How to promote your local social business online

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In order to increase and maintain the local community participation, Social Entrepreneurs need to find new ways to market their social business.

Depending upon your business model, this can pass by expanding your online presence and know how to better rank in local search.

In this article, I’ll talk about some key points you should be aware of, when developing a good and simple communication strategy to promote your local social business online.

1. Market the social return of your business

Being a local business you already have the advantage of being able to better personalize your service. Being a local social business gives you top advantage regarding the way you interact with the local community.

This implies 2 things:

  • to be able to really embed your business into the community (serve their needs and work with them);
  • to make sure your customers know how you support the community (give them the sense they are part of something bigger).

Creating an article for the local newspaper, a video or any other digital content piece might help you to communicate this. It will depend on your overall marketing strategy, budget, target audience, social project, …

2. Position yourself as an expert in your area

Customer are inundated of information before they even contact you. This means that they don’t need more information. But they do need help to filter it, to make the final decision. And that’s where you can become indispensable as a local business – you can provide them support and wisdom in that final step.

To position yourself as an expert in the area of your social service or product, you need to earn your customer trust. And you can do that by educating them and becoming their go-to source.

This means you need to invest in curating or creating (online) content.

3. Focus your strategy in a target audience

In order be effective in your actions to gain new stakeholders or customers, you need a solid strategy. And this strategy lies in a good audience targeting.

Knowing who you are communicating with, simplifies your message and matches your efforts with those most likely to respond.

Collecting this data may seem a very complex task. But doing this up front will streamline the rest of the work and simplify the choices you make when reaching your stakeholders.

 

4. Use social media wisely

According to Google, there is still no real correlation between social media usage and influence. This means that even though people use Facebook and click in your business, there is no guarantee that they will buy from you.

Plus, you probably don’t have the time to effectively create and apply an extensive marketing strategy.

So, using social media in the most time-effective way, and maybe engaging existing customers only, can be your strategy.

Naturally, depending on your business type and objectives, you might want to use social media differently. For example, if you are in the retail or food business, you could use Instagram or Pinterest (both photo/graphic oriented networks) to communicate new products.

Anyway, generally speaking, you should use social media:

  • as an enhanced listing to redirect any traffic towards your website (with an environment and user experience under your control);
  • in order to keep your customers updated on what’s going on;
  • to reach out to them with new deals and offers;
  • to interact with them and answer to any questions they might have;
  • and to build the bridge between the social work you are doing, with the customers you are serving.

5. Focus on mobile website optimization

Mobile has already overtaken desktop in both global and local searches. Although you can have a responsive design, focus on mobile has the main device for viewing your website.

Make it fast, light and simple, with big buttons and scroll-down pages.

Later on, you can test your website using this Google service.

6. Invest in online video

74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. This is a fact you can’t avoid.

And although you might argue that making a video is very expensive, it’s worth every cent, when it’s made right and inside a bigger marketing strategy.

 

Now, there are several ways to reduce the invested money. And one of them is using the late solutions YouTube is developing. One of them is the YouTube director for business app.

Just don’t forget to include the video in your local business listings. See how to do it in Google My Business here.

7. Embrace collaboration

As a social entrepreneur, you probably already know the importance of collaboration. Not only with your stakeholders and community, but also with other local business and partners.

This collaboration can strengthen the social work you are doing and also improve your local online visibility.

Regarding the online visibility, one key is the outbound and inbound links. Focus on authoritative and natural links (usually to/from existing partners) and always determine if the link your are getting is relevant to your customer and business.

Marketing can be overwhelming, but just implementing some of these tactics can help you promote your local social business online. Use them to save some time and effort, and still attract new customers and more community engagement.

Tips to better rank in local search

There is a high number of people that use local search to assist them when finding a local place to buy a product or service. And they don’t need to include any city or geographical terms, to be shown local results.

In other words, you need to learn how to communicate your business to Yahoo!, Google and Bing, to be easily found by those people.

Here’s a list of tasks you should do to better rank in local search.

  • Register in local business listings:
    – Google My Business (this will give you a Google Maps location);
    – Bing Places for Business;
    – Yahoo;
    – Other directories (local.com, yellowpages.com, yelp.com…), since google has these into account when ranking your webpage in search results.
  • Fill in all the fields:
    – Official business name;
    – Phone number;
    – Toll-free number (if any);
    – A relevant description (include good and short keywords, your product/service and the city/neighborhood);
    – Website address;
    – Company contact name;
    – Hours of operation;
    – Official email address;
    – Social media links: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.
  • Add few high-quality images of your company.
  • Add any quality videos you might have about you and your business.
  • Remove duplicates and make sure your business appears online with correct information.
  • Build and claim the ownership of all citations to your business.
  • Incentive customers to write reviews. If possible, review and respond to all of them. Note that it’s estimated that 89% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. A good option here is to get clients to make a review in Local Guides . Which is a gamified Google service that incentives users to make reviews in exchange for points and perks.
  • Optimize your website and social network:
    – Add relevant content (through blog posts, for example), related to your product/service and area of business;
    – Add relevant media (videos and images along those blog posts), also related to your product/service;
    – Make sure it is mobile friendly;
    – And add all your contact info: business name, the location details and address, an interactive google map, your local telephone number and your working hours.
  • Invest in advertising online to people that are nearby your location:
    – Advertise for specific tasks;
    – Use shorter and simpler keywords and phrases – they are more mobile friendly;
    – Use googles key word planner find the right keywords.

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