While larger brands rely on Facebook for national exposure and brand visibility, local businesses have another way to tap into this platform. As a small business owner, you have direct access to your most loyal target audience and prospective customer base (already intrigued by you with the stamp of approval from their friends) that may just be a few miles up the road. However, in order to reap the benefits of your local people, you need to know how to reach them, with some Facebook marketing tips you can use.
Take Center Stage
In her Social Media Examiner article “How to Reach More Local Customers With Facebook,” Ana Gotter discusses how important the local connection can be to the strength and growth of your local business, especially if your organization is aiming for organic reach over paid advertising pay-for-play. She breaks it down into four key areas, outlined and summarized below.
Embrace Dark Posts
What in the world is a “dark post” exactly? While it sounds ominous, the author says this great Facebook tool is underutilized by many businesses. Dark posts are only shown to local audiences that can actually execute the call to action. For example, if you were having an in-store sale, a coupon code would only be shown to the local people that can come in and claim it. In other words, it’s an online strategy that can translate into foot traffic if that’s what you are aiming for.
To put this into place, access the Power Editor, click Page Posts, and click the Create Post button to establish these dark “unpublished” posts. These posts can be in various forms such as a status update, an image or video post, or an offer.
If you have multiple locations, create separate dark posts to reach all your specific target audience groups. If you are trying to better understand what your local people respond to the most, dark post split testing can shed some light.
When your business has a Facebook page, people can “check in” to signify their visit. Suddenly, friends of your customer (sometimes people that were completely unaware of your organization) are interested in this visit. If it’s good enough for their friend that they respect, it is worthwhile to consider a visit or a purchase, right?
Customers can also elaborate on this check-in by highlighting the purpose, such as having a great meal, or taking advantage of a spectacular sale on a service or product that improves their life.
Since check-ins are a fantastic modern day version of word of mouth advertising, encourage your loyal customers to make their visits known to their family and friends online. If you need help to move that dial, make a public check-in be the official entry of a great giveaway or irresistible discount, and promote it in your business with prominent signage.
Use Beacon to Boost In-Store Engagement
If you operate a brick and mortar location, consider putting Facebook’s Bluetooth beacon (similar to a Wi-Fi router) in your business. When people walk by or come into your business (and they are already on Facebook), they will receive some valuable information about your business, including a welcome note or an exclusive discount/gift that will seal the deal on not only a visit, but also increase the likelihood of a purchase. These “Place Tips” are ideal spots to build your community, pulling together customer reviews and photos. Plus, if you make this area worthwhile to customers, people will be excited (and motivated!) to spread the word to their local networks of contacts.
Embrace Local Facebook Groups
Since local Facebook is all about connections, widen your net and join local Facebook groups that are relevant to your business. As an established part of the community, you can better understand the people that live in it and what they need. The best way to get started with this is to click “Discover Groups” on the navigation bar next to the news feed and select the right location, and join the groups that best align with your company and mission.
Bear in mind that local group inclusion is not the spot for self-promotion. If you are going to post in these groups, make sure it’s relevant and helpful to what people are talking about and requesting. Trust and credibility will be inevitable if you successfully position your brand as a resource, not as a sales pitch.
How Has Facebook Marketing Worked for You?
Did organic outreach get you the results that you wanted or did you also need to pair this approach with paid and targeted Facebook advertising? Did you find the perfect outcome with a mix of both?
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