How to Reach Local Customers Effectively Through Social Media
Social media have become the most influential marketing channel for any business. They also present a great opportunity to connect with your local customers.
But each social media is different in nature. So, you may find it hard to figure out how to use them efficiently for reaching to your local customers.
In this article, we are going to present some basic strategies that you can use to connect with your local customers via social media.
Choosing the right social media
Currently, the most popular social media are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Google Plus is also popular among a lot of people.
Many businesses try to remain active in all of these platforms. But that isn’t an efficient way to reach your local customers. To get the most out of your time, try to focus on those social media where most of your customers are. Here are some key points to consider in order to choose the right social media:
- Which social media do your audiences prefer?
By running a simple pole on your own site, or asking the customers when they call your business – you can easily figure out which social media is most popular among your audience. Remember that, though many people have multiple social media presence, they are usually active in only one or two platforms. Try to figure out where your potential customers are most active.
- Is there any niche social media related to your business?
In addition to the big ones, there are many small niche social media sites and forums, some of which can be related to your business. Being active in these social media or forums can help you easily reach people who might turn out to be genuinely interested customers.
Remember that certain social media sites are most effective for certain type of businesses. For example, Instagram is the best social media for fashion and beauty products. If your business is B2B, LinkedIn might be a good choice to communicate with your customers.
Now, here are our platform specific guides to help you connect with your local customers via social media.
With 1.86 billion active users, Facebook has reached a ubiquitous status among the social media sites. As a local business, you should definitely have a Facebook page. It’s a great platform to create brand love and interact with your potential customers.
However, opening a Facebook page for your business and posting regular updates and offers are not enough. The organic reach of Facebook posts has steadily decreased over the last few years.
Businesses need to focus more on fan engagement and paid ads to get the most out of Facebook. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
- Use targeted ads:
Facebook offers a great way to create targeted ads based on location, demographics and many other parameters. Take full advantage of this to show paid ads to your local customers. Narrow down your focus based on your audience’s’ interest and profession to increase the effectiveness of your ads.
- Promote Facebook check-ins:
Getting check-ins is an effective way to increase visibility in the news feed. Consider providing incentives (like free coffee or small discounts) to encourage check-ins. When a customer checks in, your business gets viewed by his / her friends and that increases your organic reach of your page.
- Use Facebook events:
Turn your business offers into special events. For example, you can create an event for your year-end sale and invite your fans and friends to it. Don’t overuse this tactic though. Once you invite someone to an event, the event will keep showing up on his / her notifications, unless it’s accepted or declined.
- Post engaging content:
Don’t use your business page just to promote your products. Post high-quality contents that your customers will find useful and engaging. Remember that Facebook is primarily a social media, not an advertising platform.
- Show social responsibility:
Partnering with nonprofits or doing charities is a great way to promote your business and create brand love. For a small local business, this may be a bit far-fetched strategy. But if your budget allows, consider engaging in community welfare activities.
Twitter is a valuable social media for marketing to the local customers. However, establishing a local business brand in here can be a bit difficult if you’re just starting out. Anyway, here are some quick tips to help you out:
- Use a Twitter management tool:
If you’ve been using the default interface of Twitter, you’ve definitely found it to be a bit cumbersome. Using tools like TweetDeck, Crowdfire or HootSuite can help you a lot in managing your Twitter account and reach your targeted customers more easily.
- Follow people who matter:
Look for your Facebook fans on Twitter. If you follow them, they are likely to follow you back.
Find out people who follow other businesses similar to your own. You can use tools like Followerwonk to find out people who follow other businesses near you.
- Promote your Twitter account outside Twitter:
Add your Twitter handle (@your_business) to your business card and emails. This will help interested customers to find you easily on Twitter.
- Consider using Twitter as your customer service channel:
If most of your potential customers are active on Twitter, you can consider using Twitter to reply their inquiries. Many big brands like Nike use Twitter to do so. But you must be extremely responsive. According to a 2015 study by Eptica, 64% customers expect their Twitter inquiries to be answered within 60 minutes.
