Regardless of whether you’re selling a product or a service as a local business social media can help you tap into the community, raise your brand awareness and ultimately send more potential customers your way. Here’s a few, not too time consuming, ‘work smart’ tips perfect for small local businesses on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Twitter: this platform is THE powerhouse of searching capability. You can easily find tweets from your location; tweets mentioning the locality you’re based in; who’s tweeting your local competitors; who locally is tweeting about exactly the product or service you sell and much, much more. As an absolute minimum you should every couple of days:
run a keyword search of your location to find local ‘conversations’ to get involved with, events and other businesses to promote.
run location based searches for people tweeting about the products/services you provide for example as a florist you can search for tweets within a 10 mile radius containing the words newborn, baby, birthday, engagement (or emojis) and all the other occasions a florist is needed.
keep and check a Twitter list of local business and people to see if there’s any tweets you can respond to or retweet.
search to see who is tweeting your competitors to see if their tweets have received a response (if they haven’t this is your cue to help them!).
Type your locality (e.g. ‘Hitchin” for me ) into the search bar to check out tweets across the world which include this word.
To discover tweets related to babies within a 10 mile radius of Hitchin type either the word baby or use the baby emoji 👶🏻 near:Hitchin within:10mi into the search bar
Or to locate people tweeting about birthdays type birthday near:Hitchin within:10mi
Find tweets with the phrase ‘wedding flowers’ type “wedding flowers” near:Hitchin within:10mi
These are obviously just 3 of the many searches you could perform to help you connect with people within your locality. On the flip side make sure that your tweets contain the keywords and location(s) pertinent to your business to help people discover you too.
Instagram: although this platform has more limited searching capability in comparison to Twitter this doesn’t mean that it’s difficult to connect with local people. As a minimum you should, every couple of days:
carry out a geotag search for the local area using the ‘places’ category in Explore.
keep an eye on competitor accounts. Check the comments on their last post to see if they have been answered and also to investigate who is commenting; look at the tagged post section too because usually it’s their customers and fans tagging them (your target audience). And make time to carry out the same for accounts who share your audience but aren’t competitors; e.g. a shop selling children’s items would find it beneficial to keep an eye on local soft play centres.
For your own content make sure you’re applying the right geotag and hashtags to your posts and Stories.
Facebook: this might profess to have searching capabilities but because so many accounts have their privacy settings on lock down it’s hard to actually produce any valuable results which you can comment on as a page rather than a personal account. With this in mind my advice is:
focus on groups, locate and hang out in the right ones where there’s actually a supportive and engaged community rather than an endless stream of sales posts and tumbleweed.
create your own group especially if you can’t find the above and have the time to admin a Facebook group.
search local groups by keyword to see if anyone is requesting advice or recommendations which you can provide.
if you have a budget for advertising target the right audience in your locality.
For all of the above and regardless of the social media platform placing yourself on your target audience’s radar in a friendly, helpful, value added and non-salesy way is essential and will serve to lay the foundations of a (hopefully profitable) relationship.
Content: among content related to your business to attract a local audience you should also ideally:
promote local events, offers, jobs and news.
let your audience know about the other businesses in your locality; your business neighbours or great service you’ve received is an ideal place to start because more often than not this ‘shout out’ will be reciprocated.
produce content which serves to help your audience and promotes other businesses too. For example, a blog post by a childcare provider could promote all the local child friendly businesses who in turn are highly likely to share this post praising them and effectively placing you in front of their (local) audience too.
Other ideas which require more planning:
A collaborative project with local experts, micro influencers or complementary businesses.
A User Generated Content competition or challenge based in the locality.
So which simple ‘work smart’ tip will you be implementing first to help you tap into your local customer base?