5 free ways to use Facebook to get more local customers
Updated: Nov 3, 2017
Over half the UK population has a Facebook account so it makes sense your business has one too. Facebook is a powerful platform to connect with your local customers. Social media marketing is about building trust and engaging with your customers. With good engagement, sales will follow.
Optimise your page settings
It might seem obvious, but you want to make it easy for people to find you. Check you've completed your page information. Are your street address and opening hours correct? Have you written your location in the free text 'description' field? Have you included relevant business keywords?
Make sure your cover photo reflects your organisation's personality. Consider an inviting photo of your shop's interior showing customers enjoying themselves or an enticing picture of the product you sell. If your product isn't photogenic, create a cover which highlights your service or a special offer. Change your cover photo seasonally to keep your page looking fresh and relevant.
Be part of the community
Join and contribute to relevant Facebook groups. Join local groups, most towns have them, where people talk about local issues. These are the perfect places to increase your visibility and network. It's about being an active member and engaging with your community, it's not about overtly promoting your business. In due course you'll get the opportunity to chip in with your service/product in a conversational way.
At the moment you can only join a Facebook group with your personal profile and not your business page.
People love to see photos and videos of their local area, especially if it's something different. Capture and share visuals of your premises, customers and local events. Why not take a short video of the local busker? He might have a facebook page and be grateful for the exposure- perfect for cross promotion. Use a hashtag to highlight the location and tag people and local businesses who feature. The more you highlight your local area, the more likely that your local community will engage.
Make sure your all your Facebook updates are accompanied by a picture; posts without are likely to get lost and rarely get much engagement.
Promote exclusive offers on your Facebook page and your customers will see the value of being a fan. Pin current offers/voucher codes to the top of your page so they don't get lost down the news feed.
You can create an offer within Facebook, it's free, but there's the option to pay to promote it. People will see it in their news feed and can choose to save it. Once saved, Facebook will notify them when it's about to expire to remind them to use it. The offer can be set for 'in store only' so they can bring it to your premises to redeem in person. If location sharing is enabled on their phone they'll be reminded to use your offer when they are near your premises. .
Get your customers to connect with you
When customers visit your premises, encourage them to like your Facebook page and 'check-in'. When someone 'checks-in', their friends will see. Most people trust their friends' judgement and will likely remember your business when they need a similar service. Anyone who checks in somewhere is encouraged by Facebook to leave a review the next day - valuable feedback, and all it costs is an ask.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you use Facebook insights to track what works best for your page and to see if you are engaging with your target audience.
Alison Ellerbrook delivers social media management and content creation for small businesses in Northumberland and North East England. www.singinghinny.com