- Facebook has 1.31 billion users.
- Every 20 minutes, 1 million links are shared, 2 million friends are requested, and 3 million messages are sent on Facebook.
- 48% of 18-34 year olds check Facebook when they wake up.
Yep. Let’s be honest: with 1/6 of the world owning an account, your local business needs to be on Facebook. (Check out this tutorial if you need help signing up).
For those that do, we got some candy for you. Here are our 15 tips for local marketing with your Facebook.
The 15 Local Marketing Tips
1. Brand your Facebook photo.
Our first local marketing tip is branding your Facebook photo. By this, I mean adjusting your Facebook to fit the message of your brand. For example, go to McDonald’s Facebook. On it, you will see McDonald’s brand (in the photo), a landscape graphic of their McCafé, and several posts involving their food.
Profile Photo: this is pretty simply. Use your brand as your photo. One tip: keep this simple. Your photo will be small (160 pixels by 160 pixels) so don’t add anything with text. An image of your brand will work fine.
Cover Photo: be creative with your cover photo. McDonald’s uses a product, but you don’t have to use a product. You can re-design your brand and add some text, like we did. But make sure the cover photo agrees with Facebook’s guidelines. To get the best load time, upload a JPG file that’s 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall (the actual size of your cover photo). If your photo has text, use a PNG file (the quality will be better).
2. Schedule Constant Content.
When you have a Facebook, you want activity. You don’t want your Facebook to turn into a ghost town. So update at least once per day. If you don’t think you will be on Facebook every day, use the “schedule post” feature. You can appoint a block of time—say, Monday—to just scheduling Facebook posts.
To do this, go to your business page. Insert a status into your comment bar. Then, look to the far left. You’ll see a clock button.
When you click this button, the comment bar will morph into this:
Simply select the day and time to schedule your content.
3. Actually talk to People.
Our next local marketing suggestion is incredibly important: talk to your friends. Don’t be creepy, but don’t be abstract, either. Local marketing involves communicating to real people. You cannot do that if you hide behind the persona of your brand.
So be personal. Optimize your local marketing by commenting on your customer’s posts or liking their posts or posting something constructive and encouraging on their wall.
You know athletes with Facebook will post things about their games. “We won!” “We are going to the regional championship game!” Reach out to the athletes in your area, ask them to like your page, and comment on these posts. Encourage them. Support them. Tell them they are doing a great job and your business has their back.
Be smart about this. You don’t want to damage your local marketing. But you don’t want to be impersonal, either.
4. Engage more than you Advertise.
The last local marketing tip leads us into this one: don’t always be the salesmen.
Whenever I’m on my favorite business’s profile, I like to see interesting and engaging content. Not advertisements.
If you just advertise, you are less personal and more abstract. Your local marketing will look business-centered or self-centered.
5. Ask Questions and Share Responses.
Questions are the most engaging tool available.
But this begs the question: as a local business, what kind of questions should I ask?
Although I’m no master questioner, the best questions are the most specific and interesting. For instance, if you said, “Who is going to win the super bowl?” you may get a few responses. But honestly, everyone asks that question. It’s so general, it fails to entertain or encourage a response. In place of this, you could ask “which mascot looks more bad-ass, the Bronco or the Seahawk?”
Ask specific questions. Then, when all’s said and done, share some responses. Post a Facebook status that says, “Shout out to Kevin for his hilarious answer to our question.” Kevin will probably like the status, you’ll have another status update, and your Facebook will look super local.
6. Share Photos of your Product/Service in Action.
Another way to engage is to call for photos of your product/service in action. Again, McDonald’s does a great job with this.
When you see their posts, you’ll notice pictures with their product involved. For instance, this one:
Someone put a fry to her nose and called it “#fryday #frystache.” That’s all it took. And boom: 3,666 likes.
7. Post Something Funny.
We cannot and should take ourselves so seriously. “When humor goes,” says Erma Bombeck, “there goes civilization.” Thus, don’t always post serious content. Lighten up someone’s day with a trivia fact, a funny YouTube video, a meme, or something else.
