Social media has changed how businesses approach their customers, and where they find them. No longer restricted to the local population, even mom-and-pop operations can compete with corporations to reach a global market.
But the benefit of using social media to reach local customers should not be overlooked. Even though social networks are designed to establish connections independent of location, a local focus can give you an edge over your competitors and reinforce your business’s brand within your community or region.
Following are some ways to market to specific audiences and maximize your return on investment:
Set up Facebook pages and other local business pages
Several social networks offer business pages that assist in local commerce. Facebook pages, for example, allow a local audience to connect with your business and keep up with new products or initiatives. Similar business profiles are available through LinkedIn. There’s nothing holding you back from targeting a global audience with these social media assets, which only increases the value in developing them right from the get-go. And one big benefit of social media is that you can implement marketing strategies without spending a fortune.
Focus on attracting followers that are geographically close to you, giving you a chance to develop your brand among your community. Developing a following through these social media pages can have residual benefits that reinforce consumer loyalty and continue to yield revenues for your company.
Promote events through social media
Even though social media exists on a virtual platform, it’s easily employed as a tool for promoting real-world happenings. Online coupon company Valpak is known for successfully using social media – Facebook, in particular – to promote events and deals its customers want to know about. Social networks allow you to invite people to events, which is a handy tool at the local level.
Target local audiences through hashtags
Engagement is key to using social media effectively. If you are looking to increase your exposure among current and prospective customers, engaging in – and facilitating –discussions online can be an effective tool. And a great way to track these conversations is to employ hashtags on Twitter. Using hashtags to label updates related to a conversation allows you to monitor the thread of conversation and choose whom to engage and what to publicize. Interacting with interested consumers will boost brand awareness.
Offer location-specific specials, contests and other deals
Social media can be very effective when used as an incentive for your customers. For example, you could offer a discount on a specific day to anyone who mentions a post on Facebook or Twitter, thus rewarding those individuals for keeping up with your business. These incentives don’t need to be rolled out daily, but knowing that they are released on a consistent basis will motivate consumers to follow what you’re doing.
Although the global market is the ultimate goal for any company, a company’s growth can be crippled by failing to develop a strong local base of business. By developing a foothold in your local community, you can develop strong revenues and a return on investment that will help as you target other markets.