Big Boxes and brands may have big budgets and social media departments, but local businesses need not rely on traditional marketing methods alone to get noticed in their community. By tapping into the same social media platforms, small businesses can dramatically increase their presence in the local community and humanize their brand online.
Below are seven well-known tools that can help your business get noticed in your local community, whether your customers are at home on their computer or are mobile.
7 Social Media Tools for Local Business Marketing
- Facebook for Business
70% of local businesses use Facebook. Facebook business pages are easy to set up, provide business check-in, offers paid promotion for business Page posts and Facebook Ads to boost your local business presence. Make sure you secure your company name and read the Terms of Service (TOS) before publishing your business page. Facebook has strict rules regarding Cover images and age appropriate Page settings.
Twitter is a great way to create conversations with your local customers in real-time. Have a promotion or new service you want to advertise? Share it on Twitter and hear what your customers are saying. Ask questions and find out what your customers care about and let them know you are listening to them. Twitter allows you to customize your page background, add your logo, description of service, and connect your “tweets” with other social platforms.
Pinterest is not just for recipes and crafts anymore. With the recent addition of Pinterest for Business, businesses can take advantage of a number of ways to get noticed at the local level. Share your business story, create a business community and make it easy to drive traffic your way. Use hash tags on your “pin” images to increase search optimization using keywords compatible with your marketing strategy.
Google’s motto “Make your business social, across the web” is not just a slogan. Google for business is a powerful tool for local businesses. From getting found on Google in a Search or on Maps to going face-to-face in Hangouts on Google+, Google has your business covered. Want to know how Google contributes to your bottom line? Google offers in-depth data to analyze conversions, influencers, and social ROI (Return on Investment).
Yahoo allows customers to find you with free business listings. Setup is easy and free on Yahoo Local. Add your business address, phone number, website URL if you have one, and up to 5 business categories. Customers have the option of writing a review as well as adding a rating up to 5 stars.
With over 84 million unique visits in 2012, Yelp is your local/city guide to what’s cool in your neighborhood. Yelp provides business owners with free account setup, ability to post photos and message customers. Yelp is mobile friendly with iPhone, Android, BlackBerry. For Apple users, Siri’s default search engine is Yelp, driving business search results to the top of Page 1.
Foursquare is a location-based service for mobile customers. To get started on Foursquare first claim your business. If you don’t have a brick-and-mortar storefront, Foursquare offers an option to claim your internet business. Once your business is claimed, Foursquare allows registered users to check in and share their experience with their friends. And just like Facebook, businesses can write an “About” page (Bio), upload images, and share text.
Along with these more widely known methods of listing your business, check your local Chamber of Commerce, your local (online) newspaper, local online magazines, and if you live near a University the campus newspaper services. Many of these outlets provide no-cost or low-cost business listings.
Display your social platforms prominently in your window (if brick and mortar). Finally, develop a “social business” mindset from the inside out and involve your employees at every level to help spread your brand message.
Whatever platform a local business chooses, be consistent and professional in how you interact on the platform. What tools would you add to this list to help local business get noticed?