Do you need ideas to reach your local Facebook audience?
If you’re a small business you need to localize your marketing efforts to reach your real customers.
In this article I’ll share 10 ways you can encourage your local community to find and like you on Facebook.
Why Local Facebook Fans?
If you’re a local small business, you’re likely most interested in customers in your area, not those scattered around the country or globe. While Facebook provides ample opportunity to increase brand awareness and visibility, it can reach beyond your targeted audience, costing you time and money.
When you focus your Facebook marketing efforts on your local community, you become more visible to the people you want to reach. Your interactions with your community as a whole and how you bring that relationship to Facebook establish your business as reliable, trustworthy and influential.
#1: Use Local Keywords in Page Settings
If you want locals to find you, you have to make it easy for them. You can do that by refining your page setup to include keywords related to your business and location.
Go into your Facebook page settings and take a look at the Page Info tab. How does it look? Is everything filled in?
Two important places where you can include keywords (including your business name and location) are your personalized Facebook web address and page description (both short and long).
A personalized Facebook web address helps people find you easily. I suggest including both your business name and your location—especially if there are other businesses with your name or you can’t get the web address you want.
Your page descriptions, both short and long, are prime places to use keywords related to your business and location. Your short and long descriptions don’t need to be the same, but each should include your business name, your location and keywords related to your products and services. Make sure your phone number and address are front and center.
The short description shows in the About section of your Facebook page and people can click on it to see both the short and long descriptions for more information.
Even if you have an established Facebook page with a strong fan base, it’s still a good idea to check and update your settings every once in awhile.
#2: Pay Attention to Audience Insights
The Audience Insights feature is a great way to find out what your local audience is interested in so you can share topics and images they’re most likely to engage with.
To find Audience Insights, click Build Audience at the top right of your page and choose Use Ads Manager. On the resulting page, choose Audience Insights from the left sidebar.
On the Create Audience page, click on Location to access data about your local audience’s preferences and demographics. You can see everything from age and relationship status to education level and purchase behavior—and so much more.
With Audience Insights, you can also discover your fans’ interests, other pages they like and whether they’re more interested in purchasing on a digital platform (such as Facebook) or in person at your storefront.
Use every bit of your Audience Insights to develop Facebook updates your local audience will be excited about and want to share with their friends.
#3: Meet Community Influencers
Local influencers are gateways to greater audience reach. On the local level, resident influencers can add clout, respect and even confidence to your brand. They can help you inspire local action and potentially increase your local brand visibility.
Who are the influencers in your area? Your local influencers are people who have power and a large, dedicated audience. In many cases, these people are the mayor, members of your chamber of commerce, other storeowners, a journalist at the local paper or the principal of the local high school.
Take advantage of tools like Klout or Traakr, Google+ Local or GPlusData.com to determine who the influencers are in your city.
Don’t be shy about connecting with influencers—engage on their Facebook pages or website updates, and make yourself known.
Keep in mind that your goal is not to overwhelm them with requests, but to converse and participate in discussions. When the time is right, ask them for a Facebook mention.
#4: Turn Customers Into Fans
If you have an established customer base, it makes sense for those customers to be your Facebook fans as well. Each customer who becomes a Facebook fan is a direct pathway to increased local visibility and finding additional local fans.
It’s fairly simple to encourage your customers to become Facebook fans. Asking for likes and reviews is the easiest way. Consider offering incentives such as fan discounts or coupons or hosting a giveaway on your page.
You can reinforce all of your efforts by posting Facebook promotional materials around your store to remind people to like your page.
There’s no reason why your regulars shouldn’t also be your Facebook advocates. In most cases they’re happy to give you a like—you just have to ask!
#5: Encourage Facebook Check-Ins
A key element of Facebook marketing is reaching the right people. One way to do that is to encourage your customers and fans to check in on Facebook when they visit your store.
According to Pew Research Center, the average Facebook user has 338 friends. When someone checks in, their friends can see that action—that means a lot of local friends are exposed to your business.
When people see their friends visiting, buying from or recommending a local business, they take that into consideration because they trust their friends’ judgment. When they’re ready to buy later on, you’ll be top of mind.
#6: Support Other Local Businesses
Many businesses keep to themselves—they subscribe to the adage “to each his own.” But when considering Facebook marketing, working together and supporting other local small businesses are good things for everyone.
Showing a commitment to your town includes supporting other local businesses. The audience you’re targeting will appreciate the encouraging and optimistic presence you bring to Facebook and will thank you for it with likes.
#7: Find Local Hashtags
Hashtags are an interesting phenomenon—they can be really helpful or they can be really annoying. It’s all in how you use them.
You can be successful by finding relevant brand and campaign hashtags, trending hashtags and location or event hashtags. It’s the latter that I want you to focus on for your local Facebook marketing.
First, find out if local businesses or events have established their own local hashtags and start using them in your updates. Here in Small Town, USA, we use the hashtag #GilbertAZ to signify our location and keep the local hashtag relevant and visible.
Check out Hashtagify.me to find all forms of hashtags. Run some searches to determine the topics and hashtags that are trending in your town, then follow them, use them and interact with them. Just don’t go for the hard sell. Remember the 80/20 rule: 80% of your content should be discussion or about others; 20% can be about you.
#8: Tag Local Businesses and Events
Many businesses aren’t taking advantage of Facebook tagging, but it’s a great marketing technique to reach a more targeted local audience.
When you write your updates, tag complementary supportive local businesses, industry leaders, influencers and local events. (Don’t include random tags if they don’t fit with your update—it’s spammy.)
For example, tag and thank the local plumber who comes to maintain your public restroom, or the window washer who keeps your storefront shiny. Tag the mechanic who keeps your business trucks running, or the sign store that installed your logo. Most of them will have Facebook pages and will appreciate the extra exposure. Plus they may respond in kind.
When you keep your posts relevant to your local audience and tag local people, businesses and events, you’re building relationships and showing a positive interest in your town.
#9: Share Local Photos
Visual marketing is huge right now and local photography is dominating social media. Leverage this trend and share pictures of your products, customers (especially if they’re using your product or service) and local events.
The more you highlight your town, the more your fans will reward you with increased likes and shares.
Your visual content posts are the perfect opportunity to combine a few of the tips in this article. Tag people and relevant businesses and write engaging, optimistic text.
#10: Hyper-Target Facebook Advertising
If you’re using Facebook ads, I can’t stress enough how powerful it is to localize your target audience. Instead of going for a general audience, take advantage of Facebook’s targeting options. Refine your ads to target fans and friends of fans in your town. You can even hyper-target down to the zip code where your customers reside.
Here’s an additional Facebook advertising tip: If you’re not aware of Facebook mobile advertising or simply haven’t taken advantage of it yet, take a closer look. Most people access Facebook from their phones. This makes mobile advertising a powerful tool for attracting thousands of local residents who use Facebook on their phones and tablets.
Encourage your community to get involved with your brand on Facebook by inserting yourself into the local social media mix. Converse with local influencers as you’d chat with a neighbor. This is your town, these are your neighbors; it’s time to turn them all into Facebook fans.
What to you think? Have you used any of these tactics yourself? How do you encourage locals to join you on Facebook? Leave your comments below.