Social media presents today’s small business owner with a wealth of opportunities to find success in a major way. While many claim it’s all just too complicated, the reality is that most successful local social media strategies can be implemented at little to no out-of-pocket cost. You just need to know what works, what doesn’t and how to enter the playing field with your eyes wide open. Soon, you’ll have all of the ammunition and motivation needed to launch a wildly successful local social media campaign without breaking the bank or jeopardizing your sanity.
Quick Social Media Facts
In a moment, we’ll deal with the ammunition and strategies of successful local social media campaigns. But first, it’s time for some old fashioned motivation by way of powerful facts and statistics that should fuel your passion for social media promotion.
- One in every nine people in the entire planet are on Facebook.
- That same Facebook eats up 700 billion minutes of our time each and every month.
- In May of 2011, 190 million Tweets were being posted every single day on Twitter.
- Google+ was the fastest social media platform to break 10 million users in just 16 days after launch (it took Facebook 852 days to do it)
- Foursquare boasts 1.5 billion check-ins, with millions more daily.
Obviously, there’s an audience out there. The challenge is devising a customized local social media strategy (across multiple platforms) that stakes your claim in the local market share using new, exciting ways that yield powerful customer relationships and loyalty.
When I sit outside Brew’d Awakening on Market St. I can literally watch the checkins on Facebook and FourSquare, and tweets from Twitter. There’s no question that social media is alive and active in Lowell. I’m even a Mayor at quite a few establishments myself
Unlock Local on Facebook: Status Tags
Since Facebook announces new and exciting developments every time you turn around, some fall under the radar. One that did is the Status Tag. Most of you have tagged a friend in a post or mentioned them in a Check-In status update, so you know how that works. What you may not know is that you can do this for relevant local pages and fan pages when you post. What you need to do first is search out groups and “fan clubs” that like things that you talk about, whether it’s religion, marketing, coffee or whatever your business’s specialty might be. When you find relevant groups (especially those that fall in your local market) you can tag that group or fan page in your posts, and your post will also appear on that particular Fan Page as well.
Case Study: How One Restaurant Hit Local Gold with Status Tags
In a small town in southern Georgia, there is an annual agricultural festival that brings in vendors, experts and enthusiasts from all across the planet. One local mom and pop restaurant started doing status tags about 3 weeks prior to the event, and continued throughout the week. Their offer: Bring in your stub from the Ag Expo for a free piece of pecan pie. The results? Folks were literally standing in line for a piece of that pie, and drinks and dinners, too!
Unlock Local On Twitter: Advanced Search
It’s hard to believe that a simple search tool can pay off in dividends, but when it comes to optimizing your Twitter profile for local marketing efforts, it does – every time! Using the advanced search tool, you can search all users by keyword, location, or many other data breakdowns. You can also search for hashtags to find out what people are saying about a particular subject, topic, etc. This allows you to develop a targeted strategy to grow your following and followers.
Bonus Tip: Insight into Your Local Influential Social Media Personalities
Wefollow.com is a great free tool that allows you to gain clear insight into the local Twitter users in your area. Find out what they’re talking about, who is listening and how to influence the influencers.
Unlock Local on Google+: Coming Soon – Brand Pages
As highlighted earlier, Google+ is by far the fastest growing social media site out there. While it offers a very similar end-user experience to what you would get from Facebook, there are distinct differences, especially from the marketers point of view. Fortunately, while you can do your best with complete profiles, in-depth and locally relevant status updates, etc. there is a new development in the works, Google+ Brand pages which will provide business users with significantly in-depth demographic information about relevant market segments.
Unlock Local on Foursquare: The Best Free Thing You’ll Do
Foursquare is a mobile sensation that has turned patronizing brick and mortar businesses into a game, one where you could ultimately be deemed “The Mayor” of your favorite establishment, with all the pomp and glory that may entail. If you haven’t signed up already, it couldn’t be any simpler. Just sign up at the Business page, “Claim” your establishment and create an offer and watch the site work it’s magic. Because it is integrated with Twitter and Facebook, this can translate into an explosion of traffic and interest in your offer and business.
Of course, you don’t have to be a traditional business to make it work. There is another aspect of Foursquare for Brands that work for publishers, non-profits, religious organizations, media and more. One small childcare center in Jacksonville, FL got a number of local businesses to set up as partners who would “contribute” a small amount (usually $0.05 or less) for every Check-In during a one month period and was able to bring in several hundred dollars in funding with very little trouble through the Merchant Platform.