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How to Get Started with a Local Social Media Strategy
Posted on March 13th 2014
The reason that social media is becoming such a prominent marketing tool is easy—it appeals straight to the public. Social media is something that consumers can understand and work with, so it’s easy to search on social media networks and connect with companies.
However, social media strategies for many small businesses are focused on the company as a whole, but this isn’t always the best move. Your company may have different franchises or many different services to offer, so it can be tough to understand how social media fits into the picture. You work to gain local SEO results, so why not work to gain local social media results?
Why Social Media Should Get Local
Having a local approach to social media can certainly be time consuming, but there are quite a few reasons why this might be a good option for some companies:
- Your content can be more relevant.
Having a local approach to social media will help make sure that your content is incredibly relevant to each and every member of your audience. If there is something going on in the community, tweet about it; if there is something that may only be related to one of your services, only tweet that out to those following that account. People see what they want to see, and everyone is happy.
- You can make stronger connections.
You will be able to make connections with those in a local community, which can help improve your relationship. People will know that they are speaking with someone who is nearby and understands what’s going on in that community, which can be comforting and therefore help your company gain business.
- It’s easier to offer short coupons and/or promotions.
Piggy-backing off of the first point about content, if you have specials and promotions at a certain location (maybe to celebrate something), then having your own social media accounts will allow you to really promote them. This also goes for any special announcements or upcoming new products.
How you go about creating a local social media approach is something that will take some time, but in the end the benefits are worth it. It doesn’t cost any extra to create a local approach, just a little bit more organization.
How To Start Moving Toward a Local Approach
A local social media approach works best for medium sized companies. You don’t want your strategy to become to confusing, yet you want to have enough content to fill up different social media accounts. If you haven’t figured it out already, the most popular way this is done is by having different social media accounts for different locations. The way it works is this:
- The big three. Usually companies only employ this strategy with Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. LinkedIn usually works just fine with one account. By keeping your separate accounts to these three networks, you have better control and less confusion.
- Buttons on the main page. Even if every local business or franchise doesn’t have its own website, you can still put the social media buttons for each social account on the main page. Although you may have five different Twitter buttons, your readers will appreciate having a local option (just make sure each is clearly marked!). I would recommend you only do this if each branch of your company has its own website, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible if that’s not the case for you.
- Have a system. Make sure that each location has one person dedicated to the social media accounts. The CEO of the entire company should have access to all of the accounts, but then you have to decide whether or not it’s best if there are different people working with the different locations accounts or own person controlling all accounts. I typically recommend having one person or one SEO agency be in charge of all accounts in order to stay consistent, but it’s completely up to you. If you do take this route, you can still have employees at each branch send over ideas.
Some companies also don’t focus on individual locations, but actually have different social accounts for different subjects. This doesn’t cater to local as much, but it does help a company segment its audience and provide relevant social media content. Something to consider if you have a medium sized business and aren’t sure if splitting up your audience locally is your best move. I think it works best if you split your social accounts up by location, but it does depend.
When Local Social Media Strategies Might Not Be Your Best Option
In some cases, it is best to keep all of your social media efforts under one roof. In fact, there are a quite a few people out there that would disagree completely with the ideas discussed above, but it really all depends upon the type and size of company you’re operating.
Social media can get confusing, so if your company is very large (more than 100 branches), it might be best to stick with one social media account for the entire company. If your company is too small and only has two braches, it again might be best to keep your accounts together because you won’t have enough content or customers to fill up separate social accounts.
As long as you make it clear where visitors can reach a certain local store or local branch—on an “about” page, under the description section, etc.—you can still be successful even without focusing your accounts on local search and local content.
Does your company have different social accounts or strategies to cater to your local audiences? Let us know your strategy and what works for you in the comments below.
Photo Credit: images.businessweek.com