Local Business Marketing with Social Media
- Oct 29, 2012
- Niladri Bose
Those were the golden days when all you needed to stand out from the competition was a website. And if you did a bit of search engine optimization, then you could easily achieve page #1 ranks at Google. It was particularly easy for local businesses, simply because there was far less competition here. Good things don’t last forever, and it didn’t last here as well. Achieving a high search engine ranking and good web visibility has become particularly difficult to achieve for small entrepreneurs.
There was a time when local businesses just had to get listed in the Yellow Pages. Do this, and you were assured a steady stream of business. With the popularity and reach of the Internet, it became slightly more complicated, because the businesses needed to have a website. It was worth it, because they could reach out to more people easily. The wider the reach, the better the business prospects!
With Web 2.0, it suddenly looked more difficult. Just an online presence was not enough anymore. The Internet had become social. It was no more just a one-way communication from the company to its audience. Everybody could interact online, between themselves and with the business. But this presented a great opportunity for the local business as well. It could attract and engage with many more people in a digital format. The Internet had become mainstream.
The Reach of Social Media
Generation Y has increasingly taken up social media. Online consumers today are looking for up-to-date information and feedback before considering buying a service or product. And social media is playing a role here. Research has proved that personal recommendations always work better than simple advertisements. In other words, if your friend “likes” something, then you tend to believe it more than what the company or some celebrity says about it. Yes, the “perceived value” certainly goes up in a social network. Of course, the local business can gain much more if it can make it viral.
Today, the small business does not have a choice. Even a local business now has to go in for social media. Local Yellow Pages listing or a simple website is not going to be enough anymore.
So what can a local business do? Let’s take a look here.
Local Business Marketing with Facebook
Facebook marketing is the absolutely “must do”. It is free, and it allows the local business to reach out to potentially thousands of hot prospects. Of course, there are paid plans too that allows the business to reach out to even more people. If you are planning to build an online presence and create a brand following, then there is hardly anything better than Facebook.
Local Business Marketing with Twitter
Twitter is a great marketing platform for a small business. Just sign up, reserve the account for your business and start tweeting. It is completely free. Follow other tweet accounts, and in time, you will be able to build up a healthy number of followers yourself. By tweeting from a business name, the local entrepreneur can create a smart community of people and other businesses who are following every announcement or communication. This is a great way to announce new launches, or just keep people interested in the loop and let them know about the local business.
Local Business Marketing with Google Places and Google Plus
Local businesses should definitely use “Google Places”. “Places” is a location based Google search result. The key thing here is that, the search result comes with a map of the region, seeing which, people can easily find the local business. This is a unique way for vendors and customers to interact with each other. Say for example, if you are running a pizza shop in Mumbai, and if you have your Places or “Plus” account (discussed later), then your store will be promptly displayed with the map of Mumbai on the search result page for relevant keywords. Local businesses can publish videos, pictures and content.
Another great idea is to open a “Google Plus” account. This is a good social media platform much like Facebook. In recent times, Google has integrated many “Plus” accounts with “Places”. This presents another unique opportunity for local businesses.
Increasingly, search results these days are becoming local as Google realizes that most consumers are looking for a local service provider or a local solution to their problems. It presents a great opportunity for the small local business too, that really does not need traffic from another corner of the world. Just a local presence on the web would do just fine. Social media can be your tool for not just improving the local web visibility, but also engaging with your customers and hot prospects. In fact, there is no better way.
Need local business marketing help with social media? Don’t hesitate to ask us.
Niladri looks after conversion optimization, social media marketing, PPC, and content at Softz Solutions. He manages several domains at the company. Niladri has worked in several companies over a long career that spans 10 years. A Post Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication, Niladri started his career as a journalist. When he is not working or researching, Niladri is often seen planning his next vacation trip or seeing a movie.