If you run a local business focused predominately on customers in your local area, you may think that the global marketing capabilities of social media are not for you.

Think again! Social media is great for driving real customers through your door and has just as much value for a local business as is does for a global corporation.

Your Local Customers Are On Social Media

One very convincing reason to start looking at your social media channels from a local perspective is that the vast majority of businesses will find that their customers are already there! Whether you are a B2C operation, or B2B, social media has gone mainstream with over a third of the UK population logging on to Facebook every day: that’s potentially a third of your customers.

Do a third of your customers walk past your business everyday?

Of course, I use social media on a local level for my business, Stop and Stare, and for my clients. Having experience managing social media accounts for both local and global companies, the engagement I witness with local businesses has much better results overall. I think this is because local businesses are able to personalise their contact with customers through social media so much more effectively than a global business.

In fact, most local businesses using social media successfully are replicating online much of what they do in the “real” world: engaging with their customers personally, networking B2B locally, and participating in the local community.

5 Things You Can Do On Social Media Today!

So here are 5 easy things you can do to market your local business to your local customers today:

  1. Targeted Advertising: One of the big advantages of the social media giants storing so much data about us is that you can use this to create very targeted advertising for comparatively little money. Targeted advertising lets you select your audience through geographic information as well as gender, age, interests and behaviours. This allows you to use a global tool on a very local level.
  1. Local Groups And Hashtags: Facebook and LinkedIn have groups, Google+ has communities and Twitter uses hashtags to connect individuals with shared interests. Whatever your business offering there’s a local social media discussion group waiting for your business to engage with them. That said this is not an excuse to spam members with blatantly promotional posts. In fact this has lend one group to reform under the name I Love Farnham Surrey (No Spam Version)!
  1. Engage With Other Local Businesses: You can use social media groups to network with other local businesses but there is also value in collectively promoting local business online. For example if you are a shop on the high street why not support other shops in your town? If the hairdressers next door is offering 50% off, tell your social media followers; they may take advantage of this offer and then pop into your shop with their new cut! A bit of mutual back rubbing can go a long way, and other local businesses are sure to reciprocate if you help them.
  1. Celebrate Your Local Community: People are interested in updates about local events and news, and respond well to businesses that demonstrate that they are part of the community. Simple things such as posting a photo of your favourite parts of your town can get your business great engagement and shows your followers that you are not a faceless corporate!
  1. Use Your Existing Customers: Word of mouth is a powerful promotional tool and traditionally what many local businesses rely on. You can replicate this on social media by providing your existing followers and customers with plenty of content they will want to share and engage with. Your loyal social media fans have their own networks of family, friends and colleagues, many of whom will also be local to your area and share their interests. Ask them to spread the word about what you’re up to, and provide them with suitable tweets and updates to it with.

Using social media to market your local business is an effective tool when used consistently and as part of your overall marketing strategy. Not all social media channels will be right for your business and the approach used is very different to more traditional promotionally efforts. For many business owners getting to grips with social media can be a challenge, which is where we come in!

Jamie Barlow

Jamie Barlow


Jamie Barlow is MD of Stop and Stare Marketing.