Software updates can be a pain. How many times a day is your computer telling you that “Updates are ready to Install?” and How many times have you clicked that button, “Remind me tomorrow?”
With updates being such a drag, it may seem odd that we are telling you to start paying attention to the new social networking updates. However, our reasoning is simple; Updates on platforms like Facebook and Google will affect your business in big ways, so they are incredibly important to understand.
Social networks are growing at a rapid rate and, while they are continually improving and evolving, they are also creating tools that can help your company stand out. (That is, if you understand how to use them.) After all, if Facebook and Google are investing, your business should be investing in local social networking too!
What you should know about your business before promoting on a local networking site:
Before you can reach the customers you want to have, you must first get to know your audience. If you have a scrunchie company, your target audience wouldn’t be people with hair loss. If your company sells subscription meat boxes, you probably wouldn’t want to target vegetarians. I’m sure you get the picture.
You should also know who is already buying your products. Invest some time in reaching those who love your brand. Find out who they are, what they want, and where they live because these answers will help you determine who else you should be targeting.
Another tactic is to analyze what your competitors are doing. If your business has direct competitors, why not try and see the markets they are reaching and understand the audience who is following them? If you can get your products in front of the same eyes, you have just created a chance that when a viewer turns into a customer, they might turn into your customer.
Turning a prospective customer into a buyer takes some work but, if you are keeping up with us so far, you are well on your way to making these conversions. One easy tool to implement is requesting customer reviews to increase your conversion rates. Reviews act as proof that the product you are marketing truly is all it’s made out to be, and it doesn’t take much effort on your part other than making the ask.
One tip we should highlight is to not delete reviews. If your products all have 5 stars, the ratings will seem artificial and lose credibility. Having a few negative reviews mixed amongst the hundreds or thousands of positive reviews will help sell the authenticity of the comments and ratings.
Here are a few ways it can directly affect and improve your business strategies:
Target Exact Audience
Maybe your business doesn’t sell products that can be shipped across the country. For example, if you own a local coffee shop, your ideal market would be people who live within a relatively small radius of your establishment. Why target customers who live more than 100 miles away when you have a plethora of potential customers you could be reaching in your own backyard?
Using your Facebook or Google listings will help a great deal in these cases. You can directly target an audience by their address, so you have a much better chance of creating repeat customers. (If your coffee is all that your marketing has made it out to be, that is!)
Another way you can get to know your customers is by researching what they’re asking. If they want recommendations for local coffee shops, then you are in business! If they want to know what coffee with a shot of espresso is, answer their question and tell them you sell it! The more helpful you can be toward prospective customers, the more loyalty you will create with them, helping convert them to a customer for life.
By targeting your audience and learning about them, you can bring in customers with ease because you are working more efficiently. On your social networks, you can partner up and organize giveaways with other stores in your area, bringing in more business for you both. By looking at what people are searching for most online, you can also create unique opportunities to reach precisely the people who need you most. After all, who doesn’t need a cup of coffee to start their day?
Word of Mouth
Often times word of mouth means either face to face or via the telephone, but in this case we’re talking about online! It really doesn’t matter how the word about your business is being spread, just as long as people are talking about it – positively of course!
On social networks, this can be extremely helpful in creating a network of advocates! The more people mentioning your business, the more free marketing and advertising for you. If you are part of a Facebook group, you might go there to see what face cream other women are purchasing. If multiple women are talking about the same brand, touting its benefits and great price, it’s likely you will go check out that brand and buy their products. This is how you build a brand organically by word of mouth using social media, and it could be your product they are talking about next!
It comes down to making your brand, business, and name approachable and revered by your community. The more people talking about your brand, the better off you are because this organic marketing approach builds on connections between members of your community. It will be much easier for someone to trust your company if their best friend already does!
Testing Testing Testing
Here’s the thing about marketing: Not every single tactic you try is going to succeed. Try, try, try again and don’t get discouraged. It is going to take numerous tactics and efforts before you find the marketing approach that works best for your company. Be open to putting in the work so that your audience and profits can grow. As each social network you explore contains a few hundred to a few thousand people, you can test your approaches at a low cost before trying to reach a bigger audience.
If you have a big following in San Diego among young men ages 18-24, you could target cities such as Long Beach, Santa Monica, and Santa Cruz with the same age group and get great results. Often people who live in the same neighborhoods will have similar interests and socioeconomic backgrounds. You can use this to your advantage when cultivating ads to be sent out on social platforms.
Social networks tend to be places where people ask for help and suggestions from their neighbors. They trust others’ feedback because they live in the same area and have “knowledge” about that area too. If you could tap into these connections directly, you have the opportunity to really get your company name out there and reach a whole new target audience.
Some Local Social Networking Sites your Business Should be on
We’ve done some of the heavy lifting for you already and put together a list of social networking apps we believe are worth looking into. If you have any other that you are using and are seeing results from, pop the name in the comments below.
- Facebook (This is by far the most popular social media website and, boasting almost 1.5 billion active monthly users, this platform is where you should start. It is particularly helpful for small businesses that hope to advertise their products or events. You can start a business page, create a private group with your customers, and more!)
- Google (Google+ is another great way to get your name out there. While it’s not the same as Facebook, it is a Google product and that alone makes its reach appealing. Google+ is frequently being updated and has a lot of SEO value which, when used correctly, can bump up views of any small business.)
- Nextdoor (This social media company hails from San Francisco and is a hyperlocal platform that illustrates neighbors have more in common than they might think. It is both a website and an app where users can post recommendations, updates, and warnings about their apartment building, city block, or even subway nearby. It works similarly to Facebook and is able to capture reviews and recommendations directly from people within your community.)
- ScoopLoop (This is another free local social network that connects users and their neighbors. In one concise area, it allows documentation of the neighborhood happenings. By plugging in your zip code, users can see relative conversations, events, information, and recommended businesses in their area.)