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Using social media to connect with local customers

Using social media to connect with local customers

Social media, the digital phenomenon of the 21st century. An instantaneous means of reaching audiences at the far reaches of the globe. Naturally, it wasn’t long before businesses realised the enormous potential for targeting customers’ long distances. But how do you maximise its potential for creating business in your local area?

The advent of social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter allows firms to market their brand at little cost. The ever-growing popularity of these streams make social media an essential part of any business marketing strategy. However, it is imperative to think carefully about which of these platforms are suitable for your business, having too many social media platforms could be time consuming and challenging to keep up to date.

Writing for Forbes, Marketing director at Burnett’s staffing Inc., Makenzie Bonham, notes how it is advantageous to streamline the social media services you use.

“While restructuring our social media accounts, the decision to create a Pinterest account was something I couldn’t get behind. I tried to understand why Pinterest should be implemented into our strategy in the first place. Where did this fit into our overall objective? And how would this platform distribute our industry insight, showcase our job openings, and communicate effectively with customers/clients while attracting new business through increased brand awareness? Trying to promote employment services to users looking to pin recipes or gift ideas was far from ideal,” Bonham advises.

How to use social media to connect to your local customers

Live streaming: Local audiences will be engaged by any company that shows an interest in the events that take place in their community. Live streaming is an excellent way of doing this and most social media platforms now offer a live streaming service. Almost any event can be live streamed and it will help build a connection between the local population and your business.

You can live stream concerts, local shows, conventions and local places of interest. It is also an opportunity to engage with your viewers with questions and answer sessions, debates or take the chance to introduce a new product or service that you may be offering.

Facebook: There is estimated to be over 1.4 billion active users of this social media giant. It also has the most avenues for you to be able to connect with local customers. Tagging is a very popular method used by companies to engage with their local audience. By tagging, it will allow you to advertise your location, for instance, if you are opening new premises, or hosting an event you can tag simply by using the @ sign in front of the location. For instance – “it is with great pleasure that we are sponsoring the open-air concert tonight @London.”

Facebook check-ins are also a great way of giving your business exposure to a local audience. Each time a customer or staff member checks in, your business gains visibility on the newsfeed and therefore free advertising.  You can incentivise check-ins with a free give away or display reminders for people to check in to help promote this.

There are also tools to help you advertise locally on Facebook. Many businesses use the “reach people near your business” option. By using this service, you can display your advertisement to people who are within a specific radius from your business location.

Twitter: You can connect to a local audience by using Twitter’s advanced search option. This handy tool will allow you to search for customers who are Tweeting close to your location.

As previously mentioned, hosting or sponsoring a local event is an excellent way to attract a local following. You can use Twitter chat to engage people with this. All you have to do is create a custom hashtag and then apply it to each post that you make in regard to the event in question.

Your header photo is also an opportunity to connect with local people by including a picture of a local landmark. You can also mention your support for any local teams or groups in your bio.

Instagram: You can promote your brand to local people by using Instagram. Each time you upload a picture, make sure you add a location. This will be the first thing your viewers see, this will also make your business easy to find during searches. Use affective geotags, such as local events and landmarks.

For expert advice on how social media can help your business connect with local customers, contact the friendly and experienced team at Effective Group and let them show you how to maximise the potential for growth within your local area.

 

Preparing a social media marketing strategy for 2017? Why Instagram should be part of it

Preparing a social media marketing strategy for 2017? Why Instagram should be part of it

Since the dawn of the social media age, the digital landscape has been dominated by the twin social media super powers of Facebook and Twitter. The rapid rise in popularity of social media allowed companies to develop a digital marketing strategy to include these platforms. However, businesses are now discovering the benefits the many attributes that Instagram has as part of their marketing strategy.

Year on year, Instagram is growing in popularity and according to an article written for Brandwatch, Instagram now has an estimated 400 million active users. Therefore, with an estimated 60% of its users logging in daily, this makes Instagram the second most frequently used platform behind Facebook.

Shortpress confirms the benefits Instagram brings to businesses. Online fashion brand, Showpro, has used Instagram as part of their digital marketing strategy to great effect. The article states Showpro boast a Facebook support of 476,000 followers, but this figure is dwarfed by the staggering 571,000 followers it has on Instagram. Chief executive of Showpro – Jane Lu –  believes that the cost of reaching customers via ads on Facebook is a contributory factor for the drop in the reach for organic posts. Instagram, on the other hand, is claiming up to 8000 ‘likes’ for Showpro’s product and lifestyle posts.

Lisa Montenegro is founder and president at Digital Marketing Experts – DMX. Writing for Forbes, Montenegro confirms the positive impact Instagram is having on businesses, stating:

“When our clients added Instagram advertising to their Facebook ad campaigns, we expected big things – double the results. On average, their Instagram ads are collecting about four times the number of likes as their counterpart ads on Facebook. Dollar for dollar, the number of impressions seems to be about the same on the two platforms, but getting someone to absorb and engage with a post seems to be easier on Instagram.”

 Top hints for using Instagram as part of your digital marketing strategy

Instagram Profiles: Initially Instagram was available on iPhone and Android, but in 2012, Instagram launched Instagram profiles. This gave marketers the ability to promote their products and services on other devices other than just mobiles.

