7 Ways Social Media Can Boost Local Marketing

Jenny Force Jenny Force, VP of Marketing

Online and offline marketing are no longer separate realms. People take their mobile devices wherever they go. They research products and services online before entering brick and mortar businesses. This is why it’s so important to think in terms of combining offline and online marketing. Social media can be very powerful to promote physical businesses and complement your traditional marketing efforts.

1. Use Facebook and Instagram Ads to Drive In-Store Traffic
Ads on Facebook and Instagram can be used to promote a local business. Target ads to people in your city or region who match your customer profile. You can also publish special coupons that customers redeem in your store, restaurant, or office.

You can encourage customers to book appointments or place orders online in both ads and organic content. This works well for salons, restaurants, or any business where customers need to make appointments. They can also place orders online for items that need to be prepared, such as takeout meals.

2. Publicize Live Events on Facebook
Facebook Events is a powerful way to publicize live events. Here are some tips to get the most out of this feature.

  • When creating your event, be sure to create the event from your business page and not your personal account. Fill in all relevant details such as time, date, location, and description. Be sure to indicate if it’s a free event, which will generally be the case at business-related events.
  • Invite people to your event. You can send out invitations to anyone who followers your page. Facebook also gives you the option to invite people via email or text.
  • Create a few updates about the event even if it’s just to remind people about it. Anyone who has clicked “Interested” or “Attending” will get a notification whenever you post an update.
  • Talk about the event on your page as often as possible.
  • Create an incentive for people to come such as a raffle or contest. Make it clear that people need to attend the event to win.
  • Boost the event with paid ads. This is also a good way to get more followers to your page, whether they attend your event or not.

3. Use Geo-Targeted Ads on Facebook
Geo-targeting lets you reach a local audience for your ads. There are several ways you can use this type of ad to promote your local business. The first step is to choose your audience. You can target people who live in a certain area or everyone who is currently there.

For certain types of businesses, such as a gym or medical practice, your customers are more likely to be permanent residents. For a restaurant or retail store, however, tourists or business travelers are also good prospects. A business such as a rental car agency, which appeals mostly to travelers, can specifically target people who are a certain distance away from home.

You can choose how precisely you want to target your audience. You can target people who are, for example, within 10, 20 or 50 miles from your business. Business Location Targeting lets you target people who are within proximity of your business. This is great for grabbing people who are likely to make impulsive purchases, such as stopping in for a meal or to buy an item.

4. Create an Instagram Business Profile
Many businesses understand the importance of a Google My Business listing, which lets local customers find you. Not as well-known are Instagram Business profiles. While not as vital as Google for local SEO and visibility, it’s still well worth creating your listing. Instagram is a growing platform that’s increasingly relevant for local marketing.

You need an Instagram Business Page to claim your listing. You also need a Facebook business page, which you should have anyway. Make sure your Facebook page is up to date, as Instagram will pull much information, including photos, from this page. This feature is still in beta, so it may not be available for all businesses yet. It’s a good idea, however, to be prepared for it and claim your listing as soon as possible.

5. Tag Your Locations for Local Marketing
It’s important to tag your location when promoting a local business. When posting a photo to Instagram or Facebook, remember to fill in your location, including your city, area, and business name. Use hashtags with your posts to get more local traffic.

Hashtags can help guide people to a specific neighborhood or shopping district. For example, if you have a location in the Mall of America, the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica or any such shopping area, be sure to include a hashtag for this place. Smaller malls and shopping centers are, in some ways, even better because there’s less competition and it’s easier for customers to find you.

6. Post Stories on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat
Stories are ephemeral content that can be useful for promoting your local business on Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat. As with other types of content, be sure to mention and tag your location. Stories give you an opportunity to give people a close-up view of your business and surroundings as well.

If you want to get more engagement for your Stories you can monetize them. Both Facebook and Instagram began offering Story Ads in 2019. As with organic Stories, You can use short videos of up to 15 seconds or combined carousel ads of 45 seconds.

7. Engage With Your Local Audience
Engagement is a two-way street on social media. You want your followers to like, share and comment. However, they’re more likely to do this if you communicate with them as well. This works extremely well for local businesses as you can connect with your customers both on social media and in person.

When posting content for your business, forget that sites such as Facebook are huge, global companies. Remember that you and your customers are also part of a local community. Post helpful information, answer questions and comments. Encourage customers to post their own ideas, photos and other content. This will help you build and solidify customer relationships.

Social Media Helps You Build Your Local Business
Social media is, paradoxically, getting bigger and yet more local all the time. With features such as geo-targeting, it’s now possible to aim your message at a specific audience based on location. Brick and mortar businesses should not overlook the many ways social media marketing can help them connect with their customers.

To discover how Sysomos can help you create a succesfull local social media strategy, get a demonstration today.