If you are like most local businesses, you must understand the importance of your social network.
It’s similar to your business network, but online instead of a monthly networking event.
As social media continues to grow and more and more businesses are taking part, it still shocks me when I see these major failures time and time again.
Let’s look at it this way: Say you own a local hardware store and you’ve just recently become a new parent.
That’s very exciting for you, but as a business owner you wouldn’t want to be on social media talking about children toys.
You’d be surprised at how many people doing social media just don’t grasp the concept.
Identify Your Target Audience
As a local business, the very first thing you should do before you start your social media management is identify your target audience.
- Who are your customers?
- What are their likes/dislikes?
- What products or services do they need?
List at least five different characteristics of your customers or those who you typically do business with to help you start to understand who you should be speaking with on social media.
Use the information you’ve compiled to identify how you will do it.
This can help you compile areas of conversation, resources, and topics that you can discuss with them.
If you don’t do this successfully, prepare yourself for social media failure.
Eight Ways Local Social Media Management Fails
Here are eight ways I’ve seen local social media management fail time and time again.
This is going to be good, so take notes.
- You don’t take the time to understand your audience. If there is one take away from this article, this is it. Understanding who your target audience is the first critical step in getting your social media management right. Who do you do business with the most? Who buys your products? How would you categorize them? What other things do they buy? Where do they live? What would you consider complementary products to yours? You can then use this information to create a customer persona. If you are finding this exercise hard to do, take a look at your direct competitors or complimentary products and identify who buys from them.
- You don’t speak to your target audience. Once you’ve identified your target audience, don’t ignore them. Use your social media management to speak to them. Many local businesses forget the people they call customers do other things besides buy their products. To really get your audience to engage with you, talk about their issues, their needs, and their wants. This will help you identify with them personally.
- You only speak about yourself or use social media as a posting board. Me, me, me… blah…blah…blah…. That’s all they’re hearing from you. If your social media management is like that, you’d probably be more effective by walking up to your rooftop and shouting. At least there you might get some attention. Don’t use social media as a posting board. Think of it as a two-way conversation. Engage with people, have conversations, generate a network of people online where you can create mutual opportunities; this will go much further in your social media success.
- You are not putting any focus on your location. So many local businesses focus on connecting with anyone who will listen, but successful social media management is connecting with the right people. Find people in your local area and focus on them, connect with them. The Internet is a vast landscape; so if you’re wondering how to find those locals, share local events, news, and happenings. That’ll make your content more relevant for them and you’ll suddenly see more local (and potential) customers following you, looking for more of those updates.
- You’re not personal or polite. People tend to forget there are actual people on the other end of that social media platform. We’re so wrapped up in our own little worlds of computers and devices that we forget that there is an actual person on the other side. Let me put it into perspective. You are standing in line at your local coffee shop and the person next to you turns and says, “Hey, did you see the Red Sox game last night, that was an amazing home run in the 9th, right?” and you just stand there looking ahead, never saying a word. You’re probably laughing to yourself right now, but that’s how most people act on social media. Someone is speaking to them and they just go about their business. Be polite on social media and don’t forget there is a person on the other side. Every once in awhile say, “thank you” or respond politely. Like mama always said, “Mind your manners!”
- You are boring. Sorry to point this one out to you, but you’re boring, kid. You just don’t say anything interesting. If you’re not standing out, having great conversations with your audience, there’s no way you’re going to cut through all the clutter. Share something interesting, use the research you’ve done on your target audience to generate content that: Educates, informs, entertains, or provides resources. Giving your local audience something they want or need, even beyond your scope of products or services, is a great way to get their attention and keep them coming back for more.
- You dismiss the power of local word-of-mouth. Even though social media is online, its still a great way to start word-of-mouth. which is offline social media. Don’t dismiss what you say online can turn into offline conversations, whether that’s good or bad. Use the power of local word-of-mouth by creating something that gets people talking about your brand.
- You don’t promote your social media offline. Social media always needs a helping hand. Tie your social media into your location. Invite customers to connect with you, so you’ll have a way to share updates, promote products, and gain insights. Setting up a social media account without promoting it offline and its bound to fail. You are your biggest cheerleader, so get out there and promote your social media offline!
It’s been proven that social media, especially for local businesses, can create lots of great opportunities if done well.
Local businesses that use it strategically by communicating with their customers, focusing on their local community, and creating content that not only grab,s but drives further word-of-mouth both online and off, never fail.
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