Local marketing isn’t just about search. Customers also turn to social media to find out about nearby businesses.
People trust word-of-mouth and recommendations from family and friends, which makes social networks and review sites incredibly valuable to your local marketing efforts. Desktop and mobile accessible apps like Facebook, Foursquare and Yelp! allow customers to quickly see what their social connections and other customers have to say about a business. This makes them incredibly valuable.
Here are some tips for using these three networks better:
1) Facebook’s new Graph Search feature allows users to search for businesses according to both location and friends’ recommendations. For example: “Restaurants in Manhattan my friends have been to” or “Bike shops in Seattle my friends like.”
Search results are based on how many people within a searcher’s social graph already “like” your business, as well as how much engagement your posts generate. Cultivate your fan base with engaging content to help search results. Keep your brand page on Facebook updated with relevant information and categorized correctly. Are you an architecture firm? Landscaping business? Specify it.
2) Foursquare allows users to find, check into and rate local businesses. Keep Foursquare users engaged by sharing offers and tips that they can amplify with their network.
Try different offers on different days, occasions and for “milestone” check-ins to keep customers coming back. Offer rewards for the most checked-in “Mayor” of your business and consider soliciting feedback from your most loyal patrons.
3) Yelp! and other online review sites like TripAdvisor are crucial for location-based businesses. “Claim” your business profiles on these sites to verify your information and be responsive.
Try to respond to every new review within 24 hours. Thank customers for their business and attempt to remedy any negative experiences that users share. This encourages repeat business and shows how much you value customers.
Social channels can drive significant new business for location-based businesses. Be present, active and responsive on these networks to grow your fans, your customer base and your bottom line.
Social and mobile are just two elements of local marketing. For complete success, download the Where It’s At guide to local marketing from Vocus. It combines social, search, email, PR and more for incredible results. Download it free here!