- Images, videos and mixed media. People love to see things they can relate to. Take advantage of this by showing images of local events you’ve participated at, popular areas around town your visiting and your locations and offices. This is a great way to help you feel “real” to your audience and to connect with them through shared local experience. Even better? The immediacy of social media means that you may just catch one of your own followers or clients in the same area as you at the same time! Your followers will love feeling like your both part of the same community and this can help build strong relationships.
- Complete your Facebook Place Page. Many people use Facebook’s “check-in” application to show their friends locations that they’re currently visiting. If your business has a place page, and one of your clients tells their friends that they’ve checked-in to your location, then people who aren’t necessarily already clients will see that their friend is your client. This is simple, free, word of mouth marketing at it’s best, and it’s all about social media and location!
- Meet Ups and Tweet Ups! Using tools like Meetup and Twitter can help you bring together large groups of fans and followers based on similar interests. For example, if you work in the photography industry or own an art gallery, utilize your Twitter followers to organize an art appreciation night at your gallery. Not only does this allow you to actually meet your audience in the real world, but it helps bring together like-minded individuals in your area and build lasting relationships!
Okay, so now you have some ideas, what are some tools you can use for local business social media marketing?
- Facebook. Utilize your Facebook place page to optimize your social media marketing for local check-ins, add maps your your Facebook brand page so you’re easy to find and implement deals, offers and advertising specific to your local market.
- Yelp. Nearly everyone has used yelp to find a local restaurant and read reviews about businesses in their area. Encourage Yelp users who visit your establishment to write reviews and make sure that you address bad comments as quickly as you can. Remember, it’s actually a lot easier to appease unhappy local clientele than other customers.
- Twitter. This is a great social media tool for local because of it’s immediacy. Twitter allows you to quickly update sales, company information, reach out to a local audience by searching according to user location or just discuss local events that effect your target audience.
- Linkedin. While this is a social media tool is targeted more towards professional connections and it may not be right for every business, it can be effective for informing potential business partners of where you’re located, and it also has a nice section to allow for testimonials from clients.
- Google +. Google has recently released their brand pages and we recommend setting one up even if you haven’t bought into Google + as a platform yet. This platform, while new, has seen amazing growth and offers some nice features that will help you meet customers in you area. It also has the added benefit of applications like it’s +1 button, which allows others users to +1 your content which helps it rank better in search engine results pages.
- Blogs. Blogging is often overlooked as a type of “social media” but it can actually be a great way to connect with local audiences. Not only do blogs provide a great channel to promote upcoming local events, company information and sales, it also allows for comments to begin conversations, and you’re not limited on space (unlike Twitter and some other tools). The other big benefits of blogs? They’re great for SEO because they help you get your keywords into your website more frequently and they also help you create relevant content that can be shared across your other social platforms and helps you establish yourself as a local expert in your industry.