As a business owner, I know there is a love-hate relationship we have with Facebook. We hate the time-suck that it is and that it seems no one is even listening or seeing anything we are doing there, and yet it is still the most heavily used social networking channel. We know we “should” have a presence there, just like having a website in 1999 was an important form of legitimacy.
There is no doubt that Facebook still attracts the attention of 7 out of every 10 people in the United States. (You know the other 3 people just lurk from their spouse’s account) and that many businesses have seen great success using Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites as tools in their marketing.
So how can you successfully use this mega platform to actually convince people to leave their homes, where they can simply push a button and Amazon or Grubhub will deliver whatever they want, to come into your local business and spend money? Let’s take a look at some tips you can implement before the year comes to a close.
5 ways to use Facebook for your local business to build brand awareness and increase sales:
1. Get involved in local community Facebook Groups
Or better yet, start your own Facebook group for your city, town, or community interest. Facebook is more than Personal Profiles and Business Pages. It also has plenty of groups focused around specific interests, especially in the local community and neighborhoods. Most neighborhoods today have their own Facebook Group to share events, crime warnings, wildlife sitings, items for sale, recommendations, and more.
You can engage with your local community and let them know you’re more than a faceless business that wants to sell them things. You also get an idea of the issues concerning your local community, events you might want to attend or sponsor, and networking opportunities with other retail business owners in the area. Use the group to ask questions and share “BEST OF” lists– Best dog parks, best place to get dessert after 10pm, best picnic spots, and more. Throw out the question and have people comment with their answers and then offer to curate the list into a .pdf and share it back with the group.
What if you share the little league scores or high school sports scores weekly for the group? Who doesn’t want to be a part of a local group like that? The beauty of Facebook Groups is the members see every message, unlike a business page that usually has to work harder to get attention or use advertising and promoted posts.
2. Create PHOTO-WORTHY spots in your local business.
So perhaps you can’t get a giant blue bear sculpture outside your place of business, but fortunately, people will snap shareable photos with a lot less. It could be a great welcome mat that says “Great Shoes” and people will want to stand, snap and share. It could be something painted on the wall of your restrooms and people will snap and share there as well. Get creative and think of areas of your business that are brandable! Be sure to train your staff to spot groups snapping photos and go over to offer to take one of the whole party. That is great digital service.
3. Use targeted ad options on Facebook.
Facebook’s ad platform is pretty impressive, especially when it comes to the targeting capabilities you have for the audience. If you want to focus on Facebook users who live in a specific area, or who frequent businesses that are near your retail location, you can fine-tune who sees your promoted messages. Ads or sponsored posts appear in the newsfeed and look like a typical post, except that it’s marked as an advertisement. Make sure you monitor your ads that are running to respond to any comments or questions left on the ad post.
4. Run special promotions and events for your Facebook and social media fans.
Give your customers and potential customers a reason to pay attention to your page, and reward them for doing so. You don’t have to keep the promotions solely digital, especially if you want to increase foot-traffic on slow days.
Consider having deep discounts and flash sales that are in-store only but promote them online to get customers to come in. You can offer an in-demand product or other items discounted for the first 25 or 100 customers who come in on certain days. This sense of urgency encourages speed and enforces scarcity.
A trend that many are capitalizing on today is in-store experiences! Use Facebook and other social channels to let your community know you have a band playing or offer a tasting, a demo, or a yoga class or some other event for your fans. Experiences will draw those digital shoppers out and Facebook is a great place to talk about it.
5. Engage with your customers and prospects on your social media posts.
Many local businesses are still afraid of allowing comments on their social channels, fearing negative comments or reviews. People love social proof and if you allow comments on your pages you have the control that allows you to respond. If they comment on their own profiles or other pages, you can’t do anything about it. Invite reviews where you can participate.
People want to see that others like your brand as much as they do, so when you get a compliment in your place of business, ask if they would be willing to share that on your Facebook page or Google Review. Make it easy for people who are already happy, to share their feelings with the world. Today, “Word of MOUSE” is the new “Word of Mouth” when it comes to recommendations.
If someone is talking about your store, products or services, online, be sure to acknowledge them. Don’t leave comments, testimonials or questions on your Business Page unanswered. Let people know you hear them and appreciate every single comment left. [read: RESPONDING TO SOCIAL REVIEWS]
If there is someone being social with your brand on a regular basis, why not reward them with a special coupon or offer. Let them know you appreciate them sharing or engaging with you. Reward the behavior you want to be repeated.
We hope these 5 tips will inspire you to begin looking at Facebook with a fresh perspective when it comes to marketing your business. With a little creativity, you will have fans talking about you and more importantly…coming in to spend money! If you have more questions or want more ideas, be sure to join our DIY.social Group on Facebook, where entrepreneurs share ideas, tools, and resources to build their businesses!
If you are just getting that Facebook page set up we have created a guide that walks you through the steps to SET IT UP CORRECTLY and START GETTING FANS TO JOIN YOU! Download this free resource today!