When it comes to social media, local businesses have a huge opportunity, and yet so many of them aren’t grabbing it.
Instead of using social media to increase the awareness of their brand, get more visitors to visit their website, and build a group of local (and loyal) customers, they are trying to focus on the same strategies that the big brands do.
That’s a huge mistake.
One of the great benefits of being a local business is that a brand can employ a strategy that can really set them apart.
The key is understanding how to do it.
Here, we’ll look at five of the biggest mistakes local businesses are making that are sabotaging any social media gains over the long run, plus how to fix them.
Mistake #1. Not Responding to Customers
With a local business, reputation is everything.
Most consumers immediately go online to find information. That means everything from reading reviews, to daily hours.
In fact, in a survey by Search Engine Watch, they found that 85% of respondents look to the Internet to find local businesses. And what’s more, another 85% of consumers in that same survey cited how they read reviews for local businesses.
So, it should be pretty obvious that if your brand is not communicating with customers online, other consumers are going to notice, and maybe not in a good way.
Solve that by actively engaging with the customers and consumers who connect with you on social media. It’s a best practice to really focus on this on a daily basis, start your day by dedicating 10 to 20 minutes to responding to every single person who has messaged you, mentioned you, or posted on your channels.
Offering Social Media customer service can make an immediate impact, and start building brand loyalty.
Mistake #2. Spreading Too Thinly
Let’s face it, the vast majority of local businesses are small brands with limited time and resources. Yet, they try to be everywhere online.
They’ve got Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn sites, and Instagram posts. Unfortunately, most of these social media channels typically look pretty barren.
Because the brand has spread themselves way too thin.
Now, this might seem like the opposite of conventional wisdom to you, but a really important key to success for a local business is to focus efforts on the social media channel that is going to put you in the best position to connect with your customers.
For some that will be Twitter, some will be LinkedIn and others Instagram. It will be different depending on your customer base, for most business to consumer (B2C) brands, the most successful channel is Facebook.
As your brand awareness grows, you can begin to spread out to other channels.
The key is to commit to putting out lots of great content and building up engagement and interaction with your customers and potential consumers on the one channel that will give you the best return on your time and energy.
Mistake #3. Inconsistent Posting
It’s very difficult to build a solid brand awareness if you aren’t ever posting to social media, or posting updates on an inconsistent basis.
Don’t let your Facebook page be a dead zone, or worse, a forgotten zone, with posts that are months or even years old.
Remember that stat from above, people are looking online to find information about local businesses, so even if they aren’t directly looking for a social media account, you better be sure most of those people are going to take a look, and a dead page is not good.
Now, that’s not to say you have to post 6 times a day, you might only post twice a week, but it’s very important to do it consistently. Use your social media analytics to determine when your consumers are online and schedule your posts for those times.
Here’s an example for Facebook:
Find the time that provides you with the most consumer engagement and stick to that schedule.’
Mistake #4. Ignoring Paid Advertising
As opposed to traditional marketing and Google Pay Per Click, Social Media paid advertising on social media is still very cheap and quite effective.
For the brands that are on sites like Facebook, there is a huge opportunity to create incredibly targeted ads that speak directly to your ideal consumer. Local businesses should really be embracing paid advertising, because it’s so much easier to get content to their customers.
Unfortunately, many are not.
Don’t let the opportunity to use paid advertising pass you by.
The great thing about it is that it’s very easy to test and see what works without breaking your marketing budget. You can create ads for as little as £5 and try them out, refining your approach as you see more success running ads and getting more quality leads.
Mistake #5. Only Sharing Your Content
Another big trap a lot of local brands fall into on social media is only sharing their own content. When you bombard your followers with your latest sale or promotion, chances are you’re going to actually turn more people off than make more sales.
Instead, remember to take a social approach. Local business are at a great advantage when it comes to sharing varied content, because they can really tap into all sorts of content that will appeal to local customers.
- Local professional or college sports teams
- Local college or university events
- Local area events (i.e. parades or festivals)
- Blog posts from other complementary local brands
- Local news stories
Mix this type of content in with your own content, including your sales and promotions.
You’re going to get a much higher level of engagement when you focus on content that interests, entertains, and educates your potential customers. Highlighting content that already has an appeal because of that local connection is a great way to start.
Chances are your business has been making at least one (if not a few) of these mistakes in your social media marketing strategy.
Now you know exactly how to fix the mistakes you’ve been making and avoid any of those that you haven’t.
By focusing in on an engaging, fun, and consistent social media campaign you can really begin to expand your local brand awareness and start driving those potential customers to your website.