Local Marketing 2020 Series: Social Media, Reviews and SEM
You may not think a carpet cleaning service needs a Facebook page. Who would follow it and why? Now is the time to cast aside your notions of social media and embrace its local power.
First, search engines tend to (unofficially) appreciate businesses that are active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram. It never hurts to appease the Google Gods.
Secondly, potential customers who are researching your products or services online are likely to stumble upon your social accounts. When they do, are they going to see one lonely post from two years ago? Or would you rather a vibrant, active feed of fresh content, testimonials, photos, videos and more?
Once you do start to collect some local followers, social media is a good way to promote offers, specials, announcements and events. These networks are also great customer service platforms, offering several alternative forms of interaction between you and the local community. Sites like Facebook will continue to change and evolve its algorithm, but one truth will always remain: your social media efforts will not go to waste.
Remember that consumer decisions are being made online. A satisfied customer who walks out your door is an excellent opportunity for a good review. Encourage patrons to leave a review for your business on Google, Facebook or Yelp. Don’t be pushy — but don’t be shy either. Instead, subtly suggest the notion while conveying your appreciation. This request can be delivered via point-of-sale signage, receipt verbiage, post-sale email or by asking the good old-fashioned way. Of course, not every person will follow through, but you will surely see an uptick in social proof over time. Companies that take pride in their customer experience, and have the ratings to back it up, are rewarded with more clicks, more calls, more business (and more praise).
Another avenue is online paid local marketing. It almost seems like cheating to advise you to spend money on pay-per-click advertising, or search engine marketing, in a local marketing blog post. The concept may not seem very creative or too cost-prohibitive — but if done correctly, it works.
Most of the major PPC platforms, such as Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and Bing Ads, allow you to concentrate your campaign on hyper-local regions. This means your marketing dollars won’t go to waste on curious clicks from other states (or countries). Additionally, the ability to display ads to individuals with highly specific interests and demographics further increases your chances of making every click count.
Here’s an advanced tip. Take advantage of geo customizers to customize your ad copy to dynamically insert a local town name, suburb or zip code specific to a user’s IP address. Upload a CSV file to the business data section of AdWords that tells the platform, “IF a user is in Chicago, IL…serve them Headline 1 saying ‘Attention Chicago Businesses.’ ” This will increase your CTR and personalize all messaging.
Since most search and social ad platforms price clicks and impressions on a bidding system, you will be less likely to compete with big businesses’ national campaigns, thus saving even more money. The best part? No budget is too small. Spend a few bucks a day to put yourself where your customers are looking.
There’s no denying it. With more than 3 billion active users, social media is no longer a matter of choice if you want your business to succeed.
Look for our next Local Marketing Series blog, where you’ll learn more about email marketing and how it can help increase revenue and facilitate growth.