Your small business can learn a ton from large corporations and their social media tactics. It’s not rocket science and you don’t need a dedicated team to do it. Local businesses have a unique opportunity that doesn’t often present itself in the face of big corporations. If your local company isn’t trying these local social media opportunities, it’s time to get started! Here are 7 productive ways to begin that cost you nothing…but your time!
Creative Ways Local Businesses Can Use Social Media
1.) Complete all of your profile/page information. I know, it’s not very creative, but the easiest to accomplish. As search gets more social, it’s more and more likely your social profile could show up in search results. Make sure you’ve filled it out with adequate information about who you are, what you do, where people can find you, and how to get in touch with you. Of all the social media networks to consider when leveraging an organic search presence, Google+ is currently at the top of the pile. With its consistent incorporation of Google+ profile and page information into search results, brand presence on Google+ is quickly becoming a social media must. Are you there?
2.) Monitor social media mentions. Of your brand…of related products and services…and of your competitors. When people are talking about these things, you should be the first to respond with a coupon, information about your product or service, or just a helpful answer to their question. People use social media for real-time information, and if you’re the one who provides the answer, you elevate yourself as a local expert and a trusted source. This tactic will help you generate new leads, close more sales, or just keep prospects, customers, and your community happy.
3.) Do a little investigating. Check out your fans’ and followers’ profile information to see what they like, and edit adjust marketing activities and communications accordingly. This helps you create buyer personas, refine the style, tone, and content of your messaging, and ensure you’re talking about the things your audience likes to prompt more social engagement.
4.) Become a resource for local events in your industry. Keeping your ear to the ground on events — whether live or web-based — that your audience would like to attend makes you an indispensable resource. Aggregate everything that’s happening in your industry, and maintain groups on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, or Circles on Google+ that keep interested parties up to date on can’t-miss activities. And be sure to show up to these events, too; your future customers will be there! Why not create another impression?
5.) Maintain your presence on local review sites. Sites like Yelp! often appear among the top results in search engines. How does your reputation look? Consumers hold peer reviews in high esteem (I do), and it’s crucial that their first impression of you is a positive one. Plus, these sites help answer common questions for customers like addresses, hours of operation, and contact information that people are frequently checking on their mobile devices when on the go. You should be actively involved in maintaining your reputation on these sites by keeping your business information up to date, soliciting positive reviews from satisfied customers, and working to resolve issues with those who have posted negative reviews of your business.
6.) Ask your employees to use their social networks for your business. National companies may ask their employees to do this, but they won’t reap as much benefit unless their employees connect with people that are overwhelmingly interested in their industry. What do people tend to have in common with lots of their connections? Location! If their networks know their friend or family member works for a local company, you can be sure they’ll contact them the next time they need a local dentist, doctor, health food store, pet sitter, t-shirt maker, custom closet designer…well, you get the point.
7.) Connect with other local businesses and consumers. Get active in online conversations. Connect with people that live in your city and businesses that are doing cool things in your area (especially if they could act as a referrer of business!). It’s important to stay locally connected and network with people even if they’re not directly related to your industry; you never know when someone has a secret passion for something you offer or a need arises further down the line for your products and services.
Your local business can use social media to remain a fixture in the local online community and at your storefront.