With Social Media Marketing, it is easy to get caught up in thinking about the global. After all, when you post on your Facebook business page, or send a tweet, it can attract viewers worldwide. However, if you are a local business and you have not yet tapped into social media as a marketing tool, you are missing a trick. Last year, Google confirmed that 80% of people use search engines to conduct local searches, mostly using mobile devices, and 50% of smartphone users visit a store within a day of carrying out a local search.
So if what you need is people searching for your business, why is social media important? A good social media campaign will have a positive effect on your search rankings, and so is vital for your local business.
Whether you are sharing written, visual or video content (or hopefully all three) there are a number of social media sites you can use to promote your local business.
Facebook and Twitter
These are the twin kings of the social media world. With these sites, the most important factors are content and engagement. Post content that will start conversations, such as questions, interesting articles and facts, and quality photos – it is especially important to showcase your products with large, eye-catching images. You can run contests and Facebook offers and you should also use the Facebook ‘Boost Post’ feature for key posts. Twitter Hours are a good way to boost local engagement and create networking opportunities too. Crucially, make sure your contact details are easy to find, in your About section and in posts.
Google+ has a big impact on search rankings, so it is important to engage fully with this platform. You should include all your basic information (contact details, opening hours, map and website) on your Google+ Local page, and share video, visual and written content. You can also use hangouts and chat to interact directly with your audience. For more information on using Google+ Local check out this blog post.
Perfect for B2B companies, it is important to understand exactly how LinkedIn works to use it to its full advantage. LinkedIn Advertising is a great way to target local businesses. It is also important to work on your persona in LinkedIn – rather than going for the hard sell, ask questions, engage and create connections. You should also post content directly to your network and optimise your newsfeed.
Video sharing sites
For companies that have video content, websites like Youtube, Vine, Vimeo and Instagram Video can be used to make links with local customers. You can use videos explicitly for sales, for instance promoting or launching your product, or more subtly with interviews, testimonials, how-to guides, expert advice or even to show customers your staff and workplace. You can also use other social media platforms to cross-promote your video content, for instance by tweeting a Twitter Card or using LinkedIn featured videos.
Image sharing sites
You’ve probably heard the odd joke about people ‘Instagramming their meals’ or spending hours pinning interior décor ideas, but Instagram and Pinterest can be used for business too. In fact, industries such as food, lifestyle, fashion and travel fare very well with these highly visual sites. However, all businesses (including B2B) can use image sharing sites to make connections with customers. Try posting images which enhance your brand, using Pinterest to tell stories and encouraging followers to share what products they’re interested in. For B2B marketing, you could use these platforms to share relevant infographics.
FourSquare is a location based platform which allows users to find local businesses and ‘check-in’ to share where they are with friends. Ideal for entertainment, food and retail businesses, you can use this site to entice new local customers with giveaways, special offers and loyalty schemes.
The important thing to remember when using social media to promote your local business is that you must understand each platform and tailor your approach accordingly. And focus your efforts – if your target audience is other businesses and professionals, you will get further concentrating mainly on LinkedIn, while customer-facing businesses are more suited to sites like Facebook. And if it all seems like too much work, remember that here at Harrison Mann we can help you to create a strong social media campaign across multiple platforms.