5 Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Local Small Businesses | Fastest Growing Social Platforms | Best Social Media Platforms for Home Service Businesses | Best Social Media Platforms for Automotive Service Businesses | Best Social Media Platforms for Restaurants, Cafes, and Coffee Shops | Best Social Media Platforms for Brick-and-Mortar Retail |
5 Questions to Ask to Identify the Right Social Media Channel for Your Business | Examples of Great Local Marketing on Social Media | Strategic Social Media Marketing Can Help You Exponentially Grow Your Business
Around 72% of the public uses some sort of social media, making it one of the most powerful marketing tools available to businesses. But the fact is that your audience is not likely to be on every platform. And that’s good news for you, because you can focus your time and money on just those social channels that will make the most impact with your audience.
To get started, let’s discuss what you can hope to gain by taking social media seriously.
5 Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Local Small Businesses
Source: Smart Insights
1. Brand Awareness: More People Know Who You Are.
Social media platforms are a fantastic way for local small businesses to introduce themselves to a larger audience. By sharing engaging content on popular social media sites, you can showcase your services, whether it's home services, automotive services, or something else entirely. Posting effectively will help more people learn about your business and can lead to increased interest and potential customers.
Brand awareness can be difficult to measure. But an example of social media brand awareness working for you is when people in your community know who you are before you reach out to them in your cold sales outreach.
2. Affordable Marketing & Advertising: It’s Easy to Do A Lot on a Small Budget.
One of the greatest advantages of social media marketing is its affordability. With little to no investment, local business owners can promote their services, engage with customers, and reach new clients. It’s an affordable way to advertise, and all it takes is implementing the right strategies and targeting the appropriate audience to achieve impressive results.
3. Increased Website Traffic: Social Media is a Great Referral Source for Your Website.
When done correctly, social media marketing can increase traffic to your website. The secret lies in creating compelling content that will encourage people to explore your website and learn more about what you have to offer.
To generate interest in your business, you can create blog posts, DIY videos, offer promotions, and post other valuable content on your social media channels.
4. Customer Engagement: There are More Ways for Customers to Interact with Your Business.
Social media offers local business owners the opportunity to connect with their customers in a more personal, interactive way. Through comments, direct messages, and online reviews, customers can share their thoughts, ask questions, and provide meaningful feedback. Engaging in meaningful conversations with your audience not only builds trust but can also foster long-lasting relationships that can drive repeat business.
5. Powerful Data: Social Media Gives Your Audience and Performance Insights that are Hard to Get Any Other Way.
One of the lesser-known benefits of social networks for small businesses is the wealth of data and insights it provides. When you take the time to analyze your social media performance, you can gain useful information about your audience's preferences, behavior, and demographics. This information can help you make smart decisions about your marketing efforts, making sure you successfully engage the right audience with the perfect message.
Fastest Growing Social Platforms
Everyone knows that the world of social media is always changing, with new platforms coming up and expanding into new markets. Here are some of the fastest-growing platforms that are becoming the best social media sites for small businesses.
Ever since TikTok came into existence, it snowballed into one of the most-used social networks, boasting over 1 billion monthly active users monthly. This short-form video platform lets users create, share, and discover 15 to 60-second videos, providing a fun and engaging way to interact with content. What’s more, it had the highest average time spent in-app in 2022, at 95 minutes, compared to second-place YouTube at 74 minutes.
Instagram continues to thrive, with more than 1.4 million active users. It’s a visually-focused platform for photos, videos, and Stories and has plenty of business features like Ads, Shoppable posts, and Shopping Tags. These features make it ideal for local businesses to showcase their products and services in an visual way. With all these tools at your disposal, it’s not a surprise that Instagram is the top social media platform for people to connect with brands.
Snapchat is known for its disappearing messages and unique filters, which is what makes it a fun and interactive space for users to connect with friends and brands. Its AR capabilities and innovative ad formats make it an attractive option for businesses looking to stand out from the competition.
