Social Media for Local Business

Icons of social network over white backgroundA small business that invests its time wisely in Social Media can improve customer (or client) loyalty and word of mouth marketing efforts, as social media is the new word of mouth.

Here are the specific objectives to consider for your Social media campaign.

A. Social Media for local business allows you to be more responsive to your customers.

B. It allows for consumer feedback that you can respond to quickly and effectively than has never happened before social media.

C. Social media allows people to get to know you, like you and trust you. You have the opportunity to share your brand, your personality, your know-how and the passion behind your business.

D. With social media you are able to increase awareness of your product lineup, and provide accurate information about your company.

For local businesses with a storefront, sites like Yelp and Google Places can make a real impact.
These sites allow businesses to create listings with all the necessary information for a consumer to find you, while other customers can review and comment on your business.

These sites will let business owners “claim” their listings and add information, such as phone numbers, store hours, menus, etc.

Consumers use local social networks to find businesses, but also to get social proof when making a buying decision. They use comments and reviews to help them make their decisions.

Because of the search terms used to find these sites people that find them are ready to make buying decisions.
Small businesses can achieve incredible return from local social networks.

Twitter offers instant communication with those who follow you in 140 characters or less. So twitter is short and sweet. Business owners can cater to their consumer’s needs instantaneously. A quick response can be very helpful in retaining a customer.

Twitter makes it easy to share links to more comprehensive content, or just a quick note about a sale or special. Just remember, not to make your tweets always about “buy my stuff”

With Facebook fan pages, you can add and customize a great deal more however, in order to build a Fan Page; you will first need to have a personal page.

Some people make the mistake of building their business on the personal page. This is a sign of unprofessionalism and can get you banned on Facebook. Facebook has provided Fan Pages specifically for business building.

With a business fan page on Facebook, you can reach out to other groups of people. Offer content, answer questions, and build some trust. Soon, people will start coming to your page to see what you are about. That is when you can start to build your own fan base.

The objective of a business fan page should be to update their page to keep consumers informed and engaged. As you advance, you can start to add things like special offers, and Google maps with directions to your business.

These resources offer consumers a reason to visit your Facebook Fan Page. This sets you up to have open interaction with customers and potential customers.

Be sure to include photos and or videos of what is going on in your business. Like new products, events, customer appreciation celebrations, new employees. Statistics are proving that people are attracted to the photos and videos they see on Facebook. This will help you connect even more.

The content that you share on Facebook, can also be shared on all of the other sites, like Twitter, Linkedin and anywhere else you want to be visible.

Some of this can be automated using social media software tools such as
Market Me Suite
Hootsuite
Social Oomph
TwitterFeed
Ping.fm
Gist
TweetBeep
These are just a few examples.

Make sure you fill out your profile on each social media site and include a photo in the avatar. Make each profile on the different social media sites a bit different, don’t just copy and paste. Be sure to use keywords that pertain to your business and pepper them into your profile description.

When most businesses begin a social media campaign, they tend to focus on Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites.
They usually forget to incorporate their own site where they can tie their social profiles together. Think of it as a circle, social sites that bring people to your site and your site leads them to your social properties as well.

With social media you will not only connect with new and existing customers, but if you optimize them correctly, your will rise in the search engines as social media platforms are a very important factor to the search engines today.