Last week I was listening to one of my clients speak at a networking lunch. And he shared what I thought was an obvious tip, but the room really loved it – your location, where you are situated geographically, should be one of your keywords. Hmm, I thought that geographic marketing, or location based marketing was the starting point when you start marketing your business, after all, that’s the strategy we used with Arrow Light Haulage, get found locally first, and then get found for other things.
Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, G+ and Twitter are essential for the marketing of any business, with the proviso that that is where your customers are. However, the popularity of locally based social media sites is rising steadily.
These sites that connected to geographical locations offline. They allow customers to find the local businesses and services they’re looking for. They also offer the advantage of coupons, check-in to locations, and the ability to write reviews for others to read about local services. They’re sites that you are probably using for other reasons anyway like:
Social media isn’t just for high-tech businesses, I thought I’d get that out of the way as well. Any offline business can leverage the popularity and marketing power of location marketing: Here are the reasons your company needs to market on local social media sites.
Get Your Business Found
The simplest reason to get involved in local social media is so prospective customers can find your business. Sites like Yelp and CitySearch list businesses and offer search features. When your customer is wandering around looking for the goods or services you offer and use mobile search, they can easily find your profile through one of these sites and visit your premises.
Spreading the Good Word
When customers enjoy your products or services, they can tell their friends and connections on local social media – Facebook Places (where you check-in to a venue) and 4Square – all help with the visibility of your small business. Customers can write reviews and recommend your businesses to friends, providing the greatest P.R. in the world: word of mouth. If you particularly favour one site over another, then let your customers know about that site, how to find you and that you appreciate honest reviews.
Offer Deals and Promotions
Through location marketing you can offer special deals and promotions to increase footfall and get new customers through your door. You can reward loyal customers or those who tell their friends about your business by giving them coupons and deals. An example of this could be giving a free starter or a discount if people check in via Facebook Places. When the customer checks-in via their Facebook App this will show in their Facebook stream and can generate great word of mouth. This isn’t something just for restaurants, but hairdressers, garages and many other businesses that offer goods and services.
Content Your Customers Can Use
Offline businesses should offer useful content through social media sites. This content may take the form of articles, videos, images, resources, or anything else that helps your customers solve their problems. Content is brought to them courtesy of your business, which helps you gain exposure. This way, you can build trust and establish yourself as the go-to person in your niche.
Keeping in Touch
Since nearly everyone uses social media, it provides a great touch point with your customers. Simply by getting on the site and interacting with your customers by commenting, sharing, liking, and talking to them, you can build a relationship with them. Then, when they want the products and services you offer, you’ll be the one they choose.
If you collect customer’s email addresses then you can upload them to Facebook and invite them to your page, you can follow them on Twitter and you can add them to a specific G+ circle, and then interact and distribute your content directly to them. This is laser targeted marketing at its very best.
If you have profiles on major social media sites, they’ll appear in search engines. When someone does a local keyword search, looking for something like ‘plumber in Suffolk,’ your local social media increases the chances of your business’s profile appearing in search results. This gets your business more exposure and sends you more new customers. What’s not to love?
A Free Marketing Tool
The main reason offline businesses should use local social media is that it’s free and easy to use. It does take time to get set up, but once you’re set up, maintenance takes just minutes a day.
This is the kind of free advertising businesses have always dreamed of.
If you want to know more about location marketing and social media for small businesses then sign up for a place on the next marketing marathon. Places are limited and the results are breathtaking.