As I’m sure you’re aware, Facebook is the largest social media platform on the web with over a billion users worldwide. Users rely on Facebook for news, to keep up with friends and family, and to find out where to shop, dine, and find cultural events in the local community. Facebook is an incredibly powerful marketing tool for local businesses, and every business should make sure to set up a Facebook page. IMPORTANT: Be sure to list your page as a local business, as Facebook has created a unique marketing platform specifically designed for local businesses. Find all the details here: Facebook for Business.
I’ve seen first-hand the power of the local business platform on Facebook. A friend of mine launched a yoga studio in CA, and her principal means of reaching her clients is through Facebook. She’s established an amazing Facebook community, so much so that she just launched her fourth yoga studio in the Bay Area. This example obviously is not the only success story I’ve witnessed or have been a part of; it just happens to be my favorite. For those starting out, I’d suggest checking out her page and notice the quality content they share and the engagement it elicits. It’s a classic of example of exactly how to master local Facebook marketing: https://www.facebook.com/SquareOneYoga/
NOTE: Notice how the Facebook address has the company name in it? The custom URL makes it much easier for people to remember your Facebook address and to find you in searches. Once you’ve reached 25 likes on your page, remember to claim your own unique Facebook address and include your company name.
Setting Up Your Local Business Page
As mentioned above, it’s crucial to list your business as a local business on Facebook. Choose a smart profile picture. Usually, your logo works best. A high-quality photo of your business from the inside or out is a good cover photo. I especially like using the outside of your building if it’s attractive. This way new customers know what your business looks like from the outside and what to look for when coming to your business. Fill out all the information fields and make sure they’re accurate. Enter your address, phone number and hours of operation. Again, please make sure you keep all this updated. I’ve seen a lot of disgruntled Facebook users complain about going to a business that was closed, even though the Facebook page said they were open. These disgruntled users gave the establishments bad reviews simply because they were not open.
There are two features I want to mention that will also increase your exposure and grow awareness. Customers can rate and leave reviews of your business on your local business page. Your followers will do your marketing for you! Be sure to thank the customer for leaving the review and invite them to come back. If a patron leaves a bad review, respond immediately and try to solve their dilemma. If they had a bad meal at your restaurant, offer them a free dinner to make it up to them.
The other bonus perk is the check-in feature. Customers can check-in to your establishment, and their Facebook friends will see the post. Again, that’s free advertising for your business!
Get a Facebook Pixel for your Website
A Facebook pixel is a snippet of code Facebook automatically generates for you to embed in your site. It’s the first thing you should do after creating your page. The pixel comes in very handy for retargeting campaigns, gaining insight into which pages your audience visits on your site, and it’s also incredibly helpful for creating custom audiences.
Build Your Facebook Community with a Simple “Page Like” Ad
When setting up an ad, Facebook gives you many options to chose from for your marketing goals. Start with the like the page ad to immediately grow your audience. I suggest this approach to all my clients starting out on Facebook, and it works. It’s a quick, affordable, and efficient way to gain an audience. The thing about Facebook is if you don’t have an audience, all your messaging goes unheard.
My favorite approach to your first ad is to create a video introducing yourself to the community. Tell your story to your audience and give them reasons to want to learn more about your business. Video ads perform extremely well on Facebook, but it turns out a lot of users do not listen to sound on the videos. There is an easy fix and an appealing one at that; either add text to the bottom of the video or my favorite – hold up signs with your messaging written out on them. This basic approach seems so fundamental compared to some of the high-tech videos you see on Facebook, but it’s truly a very friendly and likable way to introduce yourself. End the video with a call to action to like your page for more information about specials, event, etc. The “Like Page” button will display on the ad so all they need to do is one click and they’re now your audience!
Use Facebook Targeting Tools to Reach Your Local Audience
The most compelling feature of the Facebook Marketing for Local Business is the option to target your audience by location. Facebook offers this feature in all Facebook targeting ads, but there is a unique feature for local businesses. Now you can target your audience by the radius of location surrounding your business. I absolutely love this feature! Target a ten-mile radius if your company is strictly focused on members of your immediate community, or choose a radius of 50 miles to reach more people who may want to make a special trip to your business. Expanding your radius is ideal for companies located in urban areas and destination locations.
Once you’ve determined your radius, keep targeting! Specify the age range, gender, education levels, income levels, interests, etc. that match your target market.
Create High-Quality Posts
You need to put serious thought into your posts. What would your target audience find valuable? You want to provide value for your audience and creating a high-quality post will increase trust, loyalty, and engagement. Encourage your audience to engage with your post by asking a question, or something else. The idea is to get your audience to respond to your post and hopefully share it. The more engagement your post receives, the more exposure your business gains. The way Facebook works is when someone engages with your company on Facebook, their friends see it in their news feed. I’m sure you’ve noticed the posts about your friends in your timeline that say – Joe Cool just liked XXX, or Joe Cool commented on this post. I always am curious about what my friends are finding on Facebook and usually check out things they are liking, commenting on, and sharing. It’s a great way to get extra exposure with no additional money invested.
Engage, Engage, Engage!
Once you’ve engaged your audience, be sure to respond in kind. Being quick and attentive to your audience is key. If a user comments on a post, reply to their comment. If someone sends you a message, respond to them as quickly as possible. It’s smart to set up an autoreply in your page settings, so the sender immediately receives a response. Your autoreply should thank the sender for reaching out and let them know someone from your team will respond to their message as soon as possible. Setting up the autoreply takes two minutes, and will save you a lot of headaches along the way.
Create Local Events or Specials
To truly get to know your audience, create a local event and invite your Facebook community. Increase attendance to your event by boosting a post invitation targeted it to your ideal customers. Doing so will not only increase attendance but also increase your community size. You can also run a Facebook ad with the same message and expect similar results.
If you’re not sure what kind of event to host, Here are some ideas:
- Host a Locals Appreciation Day and offer a discount on your goods and services
- Create a weekly local discount (20% off Tuesdays)
- Host a meet and greet and serve light food and beverages
Use your imagination – You know your community!
Make your Business Part of Your Local Community
Now that you’ve established your business as part of your community have fun with it! Get to know users who regularly comment or engage with your page. Your Facebook page is essentially the voice of your brand; be sure to be personable, responsive and inclusive. You get bonus points for being funny if it suits your brand identity. A local business should utilize Facebook in such a way that your company becomes a part of the community with a local following of loyal customers. And don’t forget the power of word of mouth. Once you gain one happy customer from Facebook, who’s to know how many additional people he or she may recommend your business. The sky’s the limit!
We’re always curious about what your experience is. Please feel free to leave a comment on your Facebook experience on the website or in our closed Facebook group. Happy hearing from you! 🙂