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  • Writer's pictureIndigo Dawn

Local Business Owners: Stop Using Social Media WRONG!

By the end of this post, you’ll learn 3 actionable ways to increase your local foot traffic and get more paying customers using social media without driving yourself absolutely crazy trying to figure out where to start.

I hear it all the time from local small business owners -- “Social media doesn’t work to get new customers into my business...” -- giving the lame “we do mostly word-of-mouth…” justification.

The only reason why social media doesn’t work for you is because you’re doing it wrong for your business. But it’s not your fault. See, most strategies you see floating around out there aren’t set up to get more local customers into your door.

A restaurant or a spa isn’t going to use social media to market in the same way a coach or consultant would to get clients and customers. So that’s exactly what you’re going to get here. Social media marketing ideas that work to bring local businesses more foot traffic and more paying customers, month after month.

Whether your business is a restaurant, a gym, a salon, a night club, a dentist, bowling alley, a car dealership, or any other business that depends on getting butts in seats… you can use these strategies immediately and start seeing real, palatable results within the very first week.

Below we’ll take a quick look at 3 strategies you can use to increase your social media ROI to grow and scale your local business.

3 Actionable Ways To Get More Customers Using Social Media

1- Themed Days & Events

Most local small businesses have some sort of theme days already going on at their establishment -- Taco Tuesday, Women’s Wednesday, things like that.

If you want to use social media to get more eyes on your theme days or events, obviously one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to do it is to create Events on Facebook.

Pretty much everyone does it, right? Yes… but not everyone does it right.

While simply creating the event on FB will help it show up in your local market’s newsfeeds and the Facebook Local app, there’s a few more things you can do with your themes and events to really maximize the potential for turning that newsfeed view into an actual paying customer.

Using the Taco Tuesday example: You create a Facebook event for it, invite all your friends, and encourage them to share. That’s where most people stop and assume they’ve done enough.

Now’s when you get creative with your promos and start targeting specific groups to make your Taco Tuesday stand out from all the rest. Inside the Event, you could put up a post that says something like:

“Taco Tues 🌮 Teacher’s Treat 🎁! In addition to our regular $2 Taco specials -- All TEACHERS that check-in to our location during Taco Tuesday gets an extra 10% OFF their total! Tag a teacher who loves TACOS! 🌮”

Now you can boost that post for a few bucks from inside the event and specifically target teachers, which will get you way more bang for your buck when it comes to ROI on however much you budget for the boost.

Make sense?

And this works for every local business targeting any local audience in every niche that relies on generating foot traffic. Just come up with some creative ideas for your promos and you’ll see how easy it is to leverage social media to benefit your bottom line.

2- Contests, Games, & Incentives

Here’s the logic: People love winning things. People love rewards. People are going to spend their money somewhere anyways, so why not spend it at a place that’s gonna reward them and let them win things.

It’s simple.

There’s a ton of ways you could entice consumers to come and spend their money with you, but it sure makes it easier when they’re incentivized to do it though some type of contest, game, or rewards program.

Some obvious incentives businesses use are things like gift certificates for a product or service or maybe a loyalty reward like ‘Buy 5, get the 6th Free’.

They’re pretty standard, though, and you may have a hard time standing out from competitors who are offering something similar.

You can do a few things to enhance your gamification and give your customers a chance to win some really juicy prizes.

Sticking with the “Taco Tuesday Teacher’s Treat” scenario from earlier, another post you could boost on your event page would look something like:

Teachers 🍎 + Tacos 🌮 = Travel 🏖! Every teacher who checks-in during Taco Tuesday this month, along with an extra 10% OFF your total, you’ll also be entered into a drawing to win a complimentary Luxury 3-5 Night Vacation to one of 15 U.S. destinations OR Cancun (depending on how far you want to go!). Each check-in gets you another entry and increases the chances YOU will be one of our big winners! Oh! Did I forget to mention we’re giving away 3 vacays this month?! Tag a teacher you love if you think they need a vacay and come on in for some tacos!

I know what you’re thinking… “Who the hell has the money to be giving away vacations like that?!?”

Don’t flip out! It’s easier than you think!

You see, the times have shifted and things that used to only be available to large corporations, like free vacations and travel savings, are now made available to “the little guys” to use in their own business.

I don’t want to get too far off track here, but you can learn more about how I’m able to give my clients free vacations here.

There’s tons of gamification software out there for you to create games or contests or raffles to get more engagement with your local business and you could always get our agency to help you out.

3- Digital Word-of-Mouth Advertising

You’ll notice in the earlier examples, I mentioned that teachers should “check in” to receive that extra 10% off and be entered into the drawing for the luxury vacation incentive.

That check-in is free word-of-mouth gold in Facebook’s eyes!

Every time a person checks in to your business or location, Facebook views it as a personal recommendation from them and that’s what they love to show in the newsfeeds of that person’s family members and friends, more than a regular post from a business page.

Now, lots of businesses already have people checking in to their business all the time, especially restaurants, gyms, spas, salons, and clubs … but not even 1% of local businesses are maximizing the true power of those check-ins as the free advertising it really is.

Facebook is giving you free digital real estate in newsfeeds of up to 250 people, all because of a single check-in!

But here’s the thing… when someone checks in to a business, it shows up in their own timeline, but it doesn’t show up on the business’ page.

A great way to maximize those check-ins AND have a steady stream of posts for your business page without having to create any content is to simply re-share them to your page AND make sure you engage with the customer on the posts!

If you don’t know how to find and re-share those check-ins, I show you how in this blog post.

So how do you get people checking-in to your business consistently?

Of course, by using the methods I already discussed earlier in this post -- themed events with awesome promotions and juicy incentives -- and also the easiest method of all … You ask them.

Look, here’s the deal… most people are already gonna be on their phones during their visit.

This is how you get the most out of it!

Something as simple as a small tabletop flyer or tent card that says something like “Check In & Get 10% Off” placed where your customers can clearly see them (like on countertops, tables where guests sit, and near cash registers) is all you need to prompt a visitor to pull out their phone and check in to your business.

You’ll want to keep your check-in promotions fresh and fun to not only get new customers engaged but also to keep your current customers excited to come back again and again.

*Bonus* VIP / Birthday Club

Speaking of getting new customers while keeping your current ones engaged, having an exclusive VIP club or a Birthday Club is a must-have for local businesses.

Granted, most companies do already have some sort of Birthday or VIP Club going for their current customers, but nothing really set up for using their birthday club program to bring in NEW customers.

Question… Did you know you could create a Facebook ad that targets only people within 20 miles of you who are celebrating a birthday within the next 7 days? Or maybe an anniversary or a new job and many other Life Events people talk about on FB?

All you have to do as a local small business owner, is come up with a creative and compelling birthday or VIP offer that’s sure to entice your target audience (i.e. someone with an upcoming birthday) to visit your business.

If you have a restaurant, your ad could be for a free birthday meal up to a certain amount. Couldn’t a travel agent, or an event planner, a salon, or even a gym have an awesome promotion that targets newly engaged couples in their ad?

Your audience is making plenty of buying decisions based on their life events and FB is giving you a way to reach them at exactly the right time (if you know how to capitalize on it).

The key to effective birthday club advertising is in the follow up and you need to set it up so that the leads from your Facebook ads turn into actual customers.

If you wanna know more about how you can use any or all of these strategies or talk about getting yourself fully set up and ready to go, let us know here and let’s do it!

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