Friday, March 21, 2014

Social Media Marketing: How to Take the Local Approach

We tend to keep tabs on the huge companies out there who are really killing it on social media. Campaigns like those put forth by the likes of Oreo or Ford stay on our radar because they set the trends. What you may not know is that social media marketing can extend into the local market as well.
In fact, a report put together by BIA/Kelsey for Surefire Social showed that 60% of franchise businesses use their Facebook pages for local promotions. This well surpasses the percentage of national brands that use other promotional efforts to target the local space, with 43.2% saying they use newspapers and just 36.8% indicating they use email marketing.
So how can you get in on this rising trend? We’ve put together some helpful tips for targeting the local market with your social media efforts. The good news here is you’ll find it doesn’t differ that dramatically from nationwide campaigns. You just–as you’d might expect–have to be more focused.

Step 1: Claim Your Local Profiles

There are many social sites dedicated to providing information about local businesses. It’s important you have control over your profiles on these sites to ensure the information there is correct and up-to-date. It also has a tremendous impact on your SEO, since these sites tend to rank high and having a profile on them increases the likelihood people will be able to find you using “city name + industry” search queries.
A few sites you need to sign up for and/or claim your profiles on include:
You’ll also want to make sure you have profiles on all of the major social media sites that apply to your industry. Regardless, Facebook and Twitter are a must. 

Step 2: Take Full Advantage of Google

We already mentioned that you need to claim your Google Places listing but there’s a bit more to it than that. You see, having a Google+ page for your business and utilizing Google Maps can increase search traffic to your site. The more complete your profile is, the more likely it is it will appear at the top of personalized search results for your local demographic. In case you need more convincing, nearly 40% of national brands utilize Google site services to increase brand recognition in search, especially in local search. So, you would be remiss if you didn’t follow suit. 

Step 3: Optimize Your Facebook Page

If you don’t have one already, now is the time to create a Facebook Page for your business. Just select “Local Business or Place” and you’ll be off to the races. Fill out all of your details. While you can update your Page at any time, it’s a good idea to fill out every section of the Page when first setting it up. Why put it off? And the more complete your information is, the more it will appeal to your target audience. It also increases the likelihood your Page will appear within the site’s internal search results. 

Step 4: Don’t Forget About LinkedIn

You have a LinkedIn profile already, right? What about a LinkedIn Company page? While they’re not exactly known for being hubs of activity, it’s still important to have a page for your business on the site. It’s yet another place online where people can find out about your company and another place where you can include the location information for your business. Making the effort here makes your business more findable. And that’s essential in the competitive local business landscape.

Step 5: Promote Wisely

Once all of your profiles are set up, you can start actually, you know, using them. This means posting about promotions you’re running at your store or local events you’ll be attending. It means posting the occasional coupon or discount and interacting with your fans and followers. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Be mindful of how often you post. And don’t make it all about yourself all the time. Showing an authentic side is always appealing, regardless of industry.

Step 6: Keep Your Ear to the Ground

Social media marketing isn’t something you can schedule and walk away from. Well, it technically is in that you can schedule your posts and promotions well in advance. But you need to stick around to interact with people as they comment, share, like, mention, and so forth. You need to show your human side to make the most out of your efforts. If all you do is schedule posts and don’t engage with your followers, your local campaign will be doomed from the start.
Local marketing more so than any other approach is personal. People patronize local businesses because they genuinely like them. If you seem robotic, how can you ever expect people to like you? Keep that in mind as you develop your own local campaign.

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