The ability to connect with a global network of people probably seems a bit pointless if you are a local business and your goal is to get known in your neighborhood. But did you know that the same tools and tactics that connect people from around the world, can connect you to potential customers around the corner?
With a new focus on connecting local, you could say local is the new global. As social media evolves, it seems the www is increasing becoming the local web. More and more, social media is adding local tools its bag of tricks and that’s good news for businesses that service a geographical customer base.
How to Use Social Media to Get Found in Your Neighborhood
Finding Local Tweeters on Twitter
- Twellow – Start with this tool to search people’s bios for your local city. Or you can drill down into the “Twellowhood” – a tab across the top of the screen. Keep clicking on the map to get to your area and finally a list of all the Twitter profiles in your area. Follow the people who look interesting.
- Hashtags – The hashtag or # sign is something people use to tag their conversation. Go to www.search.twitter.com and put in a hashtag and your city name or your local airport code. Chances are there will be people tweeting with that tag. You may find other local events that have a hashtag created or a sports team hashtag. Don’t forget to search your city name alone to find conversations that don’t use the city hashtag.
- Lists – Many people create lists of local tweeters. You can either find a connection who has a list by looking at their profile and clicking on the Lists tab or you can search for lists at Listorious.
Finding Local Friends on Facebook
- Facebook Groups – Go to www.Facebook.com/search (from within your personal profile) and click Groups to search for local Facebook groups to connect with. Enter your city name and join the groups that look active and interesting. This will connect people to your personal profile and then as you get to know them you can ask them to Like your Facebook Page.
- Facebook Advertising – Create an ad for your Facebook Page and target people in your local city. Using targeted Facebook ads is a great way to connect to new local people. Make sure you are advertising your Facebook Page and not your website. If you pay money to direct them to your website, they may leave and you will have never have a connection with them again. If they Like your Page, you can connect with them over and over again through your updates.
- Facebook Places – Create a Facebook Place for your location and start letting your customers know that they can check in. Offer special deals through Facebook deals to make it more exciting to check in.
Building Local Connections on LinkedIn
- LinkedIn Search – In the upper right, set the search box to People and click on the Advanced link. The Advanced link takes you to the advanced search where you can add keywords and a location to find local connections.
- LinkedIn Groups – Almost every town has a LinkedIn group. If not, create one yourself! Connect with all the people in the group and participate regularly.
Other Helpful Sites for Getting Found Locally
- www.Google.com/localbusinesscenter – Google Local Business Center is not a social site but it helps you place your business on Google Maps when people do local searches.
- Merchant Circle – Merchant Circle is business listing combined with some social features.
- Yelp – Make sure you are monitoring your reviews and asking customers to provide reviews. Social proof rocks.
- Foursquare and Gowalla – Not every business will benefit from geo-location sites – it depends on your customer base and how tech-savvy they are.
- Meetup – A great place to find local networking events.
Warning: don’t try all of these sites at once. Create a social media strategy and outline your activities for the next month, adding additional social media sites once you are comfortable navigating your current social media sites. Remember, social media is not instant – it takes time and effort to reap the rewards. With a clear strategy and consistent effort, social media will help local customers find you!
Want to learn more about using social media to market your business? Join Social Media Expert Andrea Vahl for a 4-part webinar series, Facebook Bootcamp for Success!