For example, a home improvement business can use Snapchat’s Lens Creator to create an AR experience that allows users to virtually “try on” different paint colors in their homes before committing to any purchases. Over 75% of the Snapchat community engages with AR.
Pinterest is unique in that it’s a search engine rather than a traditional social media platform. It lets users discover, save, and buy products or services from businesses and acts as an excellent resource for inspiration-seekers.
With its visually appealing format and emphasis on DIY, home decor, and fashion, local businesses of any kind can showcase their services with pins linking directly to their website for easy purchase. In fact, Pinterest drives 10x higher off-platform brand searches compared to other platforms.
It’s also great for local businesses who want to target specific audiences based on interests, as Pinterest allows you to easily create boards based on topics related to your business or industry.
Best Social Media Platforms for Home Service Businesses
Home service businesses aren't typically known for their innovative use of social media, but that's exactly why the platforms are so important. As a home service business, you can take advantage of social media to promote your services, engage with customers, and build relationships with potential clients. Here are some of the best social media platforms for home service businesses:
Facebook has always been a powerhouse for businesses of all sizes. Its versatile features, such as Pages, Groups, Marketplace, and Ads, make it an ideal platform for home service businesses to reach a broad audience, share updates, and even generate leads.
By creating your own business page, you can effectively sell your services to potential customers in your service area. Customers can review your services, leave feedback, view photos, and even call and message your business through Messenger.
Nextdoor lets people offer recommendations and discuss local services, making it a perfect platform for home service businesses to establish a strong local presence. With 76% of neighbors having been influenced by a Nextdoor recommendation, it’s an excellent way to get your name out there and show local customers that you’re the go-to choice for home services.
If you’re specifically looking for a niche platform dedicated to home improvement, design, and remodeling, Houzz is your best bet. Its visual format and industry-specific focus offer a great opportunity for home service businesses to connect with homeowners seeking inspiration or professional services. On your professional profile, you can share project photos and videos, gather customer reviews, and attract potential clients curious about your services.
96% of marketers agree that videos help increase customer understanding of their service or product. YouTube is, therefore, the best video platform to share video content of your business and helpful tips with potential customers. Although it's a video platform, it’s also the second-largest search engine online. Whether you’re sharing how-to videos, customer testimonials, or behind-the-scenes clips, your videos have the chance to be seen by millions of potential customers.
Best Social Media Platforms for Automotive Service Businesses
Automotive service businesses, such as mechanics and body shops, should focus on the following platforms when building their social media presence:
Automotive service businesses can use Facebook to boost their visibility and connect with potential customers by creating a dedicated business Page, sharing regular updates, and engaging with their local community.
If you’re in the auto business, your business can demonstrate its expertise by showcasing before-and-after photos, offering promotions, and sharing helpful tips. Additionally, using Facebook Ads with targeted campaigns can help reach specific demographics and geographic areas.
Instagram offers the chance to post a mix of visually engaging content, which might be why 90% of people follow at least one business on the platform. Posting before-and-after transformations, behind-the-scenes looks, and expert tips through features like Stories, Reels, and IGTV, automotive businesses can provide a diverse range of content to keep their audience interested and informed.
Because there are so many ways to grow your business, you can get creative and try something new. It can be useful to think outside the box, try new trends, and break out of stereotypes.
The unique thing about Twitter is that it’s a real-time platform where businesses and people share updates, news, and promotions in 280 characters or less. For automotive businesses, Twitter can be an effective tool for engaging with customers, answering questions, and sharing updates and industry news. To be successful on the platform, it’s recommended to actively participate in relevant conversations and post a blend of text posts, videos, and photos.
A bonus fact is that only 43% of marketers use Twitter, meaning that there will likely be less competition for attention than other platforms.
Automotive service businesses can leverage YouTube to their advantage by creating a variety of engaging and informative videos that cater to their audience's interests. Types of videos can include how-to guides, showcasing repair or maintenance techniques, customer testimonials to build trust, and even behind-the-scenes footage to humanize your brand.
