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One of the most overused and misunderstood terms in retail marketing today is “Local Store Marketing”. The term was typically used in conjunction with tactical programs like sponsoring a little league baseball team or cross couponing with another retailer or buying local radio.
If you operate a local or regional franchise, be it a restaurant or a car wash or in-home senior care business and you are not managing your social and digital marketing carefully, you are missing the most impactful source of local customer acquisition. You are also putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage because it is highly likely that your local competitors are already there and having regular contact with your customers or prospects. Today’s Local Store Marketing is “Social” Store Marketing. By engaging with the local community on social media, you actually develop a team of “free” marketers. Your customers and suppliers become your marketing department.
I’m no expert but you don’t have to be one to figure out that using social media costs next to nothing and can make a huge difference to your business. Below are some “how to use it” suggestions.
- Do a little homework and determine which platforms make the most sense for your brand. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are all viable social media platforms but they each skew to different demographics and lifestyles. Research which platforms your competitors are using and how active are they on those platforms if you aren’t sure where to start.
- Setup social media accounts and engage with your competitors’ followers (your prospects) whenever possible.
- Share relevant content from partners, clients and colleagues on your social media accounts. Do NOT just talk about yourself.
- Engage with others. Like/Follow your suppliers, partners, clients and colleagues and then Like/Comment on their posts whenever possible. Be generous by sharing and tagging/mentioning OTHER businesses in your posts, and let them know you have shared their content. Sharing is caring on social media.
- Ask customers and friends to Follow you and Tag you on social media posts.
- Check your social media accounts at least once a day and respond to all Comments/Reviews/Queries. Don’t let either positive or negative feedback go unanswered. Say thank you or say you will fix it.*
One question you might ask is how can the worldwide web be local? Well think of it this way, the worldwide part is not local but the web part is. It’s the web of users that “localizes” Facebook or LinkedIn and the other platforms, and to the extent that these users are connected by your product or location, it constitutes a local exchange of impressions, ideas, product offers and comments on your specific business. What could be more local than that? And, by-the-way, you get exposure to the rest of the planet for free.
So, don’t kid yourself, engaging customers and prospects on social media should be the cornerstone of your local marketing plan. Or, said another way, reaching your customers and prospects, wherever they may be, through Social Store Marketing.
*Thanks to Melissa at SocialSolved.net for help on the list.