- Offer limited time discounts to your customers via Twitter:
A great way to get followers is to offer limited time discounts in Twitter. Time-sensitive offers will get quick retweets from your local followers, increasing your reach and popularity.
LinkedIn is a business-oriented social media. A strong presence on LinkedIn will help you establish a solid brand identity and find local leads. Below are some key strategies to get the most out of this B2B platform:
- Create a separate page for your business:
You may already have a personal LinkedIn page. But you should create a separate one for your local business. Make sure that all your employees are connected with this account. This will increase the visibility of your business.
- Actively participate in local groups:
Find out LinkedIn groups which are popular among your local customers. Then participate personally in those groups to make yourself familiar with the prospective clients. Only focus on groups which are relevant to your business.
- Easily find out professional clients:
LinkedIn makes it very easy to find people of certain professions in your locality. That can be a great way to know about prospective clients who might be interested in your product or service.
- Emphasize your local presence:
Your Instagram profile should clearly represent you as a local business. You can ensure this in a various way. Firstly, your bio should include your location information. And the images you post should be tailored to catch the interest of the people located nearby your business area.
Use hashtags mentioning your city or places within your city. Instagram also lets you add geotag to your images.
- Follow local businesses:
Following and interacting with other local businesses will make your business more visible to the potential customers. You can even consider teaming up with other local brands and cross-promote each other. This can be especially useful if you’re just starting out in Instagram.
- Add social proofs:
Social proofs are always an effective way to get new customers. You can share photos of your top customers or even consider creating brand ambassadors who will promote your products.
- Engage with your audience:
This one goes without saying. You should regularly encourage your customers to interact with your posts. Ask them questions, reply to them. You can even consider offering giveaways in exchange for likes. These will increase your popularity and customer base.
Pinterest is another popular social media site with more than 150 million active users. It gets about 80% of the traffic from mobile devices. So it’s a very suitable social media to connect with people on the go.
Here are some tips to get the most out of Pinterest from the perspective of a local business:
- Find what your potential customers are interested in:
Research on the interest of your target audience in Pinterest. Search your business related terms and try to figure out what people are sharing the most.
Make a list of your local competitors’ websites and watch what people have pinned from those sites. You can easily see what people has pinned from a site by going to http://www.pinterest.com/source/example.com. Replace the example.com with any site’s URL to find out pins related to that site.
- Create multiple boards with different theme
Don’t use a single board to pin all your posts. Create multiple boards, each focusing a topic of interest of your potential customers
- Pin regularly and repin contents of potential customers:
You should post at least one pin per day. Consider repinning and commenting on posts of your local customers or other local businesses whom you want to notice you.
- Use Place pins:
Place pins let you plot pins on specific locations on a map. As most of the people use Pinterest from mobile, you should definitely use Place pins to promote your local business. Clicking on the Place pin will show a customer the exact location, phone number and web address of your business.
- Create rich pins for your products:
Product pins will dynamically update the price and other details by pulling data from your site. These pins also encourage your customers to visit your local business website and increase conversion rate.
- Use a business account:
Don’t use your personal profile to promote your business. Pinterest business accounts are specially tailored to meet the needs of business of all shapes and sizes.
Other social media
Apart from the social media sites we discussed above, there are other social platforms like Google Plus, StumbleUpon and forums like Quora, Reddit and Yahoo Answers, where you can interact with your local customers.
Over to you
In the end, it’s worth emphasizing that your business doesn’t need to be present in every well-known social media to successfully reach your local customers. Choose one or two platforms where most of your prospective buyers are. Then focus your efforts to develop a steady customer relation via regular interaction and active participation.
Also, don’t use the social media solely as an advertising platform. Instead, consider social media to be a means to serve your customers and communicate your dedication to them. By following these simple strategies, you can easily use the power of social media as a driving force behind the growth and success of your local business.