Harris Interactive just released the results from research they conducted for Buddy Media that studied the most effective tactics for reaching local market customers. Are you surprised that having Fans on Facebook is low on the list? I’m not. Fans of a business either work at the company, or are looking for sales and coupons. In general, advertising to Fans is like advertising to those who are already in your “store”. Yes, you need to do it — they are part of your social network and play an important role as Brand Ambassadors. But the point is that you shouldn’t expect to get too many fresh new customers via your Facebook wall unless you’re allowing your fans to forward coupons and promotions.
The study concluded that the most influential tactic used to reach the local market was putting local content on your website or blog. In fact, 69% of Brand Managers thought this tactic was effective, 62% believed print advertising was effective, and 59% believed that hosting an event was effective. What’s important to note here is that the only tactic that does not cost much money at all is posting local content.
So what does posting local content have to do with selling your product to a local market? Well, not much, directly. Writing about an upcoming charity race is not going to lead people into your business. What it does do, however, is give your business (your brand) a local personality. It tells readers you’re an active part of their community. It gives them confidence in your reputation, and that you treat people well. And it provides readers with a virtual introduction to what you do and how you can help them, either now or in the future.
So when it comes to promoting yourself via social media and on the web, don’t just think in terms of pushing your products or services. Think about your market’s desire to see you as one of them, serving their needs and their neighbor’s needs in any way you can help.