Once you have set up the Facebook page for your local business, you will need to develop and maintain an engaged fanbase that drives traffic to your local store and real sales for your business.
In this blog post we will provide you with valuable tips and tricks on how to master your page management and what Facebook features to use in order to interact more easily with local customers.
#1 Connect with Locals
There are several ways you can start building your local fanbase on Facebook:
Use the “Invite Friends” option in your admin panel to invite people you аre friends with to like your page. You can search for specific friends based on location, recent interactions, groups, and friends lists:
Connect Profiles with Your Page
Highlight your business page by linking it with your personal Facebook profile. Also, encourage your employees to add your business as their current workplace. This will bring more exposure to your business.
Join local groups
Search for relevant groups in your location and business industry. In those groups people are often referring local businesses to their peers and are sharing local events. Note that at the moment you can only join a group with your personal profile and not as a business. Share posts from your business page in groups when and where appropriate but don’t over do it. Start a conversation around the products and services you provide where it fits naturally because no one wants to be on web pages that blast them with ads. Make sure to read the group rules after joining because many groups doesn’t allow direct self promotion and you can be permanently banned if your pitch your products and services aggressively.
Engage with local influencers & advocates
Research for influencers in your area. Influencers could be journalists at the local newspaper, sports figures, the mayor, high-profile local bloggers, or anyone who has established himself as an expert within a specific field that is closely related to your business. They have acquired a massive and loyal group of followers who value their opinion. They can invoke awareness amongst their fans and compel them to action. However, the development and management of an influencer program can be time-consuming and tricky because of the lack of staffing, experience, or expertise. But don’t worry because you can activate your own brand advocates. Such can be highly satisfied customers who already have an existing good relationship with your company. Although your own advocates may have smaller audience in comparison to niche influencers they are often highly motivated to help your business and share their honest opinion and positive experience with your brand.
Engage with other local businesses
Interacting regularly with other local Facebook pages like sharing their posts, tagging them, and commenting on their posts is a fine way to be noticed by their followers and grow your audience.
Here’s a good example of tagging other local pages:
#2 Focus on Local Content
If you want to compete locally, you need to focus on generating local content on your Facebook page. Putting out relevant, authentic, and varied content allows your current clients and prospects to get to know you better, creates a relationship between you and them, and builds your brand as an authority in your field. Your goal is to maintain a healthy mix of different types of content, including:
- Text updates and links – Craft less formal and shorter posts. Share with your followers useful tips, interesting facts, local events, news related to your industry and company updates (for instance new product/service launches and new stores openings).
- Photos, animated GIFs and videos – Design good quality photos (the optimal size for images in Facebook’s news feed is 1200×630 pixels) and don’t forget to put your company logo on them. Show the human side of your company by sharing pictures of your team. Also, share how-to videos of people using your products/services or before & after photos. Encourage people to tag themselves in such photos and your page will enjoy higher user engagement and increased online visibility.
- Special offers – Create special discounts on Facebook and share them with your customers by using the “Offers” feature. It can help you increase your in- store or website visits and sales.
Go to your business page and select “Create an Offer” at the top of your Page’s Timeline and complete the details of your offer:
Example of a limited Facebook offer:
- Sponsored Posts – Create ads featuring promotions that you’re having at a particular business location:
- Product Reviews – Present the advantages of your business by politely asking users to share a review on your page or website about the products or services they were satisfied with. Then you can create Facebook posts by using these testimonials and images of the products.
