This post is a template for a social media plan for a local Business to Consumer (B2C) business.
In it we’ll use the example of a local plumbing business, but this plan could easily be adapted for any of the following local B2C services:
- Heating Engineer
- Kitchen Installer
- Carpet Installer
- Property Management
- Dry cleaning
- Driving Instructor
- Interior Design
This post is actually an excerpt from our book ‘The Lazy Website Syndrome’ so if you’re interested you can get a free copy of it.
The thing is that social media is vitally important for local businesses. It’s like the new ‘word of mouth’ medium. People listen to their friends and contacts and that’s happening more and more on social media.
But in my experience most local businesses are a bit hit and miss when it comes to social media. They think it’s a questions of just keep asking people for likes or tweets or whatever.
But social media is really powerful and comes into its own when you start to post great content. As you’ll see below in our example this could be in the form of videos posted to a blog.
These don’t have to be amazing videos with professional lighting, sound and editing. They’re just useful, short videos that show that you are an expert in your field.
I hope you find it useful and as always we welcome your feedback. Of course, if you enjoy it, please feel free to share on your favourite social media channel.
Social Media Game Plan For Local B2C Business
As a local business your Social Media Game Plan is to demonstrate your skill, your knowledge and the high quality of your work. Your aim is to become the ’go-to’ person in your community for your particular skill. Central to your success is your ability to generate referrals from satisfied clients.
You will use Social Media to showcase your work, possibly with ‘before and after’ examples using images or video where appropriate. This will allow you to reach out to the friends and contacts of your customers both past and present.
Social Media Plan For A Plumber
I’d like to introduce you to Richard.
Richard runs a local plumbing service. He specializes in plumbing, drainage and heating to householders in his local town. He is courteous and helpful and he has a faithful set of customers who trust him to deliver value for money services.
He never overcharges and he is always polite and punctual. If he is delayed for an appointment he always makes a point of calling as soon as possible to avoid keeping his customers waiting.
As well as plumbing related issues, Richard is often asked whether he can help in other areas ranging from electrical issues to painting, guttering and general building work. Knowing that his reputation for excellent service is on the line, Richard has been careful to choose who he recommends.
He has a group of partners who he knows that he can recommend without fear of them delivering anything other than to his own high standards.
His partners, in return provide a steady stream of new customers as they refer their customers to him whenever the occasion arises.
Whilst not being a ‘techie’ as such, Richard is not blind to the opportunities that the internet can offer him. He has had a basic website for years and he read a blog post from Pickaweb about the importance of having a company blog and so recently he set up a blog using WordPress.
At first he couldn’t really find much to write about so he thought that he would just stick to what he knew; plumbing and heating.
Basic stuff really but the sort of thing he would do day in day out and which he thought might be useful, such as changing washers, bleeding radiators, cleaning calcium from tubes; that type of thing.
Then one day he decided to use his phone to take a short video of a type of tap fitting that he didn’t often encounter. He wanted to show his plumbing merchant the type of tap he was working on.
The plumbers merchant was impressed and noted that someone had come in the other day from a neighbouring house and they were having all sorts of problems fixing the exact same issue.
Recognising a friend in need, Richard completed the work and took time to film it with his smartphone. Nothing flash, just a two minute video that he knew would save that person hours of problems.
That night, Richard uploaded his video to YouTube – why not, everybody else seems to. It only took a couple of minutes. He called his video ‘How to fix a Crosshead Wall Mounted Bath Filler’.
So he created a quick blog post and wrote a few sentences to describe the issue. In YouTube he also included a link to his blog post under the video.
He also noticed in his blog tool (WordPress) that there was a little YouTube icon, so he followed the instructions and included the video in his blog post. He published it all and sent a quick email to his friend at the plumber’s merchant to show him.
Then a day or so later something curious started to happen. Richard started getting notifications in his email inbox that people were commenting on “How to fix a Crosshead Wall Mounted Bath Filler” on his blog.
“Thanks Richard! You’re a star!” – this was from the plumber’s merchant’s customer.
“Am I glad I found you. You’ve saved me about 3 days of running around!” that was from someone about 200 miles away.
Over the coming weeks, Richard started to receive them from Australia, Canada, the United States, Spain and a few places in between.
He started to respond to them to say thank you.
Then people started to ask Richard for his Facebook Fan Page and did he have any more videos to share?
Richard pretty quickly got the hang of what he soon learned was called “Social Media”, despite considering himself a bit of an ‘accidental blogger’.
He created a Facebook Fan page and kept his contacts up to date with his videos and his useful hints and tips. He would answer questions and he created a Facebook Group dedicated to helping people save money on their household bills.
He continued to make videos with his smartphone on everyday issues he would come across during the course of his work. He also started doing short ‘before’ and ‘after’ videos to show how he approached a particular task. He would upload these to his YouTube channel and embed them into his blog posts.
As his blog following grew so did the amount of traffic to his website and he became the most in demand plumber in the area, because he was at the top of loads of different searches in Google.
He also started to ask his clients for reviews and started to get more Google reviews and testimonials. This also helped his Google ranking as well as reassuring potential clients that they were dealing with a reputable and reliable business.
Richard displayed his social media links on his website (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube & Google Plus). He also installed a social media feature so that people could share, like and bookmark his content.
Over time he found that he was also getting leads through LinkedIn from local businesses. They liked what they had seen of him online and they were usually looking for help maintaining their business premises.
It hadn’t really occurred to Richard to focus on offering business services but he soon found that it was a lucrative area to work in.
As the commitments on him grew he realised that he needed help. He used his contacts in LinkedIn to get recommendations for partners to help him serve his needs. He even used it to look for staff as he found that the people he came to know and trust could be relied upon to give him an honest appraisal of a prospective new member of staff or potential partner.
He also found LinkedIn an excellent tool for identifying local business owners and decision makers – the type of people who would be interested in his services.
Of course, as Richard’s reputation grew so did his business. Unfortunately things did go wrong from time to time and he was usually the first to find out via Twitter. He loved the way that he could use Twitter as a supercharged listening post so that he could immediately respond to both praise and criticism from his customers.
Richard’s Social Media strategy is pretty simple really: create a blog, post useful stuff including videos and generally demonstrate expertise.
And if you run a local business you too can use exactly the same approach.
Central to all of your efforts are creating great content that is useful to your audience and posting it to your blog which is the centrepiece of your social media efforts.
So are you using any of these approaches? Do you have a blog and what’s the social media plan for your local business – share it with us below.