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Can I Localize My Social Media Strategy?

One of our readers here at IMA recently posed a great question in the blog comments: how do I localize my social media presence? Is it possible to focus my brand’s social media stalkingand interactions on a specific, targeted area? It’s a fantastic question that has a lot of relevance for many small businesses that don’t have an international market or plans to expand in the near future. For your average local auto shop or specialty catering company, followers from another country can offer the benefit of a bigger following and engagement. However, they’re not likely to ever make a purchase. Perhaps most interesting, it’s not just local businesses that should think about targeting. Focusing heavily on key geographic areas can actually be an effective marketing maneuver for national brands.

According to research by the CMO Council, 49% of senior marketing executives believe localized marketing strategy isn’t just important, it’s essential to growth and profitability. Over 60% of survey respondents cited being able to provide more relevant content to their consumers as a top benefit of going local. If you’re not convinced that relevance matters, consider the fact that research has indicated the average American consumes around 34 gigabytes of data and 100,0000 words of information each day. That’s equivalent to starting War and Peace on a Monday morning and finishing it halfway through Friday. It’s clear that we’re all overwhelmed enough that we want relevant content, but how do we provide it? We’ve outlined several tools to help you take your inbound marketing strategy and social media outreach local:

1. Fully Localize Your Profile

If your brand’s entire focus is on a given area, don’t forget to completely fill out as much location information as possible. For Twitter, this simply means you should have your city name listed and mentioned in your user bio. On Facebook and Google+, include a full address and phone number.

For big brands trying to target a specific area on social media, it’s likely worthwhile to create secondary social media accounts dedicated to the target area, if you have the resources to maintain an active presence. Instead of linking to your website, include a link to a web page or piece of content that explains your presence and focus on that area. Some social media experts even recommend that you put the city name or common abbreviations in your handle!

2. Take Advantage of Geo-Targeted Tools

Identify and follow influential Twitter users in your area. WeFollow allows you to sort through lists of Twitter users in your area, sorted by influence and number of followers. Twellow will also help you locate people by area. Both tools require an opt-in from users, which means that your search base will be limited. While both tools have limited value, they could get you started connecting with the right users.

3. Track Geographic References

In order to really connect with consumers within your local market, it pays to become extremely familiar with how to use hashtags on Twitter. Identify which tags are driving local conversations about your town and surrounding areas. Be sure to not only follow other localized Twitter users, but offer insight on any queries related to your business. While answering questions within your area of expertise is a powerful way to network through Twitter, you don’t even have to focus on these topics. Social media is about establishing thought leadership, reach and receiving a significant ROI, but it’s also about making connections.

If you’re using HootSuite or Tweetdeck for Social Media management, set up permanent columns around at least one localized hashtag. You can also periodically check Topsy for mentions of your location which did not include a hashtag or have a common misspelling.

4. Become a Local Advocate

Make a point of sharing content that has relevance for local followers, even if it isn’t directly related to your brand. While you should follow the rules of content curation and ensure that what you’re sharing is valuable, fresh and consistent with your brand image, designate your Twitter account as a local expert that promotes great information as well as your own blog content and deals.

5. Connect With Other Social Brands

Expand your reach by connecting with other brands that have localized their social media strategy. Explore ways you can share and collaborate, which could encompass retweeting their content on events and deals to establish reciprocity. If they happen to have some established Twitter lists of local social media users you can hijack for your own business, all the better!

How Has Your Brand Localized Your Social Media Strategy?
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English: Twitter headquarters at 795 Folsom St...

English: Twitter headquarters at 795 Folsom Street, San Francisco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)