These are the three critical elements your small business should build into its local social media marketing plan.
Social media marketing is only one of many digital marketing channels a small business should integrate into its overall marketing strategy.
While social media may look like a free advertising channel, in order for social media to be worthwhile, a company needs to have a solid plan outlining its goals, objectives and metrics that allow it to monitor its ROI.
For small businesses, it’s essential that its social media strategy is built around its local audience. There is no point in spending time and money attracting thousands of followers from all around the globe if your company cannot sell its products or services to those followers. Here, then, are the three key elements each small business needs to include in its social media marketing plan.
1. Engage with potential clients, not with a like-minded audience.
Many small business owners only create posts and updates that are centered around the products and services they offer. This often leads to building followers that are heavily concentrated around the company’s own industry. For example, if a company selling insurance packages only creates posts using the tag “insurance,” it attracts followers who actively monitor everything that has to do with insurance. This tactic may not be suitable for consumers who only care about insurance when it’s time to renew their policy or when they acquire a new property.
Consider what your potential local customers are interested in and make sure that a portion of your posts addresses those interests (and concerns). Depending on the product or service you sell, you may need to dedicate more or fewer posts to topics that may have nothing to do with the industry you’re in. For example, a company that sells trending technology gadgets such as drones or VR products may not need to go out of its way to attract followers that are potential clients, because technology consumers tend to be naturally attracted to new technology. On the other hand, a company selling insurance policies needs to dedicate more of its social media posts to various topics that have nothing to do with insurance in order to get noticed and ultimately followed by potential clients.
The key is to pinpoint potential clients, identifying what they are actively interested in and then addressing their interests in your social media strategy.
2. Engage with the local audience.
It is easy for a company to recycle tags that provide the most exposure and therefore attract the most followers. This usually leads to building a globalized audience, one that isn’t likely to convert to customers.
It is therefore essential to address your local audience, and the best way to do this is to explore tags that are trending locally. For example, on Twitter, the hashtags that are trending at each given moment in a specific location are shown on the company’s Twitter home page. Give these trending hashtags serious consideration.
Again, each company’s situation is different, and your social media marketing strategy should reflect this. For example, since California is a social media hub, a company based in California may not need to dedicate as much of its posts to locally trending topics as, say, a company based in Saskatoon, Canada. The Saskatoon company may need to address 90 percent or more of its posts to its local audience by using locally trending hashtags, while the California-based company may be fine not using locally trending hashtags.
3. Advertise your products and services.
Local businesses face certain challenges when it comes to social media advertising. Not only do they have to ensure they are responsive to their potential customers’ interests, but they have to find ways to address their local audience. Some of your social media posts, therefore, must advertise your products or services, and you have to do this in a clever way without annoying the followers you’ve been working so hard to acquire.
A technology company, for example, may have more leeway with promoting its business in its posts, simply because its followers may naturally be interested in the products the company offers. On the other hand, an insurance company has to formulate a strategy to include a small percentage of subtle advertisement posts that align with other posts the insurance company uses to attract followers. For instance, if the insurance company attempts to attract followers by creating sports-related posts, its advertisement posts should be written in such a way that appeals to sports fans.
These three key elements can help small businesses everywhere improve the results of their local social media marketing efforts. In addition, businesses should continue to monitor their results and update their plan periodically for the best results.
Kiril is the owner and CEO at TakeOffRoom – a web design and digital marketing agency based in Montreal, Qc. Kiril has studied marketing and software development at McGill University, and has co-founded and founded a series of technology startups.