Don't be afraid to add a touch of humor or a fun tone to your videos, as this can create a more memorable experience for viewers, making them more likely to share your content and recommend your services.
With YouTube Shorts, you can create short-form videos with a maximum length of 60 seconds. Receiving over 50 billion views daily, Shorts are great for sharing quick clips, updates, and other timely content to your audience quickly.
Best Social Media Platforms for Restaurants, Cafes, and Coffee Shops
Let's explore the best platforms that can help restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops showcase their exciting offerings and attract a steady stream of customers.
With its visually-focused interface, Instagram is a perfect platform for restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops to display their appetizing dishes and beautifully crafted beverages. There are so many tactics you can use, including commenting on user posts your business is tagged in, resharing stories, creating contests, and simply sharing eye-catching photos.
Collaborations with food influencers can also help establishments increase their reach and create a buzz around their offerings. Instagram was the most-used influencer marketing platform in the US in 2022.
Facebook offers a diverse range of features, like Pages, Groups, and Events, which can be invaluable for businesses in the food and beverage industry. Restaurants and cafes can share updates, promotions, and special events, as well as interact with their customers through comments and reviews. Facebook Ads can also be a powerful tool, helping businesses target specific demographics and drive foot traffic to their establishments.
Yelp is a popular platform for users to discover new places to eat and drink, making it a must-use for those in the food industry. After claiming their business pages, owners can share information about their establishment, respond to reviews, and even offer promotions. With a strong Yelp presence, businesses can build their reputation, attract more customers, and gain an increase in revenue as ratings go up.
Because food is such a visual subject, Pinterest is the perfect platform for restaurants and cafes. In fact, food is actually the largest category on the site, with 15 billion Pins and counting.
Other than making curated boards with striking images of your physical business location and your food, there are other ways to engage with people on the platform. You can create recipe boards, post your menu, and add user-generated content, to name a few. Pinterest can help drive traffic to your website, where potential customers can explore your offerings and even make reservations.
Best Social Media Platforms for Brick-and-Mortar Retail
Just because you have a physical location doesn’t mean that you should neglect social media. Brick-and-mortar stores can benefit significantly from these platforms. Let’s go over some of them here.
Facebook’s array of features, such as Pages, Groups, and Marketplace, can all greatly benefit brick-and-mortar retail stores. Retailers can share promotions, publicize in-store events, and encourage people to visit the store. Facebook Ads can also be a great tool to target specific demographics in the local area and encourage them to visit the store, boosting in-store success.
With its many features and visual appeal, there are lots of aspects of Instagram that retailers can take advantage of. For instance, Instagram Stories offer an engaging way to share behind-the-scenes content, promotions, and store events, creating a more personal connection with customers.
The platform's shopping features also allow businesses to tag products in their posts, making it easy for users to discover and learn more about the items they're interested in. Every month, 130 million people tap on an Instagram shopping post, so there’s no better place to set up your online shop front.
As well, leveraging strategic hashtags and collaborating with influencers can significantly increase a store's reach, helping to generate buzz around their products and store location.
Pinterest is an exceptional social media platform for physical retail stores, thanks to its visuals and inspiration-driven nature. Through eye-catching pins and curated boards featuring products, store displays, and styling ideas, retailers can spark interest and connect with a wider audience.
The platform's search functionality, powered by relevant keywords, allows users to discover new stores and products that align with their interests. Pinterest can drive traffic to your website, where potential customers can explore your offerings and find information about your physical store, ultimately encouraging them to visit and make purchases in person.
Snapchat is interactive and dynamic, an app where retailers can capture their audience's attention in a fun, casual manner. The location-based filters and geofencing features let retailers target potential customers in their local area, encouraging them to visit the store, while Stories can create a sense of urgency with their 24-hour time limit.
If you really want to get creative, you can develop interactive, branded augmented reality lenses that users can apply to their snaps. These lenses can promote products, sales, or events in a new way, encouraging users to share with their friends. There are even Lens Insights so you can see how well you’re engaging users.
