How to Connect with Local Customers Via Social Media

By Sarah Giometti | Business

Dec 28

So you have a local business. The kind of business where people can walk in and get a cup of coffee, or a haircut, or a custom made saddle. Yes, people still buy custom made saddles. They also buy spurs and ropes. But that’s better off being the subject of somebody else’s blog. The point here is that you’ve got a business and you like it when people come in and put you to work.

There are lots of ways to get people in the door of your business; foot traffic, referrals, advertising, flyers, sky writing, social media or smoke signals. To name a few. While foot traffic and referrals are often very important to local businesses, social media has become the local business marketing darling. People have poured mountains of money at social media just to get the same results they got before the internet even became an idea. So what’s the problem?

The problem is that most business owners fall in love with the technology of automated marketing and forget what social media was initially intended to do; to get people to interact even more. It is a poor strategy to simply build a Facebook page and hope that people will just start lining up for new lassos. Social media requires interaction! How about posting some videos of how to use a lasso? Or hosting a fastest lasso in the west contest!

Moreover, social media requires the right interaction with the right people. It would be a poor marketing strategy to sell ten gallon hats at a wedding boutique in Los Angeles. Similarly, there are different types of social media platforms that appeal to different people.

While Facebook is the biggest hog on the farm, easily dominating the competition in terms of users, there are other platforms that could prove far more lucrative to your kind of business. Make sure you’re using the right platform for your target market.

Once you’ve chosen the platform you feel best represents your target clients, then you’ve got to jump in with both feet. Make sure you’re participating in a way that your target market finds engaging. Social media is not a place for continually selling your products. You’ve got to become a member of the community and you do that by posting videos, commenting on others’ posts, and hosting events.

Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or whatever, make sure to check out all of the tools they provide and put them to use. Encourage people to do check-ins when they show up at your place. Boost your posts, make sure you’re consistent with posting, and make sure your posts are relevant to what your clients want. Some cowboys like chaps and some don’t. You can use Twitter lists to segment your followers by what they are specifically interested in and make posts accordingly. Whatever you do, make sure you’re consistent. Don’t give up!

As with any subject, social media can get more and more complex the deeper you look into it. If you’re overwhelmed you may want to have an expert help you with it. Otherwise, pull your boots up tight, because the topic of social media and how to use it can get pretty deep. Stay friendly and stay connected and you can stay on top of this very powerful marketing machine.

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