Social Media Advertising for Service Brands, Part 2: Going Local
Last month we focused on the most important element for growing your business through social media marketing: paid ads targeted to new potential customers.
Today let’s revisit organic posts. While these posts won’t reach people who are not already following your business, these "free" posts can build your reputation in your local community in the eyes of your followers. Providing local content those followers will want to share with their friends and family on Facebook can help. And that’s the key to making "shareable" posts: make them not about you, but about the community. Building your community will eventually build your brand.
We advise against regularly posting promotional content as organic posts for two reasons. First, your followers don’t like it. Second, Facebook doesn’t like it. After all, promotions are what Facebook paid ads are for. Facebook tells my team regularly that it wants local businesses to share local community news with local consumers. We recommend providing posts that inform, educate, and entertain four or five times per week. That will earn you the right to slip in something more promotional on occasion.
What should you share?
Your organic posts don’t have to include original written content every day. Find local community news from publishers in your neighborhood, suburb, or small town. This could include stories from online newspapers, blogs, and local TV stations’ websites. Facebook likes it when you share links to accredited news publishers instead of your own business website.
What type of community news should you share?
Who are your perfect potential customers? For example: Moms age 35 to 54 who own their own home and drive SUVs. While you can’t target specific groups of people like you can with paid ads, think about the types of news items that these people will find valuable and hopefully share with their friends. Maybe it’s an announcement of a community festival, news about local schools, or events for local charities. These are the types of stories Facebook wants you to share. These posts will be shown to more people than anything that’s overtly promotional. And when you build up this credibility in Facebook’s view, your occasional promotional post will do well.
This strategy works well for service brands. Start with getting a good look at everything happening in your service area, ZIP Code, or county. Imagine which stories and events would catch the eye of your potential customers. Sharing those items is the first step in engaging your community.
Jack Monson is Chief Revenue Officer at Social Joey and host of the Social Geek Radio Network. He has been working with franchise brands and small businesses in social media for more than 13 years. He serves on the IFA’s Marketing and Innovation Committee and speaks at dozens of events each year on using social media to grow local businesses.
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