Most entrepreneurs look at the Internet as a mean to reach the global customers. While it is true that a lucrative market awaits you out there, let’s not overlook the local business opportunities you already have. And social media and search marketing, used properly, helps you skyrocket your local sales.
Studies indicate that there has been a tremendous growth in the local, mobile search volumes over the past few years. Google too confirms that more than 50 percent of mobile queries are local. They further claim that 4 out of 10 online users prefer to “Research Online Purchase Offline.”
Therefore, it makes sense to use your social profiles to connect with your local buyers and provide detailed information and your products and services through these platforms.
Social Media Platforms to Leverage
When it comes to social media marketing, you basically have three major content types in your arsenal, including
The following are 6 types of social platforms that can help you improve your local sales:
1. Twitter & Facebook
These two social media sites remain at the top in the social landscape. Using customer-focused and value-rich updates help you connect with users and establish a broader conversation with them. Content, timing, and engagement are crucial to access to a tremendous scale in these platforms. In fact, it is content and engagement you need to focus on:
- Post photos, questions, insightful stats and facts, links to thought-provoking articles
- Show off your products with large images
- Run a timeline contest
- Utilize “Boost Post” feature on Facebook
- Put your phone number in the “About” section as well as in your posts
- Run a “Facebook Offers” and use “Twitter Coupons”
This is a great platform for B2B marketers, provided they know how to leverage its innovative features, such as:
- Use LinkedIn advertising to reach the decision makers
- Publish your content to your network directly
- Improve your LinkedIn newsfeed
- Create LinkedIn persona strategy. For example, ask questions on this platform instead of pitching as it invokes curiosity. The best strategy is to “Ask, listen, engage and find common ground” to resolve pain points.
Twitter and Facebook have no contribution to your SEO efforts, at least directly, confirms Matt Cutts. But Google+ has and therefore you need to be active on this social platform by:
- Sharing photos, videos and content on Google+
- Interacting with target audience via hangouts and chat tools in order to foster robust discussions
- Filling up your basic information such as phone numbers, operation hours, map and website URL in G+ Local page
4. Pinterest & Other Photo-Sharing Networks
This is a great tool for B2C businesses, especially those from fashion, lifestyle, travel, and hotel and food domain. However, B2B businesses are also leveraging this tool to connect with consumers. To use photo-sharing sites like Pinterest, Instagram, and Visual.ly etc. you need to follow a few simple guidelines:
- Images posted must add a visual angle to your brand
- B2B business need to focus more on marketing infographics via these platforms
- Encourage your followers to share their wish lists
- Tell your stories with Pinterest boards
5. YouTube & Vine
If you have video content in your arsenal, start using them to connect with your local customers via video networks like YouTube, Vine, Instagram Video, or Vimeo. Using these platforms you can:
- Showcase your product or unveil a new product
- Cross-promote video content via video oriented tools such as LinkedIn featured videos and Twitter Cards
- Use both scripted and unscripted videos to create sales copy, video testimonials, introduce your staff/workplace, share industry expertise, user manuals, and how-to’s
6. FourSquare & Location-Based Platforms
Location-based social networking tools like FourSquare provide great opportunities to promote your business to local customers. To tap onto this network you can use tools like special offers with check-in, loyalty points and rewards, and giveaways, etc. to attract your local customers.
The most crucial point that you need to understand from this is post is that “one size fits all” kind of an approach does not work for social marketing. Each social platform caters to a different category of users. Using audience insights and real data is the key to select the right network to boost your local sales. For example, a B2C business is in a better position to attract quality leads using tools like Facebook Offers. A B2B business, on the other hand, needs to focus more on LinkedIn and niche networks dominating a space to reach its target audience.
Vivek Patel is a Local Search Specialist at E2M, one of the fastest growing digital marketing agencies based in India committed to meeting the highest ethical standards of digital marketing services to encourage and drive strategic and sustainable business growth. He covers local search optimization, organic search tactics, and social media marketing strategies. You can find him on twitter: @vivekrpatel, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook.