Using social media for local marketing is an important part of your business’ local marketing strategy. Social media is without doubt one of the greatest phenomenons to happen to digital marketing. It’s a fantastic inbound traffic source; an excellent way of bringing traffic (people) to your business (website). If you’re not using it, you risk losing out.
Traditionally, bricks and mortar businesses would have relied on people visiting their premises on the high street and sharing their recommendations by word of mouth. Engagement happened face to face or over the phone. Social media has changed the way customers can engage with your business. And whilst this may now take a more online format, social media is actually a great way of driving real customers through your door.
Social media is a great way of engaging with your customers, listening to what’s being said about your brand, being listed in the search engines, and furthering your brand’s reach through shared content.
Social Media for Local Marketing – Get Engaged!
The gap between a company and its customers has been reduced with the uptake of social media. It’s removed the often nameless, faceless properties of businesses and created a more accessible means of companies and customers conversing. And that concept of conversing is key.
The clue is in the name…
Social media networks and channels are now where people go to review, recommend and engage with businesses, and therefore employing social media for local marketing is an excellent idea.
Your customers will be active in consuming information across social media networks. They’ll be liking and sharing it. Create trust with them and create relevant, engaging content and they’ll ‘like’, ‘follow’ and ‘share’ you too. But it’s important to remember not to simply pester them with sales messages. As we said, the clue is in the name; social not sales.
We think the team over at Moz crystallises this perfectly:
“The essence of social media is really a public conversation with your customers and prospective customers—sort of like one big dinner party. Just as partygoers aren’t really attending with the intent of being sold to, neither are social media followers looking for a constant sales pitch. And no partygoer likes to be cornered by someone who only talks about themselves, so don’t be “that guy” on social media either! Engage your followers, ask their opinions, and give them a sense of investment in your business.”
Social media for local marketing should be about building rapport and engaging with your followers. It’s a way for customers to see your company has a personality and can be a great opportunity for businesses to absolutely create one. Be professional yes but, if it’s appropriate, also have fun with it!
To guide you in choosing the type of content to share to your social networks you could ask yourself: Is this information valuable, interesting or informative? Does it fit with our brand values? Is it something relevant? Maybe it’s something on topic or trend? Is it fun to share* (*and also appropriate!)?
For example, you could use your social media channels to direct traffic to freshly updated areas on your website. Whilst social media has given license for companies to, in part, shake off the confines of stuffy corporate dialogue and inject some personality into their communications it’s still worth calling to mind whether your tone is relevant to your customers.
Social media is a great way to get involved in local community discussions and follow and participate in local causes. Are there any groups you could get involved in or could you even start a discussion topic or forum? Doing so not only helps to get your company brand out there but creates trust and connections.
The channels you choose will give you access to potentially thousands of local people and perhaps even millions worldwide. As with any marketing, the important thing is to make sure you are sending them messages they want to hear about.
What Social Media Channels To Use?
There are now literally thousands of social media networks to choose from. By number of active accounts, Facebook is undoubtedly the most popular, but you should still research whether it will be the best one for you to target. Social media isn’t as simple as putting all your efforts in one place. As you would with your other marketing efforts, consider what is most relevant for your customers and prospects, look at where your target audience is and get involved and talk to them there. It won’t be the same ones for every business.
Make sure you test each social tool. This will help you establish the right one for your business. You can do this by monitoring markers of engagement such as shares and likes, for example, but you can also do more detailed targeting and analysis on networks that have facilities for placing paid adverts too.
The wealth of user information that social networks gather – from demographics to interests – makes them invaluable databases for businesses to use to place highly targeted adverts to their audience and prospects. But, always analyse the data for feedback. Facebook’s phenomenal reach means it’s now used in local marketing search results, but, like any advert, you need to be smart and use it wisely to avoid spending money unnecessarily.
As your network builds, you’ll have an active, local audience where your existing customers and prospects like and share information you are generating. Talk to them, show them what you have to offer, but don’t sell; pop in the occasional post that mentions some of the offers and deals you might have. Engage with your customers and they’ll want to continue to engage with your company.
You might also like to read Part 1 of this series on our previous blog post about smart web design.
If you’d like to learn more about how to leverage social media for local marketing to grow your business – and see whether we could help you effectively double your budget in the process using EU Match Funding – don’t hold back, call us today on 0870 062 8760 or learn more on our sell more online more profitably page.