Is Your Local Business Social Online?
Local businesses nowadays need an online presence and if you accept this obvious fact ask “Is Your Local Business Social Online”.
Every small to medium local business tries to connect with new customers in some fashion. Be it word of mouth-Ads in Papers-Flyers-the list is endless. Many also utilize online marketing to reach an audience interested in what you have to offer.
However, in my experience, many local businesses are failing to capitalize on the potential for getting business online.
People of all ages colors and creeds spend part of their lives online-everyday for many of them- so accept that and it’s not rocket science to suggest that using social media has to be at the very least considered as a strategy to reach out to new blood.
Social media marketing is vital to increasing awareness of your brand, to generating leads, and connecting with new and existing customers in a meaningful and engaging way. In fact, one in three online users research brands and products via social media.
1. Knowing Your Audience
This may seem like I am stating the obvious, but many local businesses are using social media to market to the wrong audience on the wrong social media platform. This is common and can easily be tweaked for social success.
For example, if your small business caters to women’s health, and you’re not posting content on Pinterest, you are missing a huge target audience because over 80 percent of Pinterest users are women.
Would a Lawyer be better advised to use Linkedin instead of Twitter as their main platform? Probably Yes.
Getting to know your audience will help you learn their interests, what they need or want solutions for, questions they have, and what social channels they turn to for information and answers.
A few obvious questions to ask about your target audience – your questions should reflect what your business is seeking to achieve:
- Where do they live?
- What motivates them to make a purchase? Fear-Desire?
- What activities do they do? Hobbies?
- Do they see value in products or services like yours?
- What is their income level? Can they afford You?
- What are the purchase pain points? Fear of losing out?
- Do they have a family-children, or pets?
- Where do they seek their answers and information online?
Once you have considered what your questions should be, you can develop a buyer/hirer strategy for your social media marketing campaigns.
For instance, if you sell products that are a fit for Mary from Wicklow who loves to hike with her family on weekends, leverage that in your social posts for that specific buyer persona. She loves hiking – that’s one target market.
2. Give Value On Social Media
Remember “Social” is the important word in “Social Media”.
Few people love a hard sell- and more so in this day and age when people research quite a bit before committing to a purchase. Simply distributing post after post telling users how great your product is -will bore them and they will regard your offer as spam.
Giving value means? Connecting with users on social media, and making your posts all about them – the customer. It’s about being social as well as informative and knowledgeable.
Giving value could include:
- Tips that your audience will find very useful ( How To’s…)
- Local Community News- often of interest to your audience
- Have a plan for offers-sales and deals
- Share stories your audience will connect with ( great fishing at…)
- Ask questions and comment on social media posts
- Consider joining social groups and forums
3. Have Social Media Marketing Goals & a Plan
Considering what you want to achieve for a specific social media campaign can help shape your efforts and the content you’re posting. Have a plan. What is it you want- is it more followers, leads, more traffic to your website, or visits to your shop or calls to your office.
Goals and a plan can help you measure the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaigns as well. Measure your results and see what is working and what’s not. If it works keep it going.
Having measurable datahelps you adjust the ad group, like maybe narrowing in the audience reach by changing location, age range, or interests. If you see results after the tweak, you know that you hit the sweet spot for future lead generation campaigns. Without goals in place, you could be wasting time and money.
4. Last But Not Least – Being Consistent Wins the Race!
The online world is littered with dormant irrelevant social media accounts- often surprisingly for businesses that are still active offline. What a shame because……These footprints do not paint your business in a positive light. For Some visitors, it will appear that you do not care about your business.
By not posting on social media channels and engaging with followers consistently, you will have a hard time growing your social presence for meaningful results. There is no one-click solution and it will take practice and yes you can use social media scheduling tools to lighten the load somewhat BUT remember nobody likes engaging with a robot.
For those of you who are simply time shy but accept that social media can help your business – hire a VA who specializes in the field of social media. A VA can be pretty cost-effective if you calculate the time it takes you to create, edit, schedule, post, and actually engage with your audience.