If I may misquote Bombeck: when humor goes, there goes your local marketing. So do something funny. Or unpredictable. Like this:
8. Create Drawings and Contests.
Another way to engage with content is to create contests. Carmike Cinemas does an excellent job at this. If you go to their Facebook, you’ll see tons of contests. And they’re creative, too. Carmike is obviously pushing for more likes and shares on their Facebook. So all their contests are centered around “like our page,” “share this content link,” and “comment on this post.” Once you do this, you have entered in their contest.
Just as an example, I pulled this image from their Facebook.
Basically, if you celebrated a birthday 7 days or less before this post, you could enter the content. All you had to do was like the page, share the content on your Facebook, and comment on the link. By the end of the content, there were 664 likes and 444 shares.
Pretty cool, huh?
Of course, Carmike has the advantage of giving away free movie tickets. But so do you. I mean, you can’t give away movie tickets. But surely you have something to offer. So just be creative.
9. Share Creative Hash-tags.
This involves some terminology you may not be familiar with.
By hash-tag, I mean the “#” before a scrunched up phrase, like #localmarketing or #jimgaffigin or #stevenporrello.
Whenever someone posts something with a hashtag, that post is documented on a separate webpage. The hashtag then becomes a link, and you can click on the link and see what’s posted under the tag.
For instance, let’s look at local marketing. Follow the #localmarketing hashtag. You’ll see hundreds of articles and posts about local marketing. If you’re like me, you’ll read these articles and then share the ones you like.
Encourage your customers to hashtag your business. Then, check the hashtag. Scroll through the multitudes of hashtagged posts and find one you want to share.
10. Introduce Employees.
If you want to put the local back into local marketing, then you need to introduce your employees. Of course, make sure your employees are cool with this. If they are, consider posting about your employee’s profiles. You can make this a sort of “employee of the month” contest. “This month we honor Brant Kelsey for being my awesome boss! #suckup.”
11. Integrate Video into your Facebook.
As said in an earlier post, video marketing is indispensable for a 21st century audience. Read that article for some tips on creating videos for your local marketing. Then share those videos on your Facebook.
12. Stir up Action with Facebook Events.
The events page is a pretty useful tool. Use it to substitute flyers and posters. Just create an event and invite all your friends.
13. Be a Prophet: Create a Petition.
We are venturing into local PR with this tip. But it’s still necessary for your local marketing: find a cause and create a petition. This will really get your name out there, and it will show you care about your community. You can create a Facebook petition here. Or, you can create a petition on a separate site, like this one.
Maybe you don’t want to create a petition. That’s fine. You can also sign petitions. And with the “Care2” petition site, you can search for petitions within your area. Just search your county or city in the search bar, like this:
When you search your county or city, petitions with those keywords will show up.
As you can see above, several petitions exist for my county, Coweta County, Georgia. There’s one to end violence, one to start a skatepark, and one really sad petition about a dog.
Anyway, look at these petitions as a way to enter your community. Sign them, comment on them, and share them to your Facebook.
14. Sponsor Local Artists and Musicians.
Of all these tips, this one is most important to me because it’s the most overlooked.
Your city is bound to have artists and musicians. They are literally everywhere. Many of us buy into the myth that good music is produced on a national or global scale. In other words, unless everyone is listening to a certain band, that band is most likely terrible.
Again, this is a myth. Good music is produced at the local level, too. Use your Facebook, then, to support these local artists.
For instance, in my area, I know of several musicians who have Facebook, like this one. All it takes is a share of his or her music page, and you’ve made someone’s day.
15. Keep your Facebook Local.
Finally, after all this talk of local marketing, I cannot stress this enough: keep your Facebook local. Limit yourself to just your surrounding area. Don’t worry about what other cities are doing or what other states are doing. Just worry about your local vicinity.
Local Marketing with Facebook
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