More than half of all respondents to an eMarketer survey said that they prefer patronizing local businesses because it helps their community thrive. Being seen as a vital, engaged part of the neighborhood is important to many business owners.
Social media is uniquely valuable as a tool to showcase your community commitment while strengthening the bonds you have with customers, local officials, local media, and other people it’s good to be close to. Strategically posting content that highlights your community and the people who live there is smart local marketing. Here are some good best practices to keep in mind:
Keep It Positive
It’s better to post images of beautiful local scenery rather than any eyesores, including distressed properties and damaged infrastructure. Community events, such as fairs, parades or bike races, are of interest to many people. Highlight the things you love about your neighborhood and what makes it special. Make sure to clearly identify where the pictures were taken, and include hashtags of your community’s name on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest posts and to tag any other local businesses that may be in the shot.
Highlight Local Causes
Business owners are continually being approached by worthy neighborhood causes that need support. While it’s impossible to donate to every cause, you can share information about local causes via your social media. Some companies post this type of content in a branded graphic once a week – generally on the Friday before weekend fundraising events – and have found that their community likes and shares these posts enthusiastically.
Community oriented content should be a regular, but not overwhelming, part of your content mix. Devoting 1-2 posts per platform weekly is appropriate for most local businesses; that being said, if you have a lot going on in your community or tons of fantastic pictures and video, post more frequently.
Coordinate with Local Media
Local television affiliates and newspapers have a never-ending need for positive images and content about the communities they cover. At a minimum, tag local media in social media posts that feature compelling imagery; it doesn’t hurt to get in the habit of submitting imagery and videos to local media directly. When they use your content, you’ll enjoy much greater reach than you can get on your own. Just make sure you use your business name when identifying yourself as a contributor!
It Takes Time to Build Community
Think about talking about your community on social media as part of a long-term campaign. It takes a long time to build a community in real life; establishing your reputation as a town booster can take a while online. Consistent, positive efforts will pay off in terms of raised awareness and name recognition in your community – a huge factor when word-of-mouth referrals still matter to local businesses!