Why Every Local Business Needs a Social Media Presence
Like the old-school practice of public relations, social media marketing is not just another direct sales tactic, but rather a means of first building a positive rapport for your brand among prospective customers that will in turn lead to increased sales.
Local businesses of every size and industry sector are successfully using social media marketing to promote and grow their brand. Here’s a look at some of the most important reasons for adding social media to your local business marketing plan.
Social Media Gets You Where Your Customers Are
If you want to talk to prospective customers, you need to be reaching out wherever they are, and increasingly that means social media.
- Facebook is now the world’s second most visited website, with almost 2 billion visits every week.
- Visitors spend on average more than 400 minutes per month on Facebook, almost twice the time they spend with Google-search websites.
Social Media Helps Build Customer Relationships
By adding social media to your marketing mix, you open up a two-way communications channel with both current and prospective customers.
- By commenting on customer posts and engaging in the conversations, you demonstrate how much their opinions and ideas are valued.
- Those opinions and ideas can provide you with valuable insight into how your company and products are being viewed and what changes or improvements need to be made.
Social Media Can Improve Your Search Engine Rankings
- Google as well as other search engines are tracking your overall social presence, including the number of “likes” and “shares” that your content is attracting.
- Google+ is one of the newest social media channels, and is being integrated with Google Local. If local search is important to your business, you simply can’t afford to ignore social media anymore, especially Google+.
Social Media Helps Build a Positive Online Reputation
With an estimated 85 percent of consumers reading online reviews of local businesses prior to making a purchase decision, a positive online reputation has become a critical factor in successful local business marketing.
- By actively engaging with your customers, you have the opportunity to address problems and concerns before they take the shape of a negative review.
- The more social shares that are being indexed and ranked, the easier it is to “water down” negative reviews.
Social Media Can Spotlight Special Offers and Deals
While social media is not geared toward hard-sell marketing tactics, it can be used sparingly to promote special offers and deals.
- Special offers and coupons can be promoted directly on your social posts or linked to your website.
- Keep the 80/20 rule in mind: 80 percent of your content should be interesting and informative content about your industry or community, with no more than 20 percent devoted to advertisements to buy something.
Social Media Can Give You a Competitive Advantage
- If your completion is already using social media, you may need to get involved just to stay competitive.
- If your competition is not using social media, you have the opportunity to beat them to the punch with a solid social media presence.