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Why should you invest time and money in social media marketing for your local business? You could be missing out on a sizable audience if you don’t.

Statista reports that the number of Facebook users in the U.S. (as of July 2021) has reached a whopping 302 million, and this number will keep growing exponentially in the foreseeable future.

Combine this with the fact that the overall U.S. population is around 334 million, and you can derive that virtually two in three U.S. citizens are actively using Facebook.

This social media platform and others like it can help you substantially grow your local business… if you do it right.

So how exactly can your business and specifically its local search presence benefit from being present on social media channels?

Before you decide whether you’re ready to dive into the world of social media marketing, let’s dive a bit deeper into why you should.

Why Local Businesses Should Invest Time & Money In Social Media Marketing

We know that social media is not a search ranking factor. However, there are plenty of indirect ways that social media supports SEO.

Adding even more marketing tasks might seem a bit like overkill.

However, neglecting to incorporate social media into your marketing plan can cost you – not just in terms of new potential customers who don’t know you but also in terms of retaining your existing customers.

And make no mistake, your competitors are out there sniffing around and happy to have them.

By building a relationship with your clients, your chances of retaining them increase, and so does their potential lifetime value.

Now let these other compelling arguments convince you even more.

“Hey, Does Anyone Know A Good…?”

Folks on social are constantly asking their friends for recommendations for almost everything, ranging from local restaurants to car repairing services.

Social media platforms (as the marketing machines that they are) can help you be a part of these conversations.

Facebook Recommendations

For example, Facebook allows users to tag their favorite brands when they want to promote them.

Besides, when uploading a photo of yourself in a shop, hotel, amusement park, car dealership, etc., you can tag the exact location where the photo has been taken.

Here’s a quick example of Facebook recommendations in action:

A quick example of Facebook recommendations in action.
Screenshot was taken by the author, January 2022

See the name of the brand in the photo caption?

This is exactly the reason why it is so important to have a Facebook Business page and update it with fresh company information regularly.

Related: This Is Why Word-of-Mouth Referrals Should Be Your Number One Metric of Success

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It also won’t hurt to switch on the customer testimonials feature and consistently keep in touch with followers.

Is there a single right way to fill in the company info on Facebook?

Not really, but following these recommendations could help you get started.

  • Contact information (phone number, address, email address).
  • Open hours.
  • Website.
  • Price range (important if you own a brick-and-mortar store, a restaurant, a cafe, etc.).

Facebook also recommends adding a little story of your brand – it helps form a deeper connection with customers.

How much information should you add?

Not too much; it shouldn’t be an essay. In fact, take a look at Sugar Hill Creamery, an ice cream parlor in Harlem:

Sugar Hill Creamery Facebook Page.
Screenshot was taken by the author, January 2022

As you can see, there’s just enough information to introduce the brand and not overwhelm page visitors.

“Worst Service Ever!”

Even if you aren’t active on social media, people will talk about your business.

Customers share their feedback, good and bad, and you need to be aware of it.

  • If it’s good, great! You can capitalize on that satisfied customer by leveraging their praise to get more clients or have your happy ones come back for more.
  • If it’s bad, great! You can control the conversation by showing your excellent customer service skills. Turn the grumpy complainer into a blazing fan by really listening to their issue and solving it.

It usually isn’t about making a mistake – mistakes are inevitable for any business.

Really, it’s about how you correct it.

And a bonus? You learn more about what your customers really think and improve your business accordingly.

Know what happens when you aren’t there?

Complaints go viral, and your competitor offers to help out your customer – because they were listening.

Cut Your Ad Costs By Switching To Local Advertising

Social media platforms were not built for their users but for advertisers.

Location is one of the many specific demographic aspects you can target your ads on.

If you laser target your ads on the people who are based in your area, their interests, and some other demographic details, you will achieve the highest customer potential with the lowest costs.

Furthermore, by tweaking the targeting and the content of your ads, you learn more about ideal leads than any survey can tell you for a fraction of the cost!

And what if you don’t use these ads’ features? You keep firing aimlessly while your competition targets the golden nuggets.