Many companies now use Instagram pictures to create a collection of images which relate to their businesses history and activity. Almost anything can be promoted using this tool, such as conferences, events, products and services.

Use the Instagram web page to put a feature together using the pictures. It’s advised to have a mixture of business and fun pictures to make it more engaging to your audience.

Envisage carefully how you your Instagram account should look once it is completed. You can add calls to actions alongside the images and you can also include pictures of employees that work for your organisation with some information of their job profile.

Make your bio engaging: Your business name and the description of what your company provides should be brief and to the point. Endeavour to keep it light-hearted and interesting and not too sales driven as this can be off putting to some viewers.

Design a bio that will be engaging to your audience and which correlates with the character of images that you use. Remember, your Instagram viewers will need to read through your profile before they decide to follow you, therefore it is essential that your bio catches their attention.

There is no real benefit to using keywords in your bio as they won’t be searchable. However, you may find it useful to include the hashtag your associated with if you are running a hashtag campaign. Your bio can always be modified to suite your latest promotion or activity as you go along. However, always remember to provide a link to the products and services that you are promoting.

Gain a following by providing engaging postings: It is reported that 90% of the information that is transmitted to the human brain is visual and it is believed that this is a primary reason for Instagram’s’ popularity.

This evidence is also backed up with the knowledge that posts on other social media platforms, such as Facebook, receive twice the number comments on posts that contain an image, compared to those that contain text only. Therefore, when you are developing your Instagram account, make sure your postings are fun, informative and relevant to the audience that you seek to gain.

For the best advice on how Instagram and other social media platforms benefit your business. Contact the expert team at Effective-Group and let them guide you in making social media profitable.

Key digital marketing trends forecast for 2017

Key digital marketing trends forecast for 2017

Digital marketing is accepted as being a key foundation on which company growth is built. There are many different facets in online marketing in which businesses can acquire new sales.  The good news is that the cost of designing and implementing an online marketing strategy is relatively low, and this provides businesses worldwide a cost-effective means to attract greater custom.

A report written for Ecommerce News states projected that sales for goods and services done online in 2016 was close to 510 billion euros. And with customers’ preference for shopping online set to continue, it is essential that businesses take advantage of the popular trends predicted for 2017.

In an article written for Forbes, Vice President of Marketing for SnapRetail, explains the importance of having an effective online digital strategy:

“Ten years ago, it may have been a choice to jump on the online bandwagon, but now it’s an absolute must to survive and thrive as a small business. With over 85% of searches for products and services happening online, it’s just a “duh” at this point,”

Predicted online trends for 2017

Live streaming: Live streaming became popular in 2015 with the influence of platforms such as Meerkat. Live video streaming can be used to benefit businesses in many ways and is predicted to gain momentum as a digital marketing trend in 2017. Many businesses use this tool to engage their viewers with live events or shows with content that is relevant to the products and services they provide.

People love live shows and it is largely accepted that live shows get the most views, likes and shares online.  One of the great benefits of live streaming is that it is just as cost effective to live stream as it is to pre-record a show.

Be mobile friendly: Todays’ busy lifestyle means that a considerable amount of online purchases are completed – on the go. Therefore, it is imperative that your websites app mobile friendly across all mobile devices.

Few customers, who are rushing between family and work engagements, will be willing to suffer a slow or ‘clunky’ connection to your website via their device, they are likely to simply disconnect and purchase their goods through your competitors’ website which is easier to use.

Snapchat: With a reported 8 billion video views per day, is this a market that your business can afford to ignore? Snapchat is rapidly increasing in popularity, and according to Bloomberg, Snapchat has 5 times as many viewers than it did, this time last year.

When you consider the popularity of Facebook, and its estimated 1 billion users per-day, it is interesting to learn that Snapchat is on a par when it comes to video views, with both companies boasting an estimated 8 billion views per-day.

In the article written on CIO, Carrot Creatives Kendall concurs that Snapchats rise to prominence is an exciting marketing proposition:

“If Snapchat’s audience continues to grow and evolve as it has during the past year, it will increasingly become a “must-include part of any marketer’s media mix. My personal prediction is that within three years, Snapchat ad buys will be assumed much like Facebook or YouTube.”

Buy buttons: There is a suggestion that in 2017, there will be a greater emphasis on buoying directly from social media sites via ‘buy buttons’. This is far from a new concept and so far, they have seldom been used by consumers. However, the impact of social media on the human psyche must be respected, and there is a train of thought that the lack of usage via these channels are largely down to unawareness.

There is a school of thought among businesses that if this social media platform can be engaged, then there is a ready-made, cost effective avenue with which to drive sales. Yes, these buttons already exist and they have delivered limited success so far, but that is largely attributed to there being limited product availability via this option currently.

The fact that this facility has not been removed, shows that there is still potential for this tool. Once a more customer friendly process is established, 2017 could be the year it finally delivers.

For professional advice on how digital marketing can take your business to greater heights, contact the experienced and friendly team at Effective-group and let them help you design a top class digital marketing strategy.