Businesses all over the world are using social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to connect with customers, clients and colleagues. Many of the larger companies have masses of followers from various parts of the country, but many local companies are having trouble finding customers within a close proximity to their business. Here are five ways to connect locally:
1. Start with who you know
Post signs in your business, add a blurb to a receipt and add links on your Web site to your social media pages. Your current customers know who you are—and, if they really like you, they’ll be happy to become a fan or follow your updates.
2. Start a local group
Start a local group on Facebook, LinkedIn or other relevant social networking site (many have the ability to form groups). Steer clear of self-serving groups that talk about your business and create something that users will find interesting and engaging. Don’t forget to search for existing groups in your area.
3. Tweet locally
For readers who use Twitter, the popular social networking tool allows you to search within a certain radius of a location. Use Twitter’s advanced search to find other local users who may be a good fit with your business or organization. Don’t forget to follow local publications—many publications use Twitter to crowd-source questions and keep an ear to the ground for new stories.
4. Keep your eyes on location-based social networking sites
Not as popular as Facebook or Twitter, there are many other social networking sites that allow users to post notes to a location or see where other people are posting from. Some popular websites include Google’s Latitude, BriteKite, Loopt and Tumblr. Check out some of the networks to see what kind of activity you see in your neighborhood and make an educated decision before diving in.
5. Connect in Person
Use you new connections and take the conversation offline. Set up a local tweet-up and get to know the people in your networks and groups.