5 Questions to Ask to Identify the Right Social Media Channel for Your Business
1. What Do I Want to Accomplish on Social Media?
To choose the right platform, you have to start by defining your social media goals. These can include increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, or generating leads.
Consider social media ROI metrics to measure the success of your efforts and ensure you're focusing on the right objectives. Some popular ones include reach, traffic, leads, customers, and conversion rate.
2. Where are My Customers Most Active?
Identify the platforms where your target audience spends the most time. Research demographics and user behaviors for each platform to determine which ones are most likely to help you reach your ideal customers. For example, if your target audience is primarily younger, platforms like Instagram or Snapchat may be more suitable than LinkedIn.
3. What is the Best Kind of Content That Demonstrates My Products and Services?
Different platforms cater to different content types, so you’ll want to pick formats that best show off what you’re offering. For visually appealing products, Instagram or Pinterest might be ideal, while LinkedIn is better suited for B2B services. Consider the type of content that will resonate with your audience and highlight your products or services effectively.
4. What are My Competitors Doing?
Analyze the social media strategies of your competitors to gain insights into what works and what doesn't. Observe their content, engagement, and follower growth to identify trends and opportunities that you can incorporate into your own strategy. This can give you a competitive edge and help you stand out in your industry.
5. What Resources Do I Have to Create and Maintain Social Media Content?
Finally, consider the resources you have available to create and manage your social media presence. This includes time, budget, and expertise. Choose a platform that aligns with your resources, allowing you to consistently produce high-quality content and engage with your audience. Remember, it's better to excel on one or two platforms than to spread yourself too thin across multiple channels.
If you’re working with paid ads, for instance, you can check out the average cost per click (CPC) on Facebook ads in your industry. While the average CPC is $1.68, Food and Beverage is significantly lower at $0.42 and much higher in the Finance industry at $3.89.
Source: Sprout Social
If you're short on time or staff or lack expertise in managing your social media presence, you could consider investing in professional social media management services. By outsourcing this task, you can ensure consistent, engaging content while freeing up valuable time to focus on other aspects of your business.
The cost of these services can vary, depending on the level of support, platform coverage, and additional features such as content creation and advertising. Most providers, around 24%, charge $500 - $900 for their services, while 15% (the second highest percentage) charge $1000 - $1499.
Examples of Great Local Marketing on Social Media
Facebook - The Magnolia Public House
Let’s take a look at this example in a group called Hubbard Front Porch Chat. This user-generated post was shared with members of the group, directly engaging with members of the community.
The post also has plenty of visual appeal, as well as a positive personal recount of the poster’s experience. It even encouraged community members to comment and interact with the business owner, increasing curiosity about the business.
Instagram - Murphy Door
This Instagram Reel allows people to connect on a personal level with the people behind the business while the entertaining and lighthearted music and how-to format capture viewers’ attention. The post highlights the unique products and services available at the business, giving customers a glimpse of what they can expect and pique their interest to explore further.
They also use a targeted approach with relevant hashtags and geotags in the post to increase visibility to potential local customers.
TikTok - Princess Uche
Bridal hairstylist and makeup artist Princess Uche uses TikTok to take us through a day in her life working on a Zimbabwean and Kenyan wedding. Using a combination of videos of herself and her early morning start, getting the bride ready, and the striking video clips of the wedding itself gives viewers a deep insight into the process and her expertise.
The behind-the-scenes look and informative voiceover create great engagement, and the hashtags used help the video reach new audiences.
Strategic Social Media Marketing Can Help You Exponentially Grow Your Business.
Regardless of which industry your local business is in, social media is key to expanding your customer base and increasing engagement. With the right strategy and platforms, you can find potential customers, generate leads, increase brand awareness, engage with your customer base, and drive sales. All it takes is time and effort – so take the time to research which social media platforms will work best for your local business and get creative.