Remarketing is another option to consider.

Let’s say a person visited your website but didn’t purchase anything.

Don’t fret just yet – by adding a Facebook Pixel (a feature in Facebook Ads) you can retarget such visitors with branded ads based on the product/service pages they’ve checked on your website.

Let The Fans Speak For You

Social media marketing lends itself perfectly to building a passionate community around your brand.

There’s no better way to encourage people to promote you than to help them to connect with like-minded people.

This is more than just owning the conversations around your products or services.

You’re also creating long-term relationships with and between customers.

Happy customers will take care of word-of-mouth marketing for you – and even part of your customer service.

Also, they will come back to you for more business. Again and again.

Some Ideas To Illustrate Community Building

Suppose you own a shop in craft supplies and want to become more visible to potential buyers.

You could showcase finished projects from your customers on Pinterest and Facebook and invite people to ask questions and tips from the makers.

This will get the ball rolling in people sharing their crafty accomplishments, struggles, and dreams all around your products!

Another great example is building a community around detoxing and weight loss for a local juice bar.

People can inspire and support each other in their health goals, while you can share the latest juice recipes and congratulate everyone on their progress.

You might organize meetups in your bar, before or after workouts. All done quite easily with the functionality social media provides you.

It’s also an awesome idea to unite people around an important cause.

Take a look at Coffee Project New York. It organized an exhibition encouraging donations which will then be sent to help build direct water pipelines in Ethiopia:

Coffee Project New York posted an event update on its Facebook Page.
Screenshot was taken by the author, January 2022

So, if you don’t have a community, you are definitely missing out on establishing yourself as a strong brand with fairly low-cost effort.

A community is an asset that will pay for your investment in it many times over.
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Easy Promotion Of New Products & Services

While spreading the news about new products and services through traditional local channels still has its merits, getting the word out through social media can give your campaign a huge boost.

Through social advertising, your community, and your own page, you have several options to “show what you’ve got.” And you can do this with images, text, and video.

It’s amazing when you can actually show your product in action from all angles!

Moreover, you can let your fans spread the news for you. If you have shareable content, they will pass it on.

If you have followers that are raving about your new thing, let their positive reviews shine!

The more their love for you gets the spotlight, the more attractive you will be for others.

Not using social media marketing for your new products? Then you’re giving your customers a very limited experience in getting a taste of what’s to come.

Free Mass Publicity

Throughout this article, you might have been rolling your eyes, thinking: “Does this mean I have to spend all my time reacting to everyone on social?”

I hear you. And no, you don’t.

Though you should pay attention to what your customers tell you about their experience, you don’t have to bend over backward for every voice out there.

Some social influencers have become so accustomed to companies quivering in their boots for any negative tweet or post. They assume they are all-powerful.

However, if you remain authentic, open in your communication, and use a bit of clever banter, you will often find yourself on the winning side of things.

People are getting quite fed up with spoiled insta celebs and will gather behind you.

And if you get lucky (or is it luck if you play it smart?) – you can end up being featured in the mass media.

CVT Soft Serve vs. Influencers

A great example of this is a “beef” between CVT Soft Serve ice cream cafe and influencers trying to encourage the brand to give them free stuff in exchange for promotions.

Basically, Joe Nicchi, the owner of this business, got so tired of self-proclaimed celebs asking him for free ice cream that he had to introduce a so-called ‘special offer’:

Joe Nicchi of CVT Soft Serve versus influencers.Screenshot taken by author, January 2022

Joe decided to charge influencers twice to punish them for their blatant behavior.

And you can’t say his followers did not support him:

Joe's followers supporting him.Screenshot taken by author, January 2022

It’s an awesome example of how people can rally to a brand’s defense, especially considering that CVT’s owner has the right to be mad in this situation.

Alexandra Tachalova

Article by Alexandra Tachalova who has worked in digital marketing for over six years. She is a digital marketing consultant, helping digital businesses to open new markets and boost sales. Alexandra is a frequent speaker, and Founder of the online digital marketing event DigitalOlympus.net.