13 Oct 2010

Going Local: Social Media Marketing for Local Businesses

If your business depends on local customers, connecting with those area customers is key to the success of your business. Internet marketing affords you many opportunities to make more customers in the markets you serve aware of just what you have to offer. In our new blog series, Going Local, we discuss ways to build awareness of your business using local SEO.

In order to connect with more local customers on the Internet, you need to direct your marketing efforts to where customers are most likely to be online. And, these days, chances are that many of your target customers are using social media. According to a recent Nielsen study, the average Internet user spends nearly 25 percent of their time online on social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter. In addition to helping you promote your business to area customers, social media marketing can grow your online presence, make your business appear more accessible to customers and even boost your website's SEO efforts. The following social media sites are particularly great for cultivating a local following:

Facebook

With 500 million (and growing) users, Facebook is one of the most visited websites on the Internet. Its members include people of all ages, races, ethnicities and income levels. In this day and age, having a presence on Facebook is becoming necessary to compete with other businesses. Set up a customized Facebook page for your business to reach more customers in the areas you're trying to target.

Twitter

Like Facebook, Twitter is growing in popularity among a diverse range of people all over the world. Having a Twitter page allows you to share short, timely updates with current and potential customers, including those in your area.

MerchantCircle

At first glance, MerchantCircle may seem like a slightly kicked up version of an online yellow pages. But MerchantCircle can offer so much more than a simple phone book listing. By claiming their MerchantCircle listing, businesses can customize their listing layout, add links to their website, blog and other social media sites, post pictures and even connect with customers and other local businesses.

Yelp

Particularly in big cities, this review and check-in site is very fashionable among savvy, early-adopting consumers. More and more customers are turning to Yelp to help research area businesses – from restaurants and clothing boutiques to auto mechanics and lawyers. If your business is already listed on Yelp, go ahead and claim it if you haven't already. By claiming your business, you can not only respond to customer reviews both publicly and privately, but add descriptions, about us statements, photos and other informative content.

Groupon

Groupon offers a great opportunity for businesses of all sizes to promote their business in a way that gets customers' attention – with coupons. Every day, Groupon features a customized deal from a business (i.e. $25 for $50 worth of food) in each one of its major markets. In order to take advantage of that coupon at a later date, customers must purchase that coupon for its face value in advance. But the deal is only valid if a pre-determined minimum of customers purchase the coupon. Otherwise, customers are refunded their money. By being featured on Groupon, businesses with successful deals not only receive revenue upfront, but it's a great way to inform local customers about your business.

If you're part of an organization that thrives on the patronage of local customers and would like to find out more about how social media marketing can positively impact you business, contact us at CyberMark. We can custom-design a social media strategy for your business that will help you connect with more area customers.

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