Social Strategies for Local Business Owners
1. Update the Bio/About Section
Local business owners should pay special attention to the bio/about section on their social profiles because this valuable real estate can impact consumers’ decisions to follow or like a brand. Moreover, this section enables businesses to showcase their establishment’s hours of operation, address and contact info, which is both convenient and helpful for local customers.
Google+ and Facebook are especially important because of their impact on search results. Information from a business’s Google+ Page, for example, is displayed in relevant searches conducted on Google. Conversely, Facebook’s Graph Search functionality displays information from Pages’ about section in relevant searches conducted on the social network, including natural language searches like “restaurants near me” (see image below).
2. Ask for Actions
Actions like check-ins, retweets, shares and likes increase a company’s organic visibility on the social Web, so it is not a bad idea to ask audiences for these actions every once in a while. That said, it is important that a brand doesn’t overdo these requests, as doing so can annoy customers.
It is important to note that local businesses can ask for actions like retweets and shares within their posts, as well as display check-in reminders inside their brick-and-mortar stores. These reminders can even include incentives, such as a 15 percent discount on purchases for consumers that check in on Facebook during their visit. In addition to increasing a business’s visibility, actions such as check-ins, likes and reviews are displayed on Facebook Pages and likely have an impact on Pages’ rankings in Graph Search results.
3. Foster a Community
Businesses can use Facebook’s Group and Event features to foster a community of local customers on the social network. Groups can be kept private or open to the public, and provide a direct communication channel for businesses to interact with their audience members. Plus, companies can create and promote events for the local community on Facebook, which is a great way to drive foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores and create buzz among local customers.
Similarly, Google+ offers a “Communities” feature that enables businesses to participate in Hangouts (video chats) with community members and create local events. These features can be leveraged to help business owners foster better relationships with local customers both online and offline.
4. Use Hashtags
Hashtags can help any business increase its organic reach on most social networks. To increase visibility with a local audience, however, businesses should use location-based hashtags, such as #chicago, #sanfrancisco or #miami.
Take Frank’s Bar for example. The establishment used the city hashtag #Chicago as well as the more specific neighborhood hashtag #LincolnPark to increase its visibility with locals who search for the hashtags on Twitter. In addition, Frank’s Bar used these hashtags during a time when Chicago was trending online, right after the Blackhawks won this year’s Stanley Cup.
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