Many businesses have experienced huge successes with social media marketing. However, smaller local based businesses often wonder if they can also succeed on these channels despite their location. Many that try social media marketing often fail to see results to justify its use. The biggest reasons for this is due to not being able to build a sizable following and not being able to engage their followers with their posts. Here are some tips to avoid these problems and build a strong social media following.
1. Choose the Right Social Media Site
The first thing you have to do is to choose the right social media platforms to use. Not all social media sites will be right for your business. Trying to have a presence on all the sites will spread you too thin due to the amount of time it takes to manage your presence on these sites. You want to think about what sites your ideal customers are already on to maximize your time and money.
For example, let’s say your business is very visually based. If your local business is a wedding boutique, Pinterest would be a great social media channel to use to help grow your business. But if your local business offers accounting services, Pinterest would be a horrible choice and LinkedIN would be a better fit. For most businesses, Facebook and Twitter will be an essential part of their social media marketing strategy.
2. Advertise on Social Media Channels
While many small businesses go into social media thinking that it’s free, it’s incredibly hard to gain traction from scratch. Because of the advanced targeting that social media platforms offer, it’s incredibly cost effective for small businesses to advertise on them. So don’t be afraid to spend some money. Learn how these advertising platforms work so that you can create a winning campaign.
Facebook is the biggest social media site and offers many targeting options like gender, job titles, age, interests and location. They also offer various options like sponsored posts or regular targeted ads. You can get really specific so that you don’t waste money on reaching out to people that don’t fit into your criteria for what makes for the ideal customer. Other sites to consider include Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram, Reddit and Pinterest.
3. Create Great Content
To stay connected with your followers, you need to give them a reason to pay attention to you. You can do this by giving them value in the form of great content. Great content helps you build a relationship with your followers, establish a strong local brand and assert your authority. Great content is what makes your followers want to come back to see what you’re up to and trust you enough to do business with you.
The biggest mistake that local businesses make is thinking that social media is a promotion platform. They burn out their followers’ interest by constantly promoting offers and hardly providing value. Instead, follow the 80-20 rule. Spend 80% of your posts on providing great content and engaging your audience. Spend 20% of your posts on promotional offers.
4. Partner with Other Local Businesses
One thing that you need to realize quickly is that you can only get so far yourself. You want to reach out to other local businesses to form partnerships. Come up with a list of local businesses that share the same group of customers to see if you can cross promote each other’s businesses. It can be something as simple as mentioning each party mentioning partner’s business on the social media channel.
For example, a florist or a makeup studio can reach out to wedding boutique for partnerships. It’s important to note that you should only reach out to other businesses that complement yours. It doesn’t make sense to try to partner with businesses that are in direct competition with you.
5. Engage Your Audience
In between all the content, you still have to engage your followers to stay connected with them. Many companies make the mistake of using social media as another corporate front. What you want to do is to reply back to followers’ posts. You want start interesting conversations and involve your followers. You want to ask for their feedback. You want to address customer complaints and problems.
There are many ways you can go about engaging your audience. Sharing short posts and cool pictures is a great way to stay engaged between your content. You can curate posts and content from other sources as well. You can even add commentary on popular conversations and stories in your area (as long as it’s related to your business). Be creative and come up with other ways to engage your audience in a way that’s relevant.
By following the tips outlined above, you’ll be able to build followers and a strong relationship with them. The great thing about social media is that it grows organically. You’ll soon be leveraging your follower base and relationships to bring in new followers and customers into your business.