The Impact of Social Media On Local Businesses

Local Social Media and Business Impact

Today, 71% of local businesses are active on Social Media. In fact, most businesses heavily rely on social media to achieve their goals. We are so used to hearing this that we do not know the actual impact of social media on local businesses.

In the course of this article, we’ll highlight the positive influence of social media specifically on local businesses in two categories.

However, first it is important to shed more light on what we mean by local businesses in order to get the full gist of the article.

What Is Local Business?

A local business is any physical business that heavily relies on a nearby population to physically transact business in the form of goods or services.

Unlike online businesses where physical meeting and transaction is not compulsory or necessary, it is the most important driving force for a local or brick-and-mortar business.

As you may know, social media exists online. But we’ll see how it affects a local business's in-person interactions.

The Major Impact of Social Media On Local Business

The most important factor is that social media helps businesses connect with potential customers around them who are active on social media, irrespective of the platform.

Facebook is the leading social media platform today, so it is logical to use it as a case study here. However, the same principles apply to all other social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Therr.

According to Webfx, here is some key information about Facebook that could impact how a local business operates:

  • There are over 200 million businesses on Facebook.
  • About 3 million businesses actively advertise on Facebook.
  • Facebook Messenger is being used by about 75% of marketers to engage with their audience.

The point here is that a vast majority of businesses exist on social media for good reason. Many also regularly run ads there. Social media platforms have a positive impact on all businesses, including local businesses, and skipping out would be a big missed opportunity.

To be candid, there are many ways a business can connect with its potential audience via Social Media; some are more effective than others.

Now let’s take a broader look at this.

How A Local Business Can Take Advantage of Social Media

Basically, there are two major ways a business can take advantage of social media to connect with its audience:

  1. Organic method ("word-of-mouth")
  2. Paid Advertising

I. Organic method (word-of-mouth)

All forms of content published on social media that does not involve paid ads are considered organic. Hence, local businesses can connect with their audience by regularly publishing organic content on Social Media. It’s important to be consistent and connect with your target audience.

What should a local business post about? Here are 5 things local businesses can post about on Social Media:

1. Humorous, Business-related Content: Avoid being too sales-y on social media. Publishing humorous content can help keep a great community of local audiences. Comedy is universal.

While posting humorous content is good, ensure that it is related to your business, or else your audience may not find the content engaging.

2. Unique Selling Points of Products or Services: It is important to let your local audience know how your product or service is different from competitors.

This should be communicated in a social way. Again, avoid the sales pitch. In today’s age, social media users are not privy to ad-speak, and they will quickly scroll past this type of content.

3. Promo or any current offer: Social media audiences need to know when you have a new offer or promo. Everybody loves to find the best deals and save money.

4. Local Audience Content: On social media, publish local content unique to your business environment, state, or city. Local social media is a rising star these days.

For example, post content that would appeal to only people living in a particular city or content tagged at a popular location nearby.

5. Trivia or Quiz: It is important for a local business to publish trivia questions and quizzes on social media as it drives engagement. More engagement means more visibility.

Of course, these quizzes have to be very much relevant to your local business or audience.

II. Paid Advertising

Advertising on social media is another great way that a local business can reach potential customers who live or work around the locality of their business. When implemented well, social media paid ads can be a game-changer for any local business because you can target people who are around your business and need your service.

Keep in mind that location targeting usually applies to where people live, not where they are or where they shop. You may find more accurate and real-time location targeting with local social media apps like Therr or Foursquare City Guide.

Of course, there are several social media platforms where ads can be run. Facebook/Instagram and Pinterest have a very high conversion rate especially when you are selling a physical product.

Moreover, Facebook accounts for over 2 billion people as of 2021, therefore, it is a social media platform you must be advertising on. Few other social media platforms can boast of such numbers. Despite the shaky media frenzy and current Meta stock price, user numbers don’t lie.

If you are ever in doubt about how to successfully set up and run your Facebook ads to drive foot traffic to your physical office or store, watch the video below. Again, use the same strategy with any social platform. Use multiple platforms to reach the most customers.

Here are 5 more options for paid advertising on social media:

  1. Instagram: Attract social influencers
  2. Twitter: Become a conversation starter for related communities
  3. Reddit: Target users by their specific interests
  4. NextDoor: Great for reaching customers where they live
  5. Therr: Perfect for reaching locals or tourists where they are in real-time or where they have frequently visited

The Impact of Organic Social Media Content On Local Businesses

Organic social media content has a positive impact on local businesses as it helps them build a close-knit relationship with their audience on social media.

Such a relationship sustained over time can convince your social media audience to visit your office or store.

The Impact of Social Media Ads On A Local Business

Social Media ads cost money, but when done properly, they can be a major source of getting targeted foot traffic that your local business needs to make a healthy return on investment.

It is also important to mention that with ads, a local business is likely going to reach a cold audience who knows nothing about your business. It’s great for user acquisition. Unless you are offering something very peculiar, this type of audience does not convert in their first encounter with your ad, so repetition is key.

Sometimes, it may be wise to run ads on social media to get followers first while you build rapport with them over time with organic content.

Final Thought

Overall, it is clear that social media platforms have a positive influence on local businesses.

The positive impact is in two categories: organic and paid ads.

In a nutshell, every local business must take advantage of these social media platforms to drive targeted foot traffic to their storefront, event space, etc.

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