Social media marketing tips for local business owners

You have a brick and mortar business, but is something missing? You're chatting up with the locals, hosting events, you're even posting on Instagram. But you know, you're missing something. You're having the case of the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and perhaps the truth is, you're just not being social enough?

It's now just a push of a button and a fingertip away from engaging with your ideal customer. Google has now even begun to use the term Mobile Moments in regards to the consumer's journey across devices. Social media is a 24-hour powerhouse, with users engaged in all hours of the day. There are roughly around 2.1 billion smartphone users.
Mobile Moments

In a recent study, it showed 54% of shoppers are expected to shop in these Mobile Moments (meaning online on their mobile devices). So what can help you target these incredibly tech-savvy consumers? Before we go there, here is a list of how many people are plugged into social media on some of the most popular social media apps, giving you a bird's eye view of the potential reach that a good social media campaign can have on your business:

Instagram with 300 million + users
WhatsApp with 700 million
Facebook messenger has 600 million users
(All of the above owned by Facebook)

And that's just the tip of the iceberg

Read more of Linda's articles on her blog

But how will they know you even exist? There are still apps such as the ever-elusive Snap Chat (Which FB tried to buy out at one point), LinkedIn, Twitter, and honestly, the list goes on and on. This can be a bit intimidating if you're not up to speed with how social media functions and that's why I put together a list that would help you start off on the right track when it comes to reaching the technologically empowered shopper.

11 Social media marketing tips that can help you connect with your audience & take your small business up a notch.

When it comes to posting on social media remember that it's not just about captioning off that perfectly captured filtered image, it's about connection, networking, being socially intelligent and strategic.

1. Brand your Social Media
Stay away from those generic filters. Just because it's easily available doesn't mean it doesn't come with a price. The price of engagement, that is. Branded images allow you to have a distinctive look and appealing brand to those who pop in on your feed. Allowing them to stay a bit longer, convert into a lead and possibly a sale. No one likes murky, dark or blurry vision, why use it on your social feed? A great app to help you edit as easily as pressing a button is the VSCO app which you can download straight to your smartphone. It allows you to make your Instagram pop like it's never done before. Light and Bright are usually a great starting point.
2. Have a blog
This is something I advise all business owners to have because it allows you to have more online visibility, customer loyalty and set you apart from your competitors. You don't have to write up a novel, 250 - 350 characters work great. And you don't have to post every single day! Once a week to every other week is perfectly fine.
How powerful can your blog be?

"Your Google ranking will go up dramatically. Whereas Google and other search engines may take two or three weeks to list your new website in search results, new blog sites and new blog entries are indexed every day. From comments, you will accumulate external links both into and out of your site, and get additional ranking from Google" -via Business Insiders

3. Add Value
Make sure you're adding content that not only jives with your brand but incorporates value to your readers. Done right a blog curated, branded and socially spread the right way can have you hundreds up-to thousands of visits a month. You can easily set one up through your website hosting provider and if you're using Squarespace or Wordpress.org it is nothing but a phone-call or easy set up away.

4. Use Pinterest
Tailwind is a great app that allows you to schedule posts on Pinterest. Pinterest is like Google with images. It's a large index of beautiful digital sticky notes that you can't help but click and read. Pinterest, in a nutshell, is a visual search engine. It's not just for looking up incredibly tasty Christmas cookie recipes or how to decorate your home for the holidays, it's a social media beast! Use it wisely my friends.

5. Design your images
Canva - If you're not already using it you need to. Canva is a graphic designer that you've folded up and placed in your back pocket. If you don't do anything but create pinnable images, it is well worth your time to look into it. Plus canva has a FREE version. With this tool in your back pocket consider making your post pin worthy. Meaning, slap some clickbait on that image!

6. Cross Promote your content
Thank goodness for integration! If cash is King automation in the small business world is Queen. The best way I discovered in cross posting meaning posting one time and it posts just about on every social media channel you are on. Using an app called IFTTT (If This Then That). You can easily cook up recipes that post on Instagram and have your images also showing up on Twitter. Instagram doesn't play nice with Twitter when it comes to posting images. Instagram also integrates and allows you to post on Facebook and Tumblr, but with IFTTT all you would have to do is share it one time without choosing additional options when posting. Zapier & an FB messenger tool called ManyChat are other apps which allow you to automate and stay connected.
7. Use Strategy
With Facebook constantly changing their algorithms, Instagram no longer being what it once was there is a unique way of posting that can help you drive in more traffic to your business and using Apps such as Social Sprout or Hootsuite that can make your life much easier while your social engagement climb. They allow you to post to your Twitter, Facebook group, Facebook page etc. on a schedule. For Facebook, I recommend scheduling post directly onto Facebook as its algorithms are more in favor of a "genuine" post as opposed to a post, posted from an outside app or bot. While using Twitter, go ahead and schedule out those posts straight from your app. Tailwind (used for Pinterest as stated above) can also point toward your Instagram but I recommend having the traffic drive more towards your website.

8. Using Tags
Hashtags are not just to randomly use in a sentence just to look #cool. Used strategically it can help customers and clients better find you. Make sure to include and use Geotags towards your overall location helping those tech-savvy customers find your business and land on that beautifully curated feed you created, making them want to scroll a bit longer and visit in the future. Don't have a brick and mortar? Geotag the city you do business from.

9. Giveaways
Allow you to engage with your audience. A great way to truly use the giveaways to your advantage is by asking your audience not just to comment but to tag a friend in order to enter said giveaway. A bonus is hosting giveaways both on your Facebook business page & Instagram Accounts. If you really want to get techy, FB ads are a great way to place new eyes in front of your business. And since you got the branded images, cool looking #hashtag sentences, what prospect wouldn't you lead towards a very worthy sale. Win-Win.

10. Schedule Posts
In favor of using the latest apps, I recommend building content at least a month in advance, scheduled out around those special moments or promotions you would like your customers or clients to take advantage or be a part of. This allows you to think outside the box, giving you time to be creative and prepare for those amazing turnouts.

11. Be Authentic
People don't want to connect with a "business". They want to connect with real people, with a heart and soul behind those beautifully displaying images and perfect captions. Business is about serving people and sometimes the best way to do that is by being authentic & genuine with your audience. By allowing the consumer to get to know a bit more about your brand identity opens up a deeper relationship and brand loyalty with them. An example of this is by posting campaigns that you care about, local events that your business funds or are a part of and why. This can also help build awareness into the heart of your brand because influence in any capacity is powerful.

And a Bonus Tip

Go LIVE - Videos are the new black. Meaning, in the words of Zoolander, Videos are hot right now. If a consumer were to choose between a business that was using video versus the same type of business who wasn't using video, the consumer would choose the business capitalizing on video visibility hands down. The reason? Brand awareness. There is a deeper connection made with video and a result of higher visibility. In other words, adding a product video on your landing page can increase conversions by 80%. Using tools such as Zoom can help in creating great live videos with just a push of a button.

Alas, if all else fails you can always outsource or hire someone to help you set up your social media the right way for your unique business needs.

Linda Mendible is an ABC11 Influencer who specializes in digital marketing. You can learn more about Linda on her website lindamendible.com.
Related Topics:
businessCommunity Influencers
(Copyright ©2018 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.)