Today social media is a very different animal to the early days where the novelty meant people easily engaged with businesses through the like of Facebook and Twitter.
What Business Wants Hasn’t Changed
The bottom line is we still want more business, BUT the tools have changed as have the people using them. Also, there are more tools than ever to choose from and technology is enabling some amazing capabilities for the larger companies, which to some degree places us back where we were before the internet where the big companies won because of budget . . .
Except Local Has Changed
Google has changed local online marketing and its latest iteration Google My Business is the platform all local businesses need to tap into.
Facebook, Twitter and Other Social Media Tools
They all started out as great tools for businesses to reach out, but in the early days businesses didn’t understand the platforms and how they were being used, so they just blasted out the standard sales messages “Sale On” “up to 50% Off” which was the equivalent of walking in to your local pub and doing the same thing – people got irritated.
Businesses Had to Change
The social channels started implementing rules about ads and how they looked and over time we learnt that you couldn’t talk to someone on a social channel in the same way as you could in store or on your website.
Do We Need Social Media to Promote Our Business?
Yes and no! It depends on your business, for instance a hair salon should use Facebook because its all about pictures and video. Their public spend time looking on these channels, so placing content in front of a targeted audience works.
But if you’re a local plumber, you have to weigh up the time needed to post content versus the return especially when there’s near zero reach, so if you haven’t built a following no one will see the content anyway.
So, in this case getting your website listed high on page one, using Google My Business and Google Ads are all more applicable solutions.
What are Your Target Customers Looking For?
Someone who’s in the market for a solution will search Google not social media, so we all know being on page one of Google for a given service or product locally will see you get more attention or clicks, which you then need to convert.
The Click is Just the Start
One salesman can talk to a lot of people and close few and he’ll say things like “they’re not ready to buy”, whereas a good salesman will close lots of sales.
It’s the same online, if you generate traffic but don’t sell or close them, someone (your competition) else will get the business.
Service Matters More Than Ever
It’s possible to leave reviews for your business all over the web and today when someone’s looking to purchase locally, business reviews are going to play a part in the choice.
How to Use Your Competitions Reviews to Grow Your Business
If you have a local business, read reviews for your competition and see what people are saying. This will tell you two key things that you can use:
- What people don’t like – avoid this – can be used as a “We don’t do” in your marketing
- What people really like – do or provide this and include it in your marketing
Google My Business listing
If you’ve not already done so make sure you claim your listing and if you don’t have a listing create one. Next make sure you’ve filled out as much information as possible, ensuring address, opening times etc. are the same on your website and any other directories your listed on.
Most Important Listing for Local Business
This platform is the most important platform for a local business to be listed on. Optimising and tracking should also be set-up, so if anyone clicks from your listing you can see this traffic in Google analytics.
Cutting to the Chase About Social Media for Local Business
There isn’t a one answer fits all, but a few points to consider would be:
- If you’re very local and offer a trade service such as Electrician to the consumer, other than Google My Business there’s little benefit to investing time and money in social media.
- If you’re as point 1. above but want to start reaching further afield than your immediate local area it could help with brand awareness.
- If yourB2B, business to business and very localised LinkedIn would be the only other channel
- If your B2B and have a larger area of reach then you may want to add Twitter to help promote content.
- If you are in a creative field such as fashion and beauty, social media will play a part no matter what.
These are just general pointers, but the bottom line is each case has to be judged on its own objectives which consider:
- Area covered
- Growth required
- Value of product or service
- Volume of potential prospects in your target area
If you want any help deciding what you should be doing contact us for a free no obligation chat or take a look at how we help local businesses get ranked.
Mark always has an eye for the future and regularly helps customers uncover opportunity. He’s been involved in the development of several unique products which have gone on to sell millions in the food and DIY sectors. He was also heavily involved in helping to grow one of the UK’s top label printing companies. A good understanding of the fundamental building blocks of business and an ability to see an opportunity, has made it easy for Mark to evolve the business from its humble social media beginnings to the Internet Marketing Agency it is today and will be tomorrow. A short time spent talking to Mark and you are left in no doubt about his enthusiasm for the subject.