The online store for dog products Pawstuck, for instance, shares engaging Facebook posts with positive customer reviews and high-quality images:
They also have created a special album with photos sent by satisfied clients:
- Ask questions that encourage users to talk, share ideas, information, for example:
- Open ended questions
- Fill in the blank questions
- Short questions that allow for quick and easy answers
- True or false
Orlando Eye Institute shared an eyesight test quizzing users about whether they can see a hidden number:
- Create local events – Together with sharing status updates related to current events like upcoming holidays, festivals, charity runs, job fairs, and conferences, try hosting local events like community-wide get-togethers, store’s holiday promotions, raising money for local people and causes. This shows your involvement with the local community and will help you create or strengthen your brand. See below how you can create an event on Facebook to inform your local audience:
Go to your business page and select “Create an Event” at the top of your Page’s Timeline and complete the details of your event:
Domu, a ramen restaurant in East End Market, organizes a neighborhood meetup every Wednesday
#3 Organize your Facebook uploads
Create specific photo albums for your products, company updates and events. Organizing your photos will help Facebook users navigate among them much more quickly. For example, if you own а small local coffee shop make one album for your special coffee drinks, one for tea, and one showing how people enjoy drinking your products.
#4 Don’t like your own updates
Instead encourage your employees to like, share, and comment on your posts in order to promote your content on Facebook and to increase the visibility and reach of your posts.
#5 Keep Your Page Up to Date
Create a content calendar and organize the way you create and post content. You can use this weekly content calendar template in order to keep your page up to date with content that is of interest of your local audience. Apart of the scheduled posts, it is also important to create real-time content to be always a part of the conversation.
#6 Use local hashtags
Think of hashtags as keywords and highlight the most important words related to your business in your posts. They are clickable links in your Page posts and any of your posts featuring a specific hashtag will show up on a feed of Facebook posts that include that hashtag. You can find currently trending hashtags in relation to your business and your location on Hashtagify.me. Additionally to the popular and high-traffic hashtags related to your industry you can create unique hashtags for your company or campaign. They can feature your business name, location, service, or a combination of them. Promote the hashtags both online and offline by including them into Facebook updates and promotional materials like flyers or posters. Encourage your clients to use them when uploading a picture of them while using your product or service. This will increase your Facebook visibility and boost your social shares.
An example of the top 10 hashtags generated by Hashtagift.me related to OptiLocal’s core business “Local SEO”:
#7 Respond to all comments and reviews on your page
Don’t ignore users’ messages or posts, especially the negative one, on your Page. Reply to all customer complaints and negative reviews promptly and respectfully. People tend to enjoy the entirely personal responses and get angry too quickly when team representatives direct them elsewhere to resolve their issues. Tag the user you want to reply to by using the @ symbol followed by the given user’s name. Never delete users’ comments and censor their opinion, this will only draw negative reactions and harm your business reputation. However, if you feel that a certain user’s comment is extremely offensive and vulgar, you can hide it. Thus, it will only be visible to the author and his friends. Otherwise, it’s always better to start a conversation with your customers and try to understand what their problems are and solve them. Demonstrate that you value their opinion.
#8 Encourage check-ins
If your business has a physical address where customers can go to, make sure to add it to your local business page. As a result people will be able to see and check into your page using Facebook Places. Use incentives like discounts, thank-you gifts, or free wi-fi to encourage people to check in while they’re at your store. This Facebook feature is another great way to spread the word about your business because one’s check-ins appear as updates on their friends’ news feeds.
#9 Learn about your local audience
Learn more about the locations, interests, demographics, and behaviors of the people who matter the most to your business with Facebook’s free tool Audience Insights. Unlike Page Insights where you can only check the interactions with your Page (i.e. likes, comments and shares), the Audience Insights looks at the trends about your current or potential customers across Facebook. Use the tool to target your ad campaigns more efficiently and to create better and more engaging content that will help your business grow.
To find this feature go to your Facebook Ads Manager and choose Audience Insights from the Plans dropdown menu.
Advertising on Facebook is also an essential component of a well-conceived social marketing strategy. And, because of this it deserves to be widely discussed. In our next blog post, we will deep dive into Facebook advertising, discuss the different Facebook ad campaigns and targeting options, and learn how to tune our local Facebook ads.
What techniques do you find effective to manage your Facebook page and to increase your local business visibility? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.