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6 Essential Social Media Tools for Local Businesses

by Rachel Kim

local marketing

In the past, local businesses would rely on traditional marketing campaigns to reach their local audience. Newspapers, television ads and radio segments were common mediums through which small businesses would target potential customers. Today, nearly every small business has integrated social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp into their inbound marketing practices. However, one mistake that many small businesses make is to generalize their marketing efforts in attempt to target a wide audience. This is not necessarily the small business’ fault; social media is broad in nature and allows you to connect to others around the world.

social media toolsHowever, social media tools can be adapted to meet the specific needs of local marketing. There are a number of ways in which small businesses can tailor their social media campaigns. The following six are examples of a common social media tool used to target a specific audience.

6 Social Media Tools for Local Marketing

1. Facebook

Most people use Facebook to connect with new friends or to find old ones. However, Facebook has expanded to allow users to connect to each other on a deeper level, through preferences and likes. Businesses can create “pages” on Facebook, which users can choose to follow or “like”. These pages have immense potential for local marketing, especially for small businesses whose followers are most likely local customers. “Liking” a page has inherent advertising qualities, as friends can view the individuals’ activity and their support for a business. Awareness of a company grows through status updates, likes, and shares, as fans spread the brand to their friends. A good example of a local business that leverages well on FaceBook is TheFingerCompanies. They have more than 3.500 likes on their business page which is essentially about their Luxury Apartments in Houston. That’s some real good endorsements, if you ask me.

2. Yelp

Nearly everyone has used Yelp to find a nearby restaurant or the best burger joint around. However, Yelp is much more than finding a great meal: many different businesses are utilizing Yelp in their local marketing campaigns. The nature of Yelp allows the most likely customers to visit your establishment – your local audience. Therefore, it is important to use Yelp to its full potential. Encourage visitors to write a review, or to post a deal on your Yelp page that will give customers incentive to visit. Another important tip is to ensure that your information is up to date, to avoid turning away customers.

3. Twitter

Twitter is an excellent way to create dialogue and interaction with local customers. Many small businesses have effectively used the immediacy of Twitter, whether to inform customers of store changes or an upcoming schedule. One useful feature is to search according to location, allowing an individual to find users in a particular area. Connecting and interacting with individuals can be a great way to reach out to a local audience.

4. LinkedIn

Depending on the type of business, LinkedIn can also be an effective social media tool. Users can find individuals in LinkedIn through advanced search categories, such as location, position, and a variety of other factors. Consulting firms and service agencies can use LinkedIn to connect with potential customers or join interest-based groups.

5. Google+

Recently, Google+ has introduced a Pages feature, allowing businesses to create a brand page for their business. This feature allows businesses and users to promote products, allowing others to view first-hand recommendations. In addition, clicks on the Plus button will increase the relevancy of the businesses in search engine results, creating a positive effect on SEO. With more and more users joining Google+, it is well advised that businesses familiarize themselves with the quickly growing network.

6. Blog

If you don’t already have a blog, you should start one now: a blog is a great way to demonstrate that your small business possesses authority in its field. Depending on the type of business and industry, blogs can have nearly any type of content. Informing customers of specific topics and providing quality content can turn interested visitors into potential customers. In addition, individuals can leave comments on blog posts, demonstrating that the blog and the business possesses an active audience.

The world of social media is dynamic, with users constantly exchanging ideas and trends back and forth. Your local audience is, by no means, exempt from this pattern. By adapting various online business tools for social purposes with local marketing in mind, small businesses can aim for the core of their target audience.

Photo Credit: imrcorp.com

Article by

Rachel Hyun Kim is a writer on topics ranging from workers compensation insurance to document scanning. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including employee background checks to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading business directory, Business.com.

Rachel has written 1 articles at iBlogzone.com

1

Farrell

January 13, 2012 at 3:05 am

I already have my Facebook page, twitter account and blog but i still haven’t used Yelp it. I am not sure if it is good to use for an online business because most people are using Facebook and Google plus when they are online and Yelp is somewhat like a directory and best benefits those that are running a local business. It’s just my thought.

2

Rachel Hyun Kim

January 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I agree that Yelp is a different story for online businesses. However, if you can find a way to integrate Yelp, I’d definitely encourage it!

3

Ivin

January 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Hello Rachel. I have all those down, exept for Yelp. I have heard a lot of, especially in a course I’m taking on working on local clients right now.

My Big 5 are: Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube.

4

Rachel Hyun Kim

January 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Hello Ivin! I agree with your top five, but I’d have to say that Yelp is definitely a strong tool in local marketing. I would suggest that you check out what Yelp has to offer. Thanks for reading the article!

5

bbrian017

January 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Hello Rachel. I have seen many businesses going the blog route to promote their websites (brand and services). It really has become a prerequisite. But I have seen big brand marketers teach that the internet as it is today is really called ‘Social Media’. So building your business brand on as many as possible has become essential for exposure, interaction and awareness.

6

Rachel Hyun Kim

January 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I feel like you’ve just summed up my article beautifully! Thanks so much for reading!

7

Sanjeev

January 14, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Hi Rachel, Social Media is one of the major promotion media these days and with search plus for you from Google it has started taking a big role in organic searches also for logged in users. Nice article.

8

Rachel Hyun Kim

January 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

9

James@ Relationship Marketing

January 15, 2012 at 3:27 pm

more and more it is becoming imperative to have asocial media strategy in your business. most of the people who I see struggling to survive are the ones who refuse to take a hands on approach to marketing their business. many people still think the “autopilot seo system” that they learned 5 years ago will start working again, and keep them in business without them having to do any work.

10

Rachel Hyun Kim

January 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I agree, local marketing is an active process. Thankfully, there’s so many ways to take control through social media. Thanks for your insight!

11

mitz

January 16, 2012 at 6:07 am

Hmm.. I have not heard of YELP but have all the rest. I am using social media to help brand my individual sites. Works like a charm and is free advertising. How can you go wrong?

12

Rachel Hyun Kim

January 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm

You would have to try really hard to mess up with social media. But it seems like you’ve got it down 🙂 Thanks for reading!

13

Dan O'Donnell

January 19, 2012 at 4:52 am

I think one people forget about is YouTube. It’s not just a place to upload vids, but also to connect with viewers and video creators. It’s a great way to find passionate people, potential customers, and other local businesses.

14 Brenna January 21, 2012 at 1:42 am

Interesting. I’ve never used Yelp before but I might engage in it. Social media is definitely important if local businesses want to establish good marketing. Very basic list and an important tip for newly established business owners.

15

mike@Website Medford

January 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Thanks Rachel, Everyone seems to put way too much emphasis on big boxes and big brands in social media where a greater impact can be made with small local businesses. I like what you have to say about blogging as I feel that way too few small brick and mortar businesses blog, where blogging is such a great opportunity to make them more of a authority in their industry.

16

rebel

February 5, 2012 at 10:27 am

Thanks for the list i thought only linkedin would be helpfull for any online bussiness.But using other social media tools to explore our bussiness is a very nice tip.Will start using them for my bussiness

Have a nice day

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