If your local area is famous for hosting events that bring in the masses, did you know you can use this to your advantage in order to promote your business online? Not only will it increase your brand awareness, it could also help to generate fresh custom as new audiences flood your local area.
Here in Shropshire for example, between June and August alone, thousands of people gather from far and wide to visit Shrewsbury’s Food Festival, Flower Show and Folk Festival. This is a massive opportunity for businesses within Shropshire to capitalise on this increase in tourists and promote their services to a new crowd.
Whilst this post may be more relevant to companies that benefit from tourism (such as hotels, pubs, restaurants, taxis, gift shops etc), any business can use the methods we mention, along with a little creativity to work the topic back round to your specific industry.
One of the most important things to focus on in local online marketing is whether your NAP is correct. By this, we mean Name, Address and Phone number.
So one of the first things you should be doing is checking all your social media platforms, directory listings and Google My Business page to make sure your contact details are present and correct.
Google My Business
Next, because of Google’s Pigeon algorithm, businesses must ensure they are achieving a prominent place within the maps and local listings of search engines, particularly for when a user enters a query for a service or a venue, together with a location (e.g. “Baker Shropshire”).
If you’ve read our blog post about Google’s Pigeon update, you will know that having a presence on Google My Business is essential for local marketing.
By the way, if you’re unaware of what Pigeon is, we strongly recommend you take a look at that post now before we go any further. Go ahead, we’ll wait…
So now you know how vital it is to get your business ranking in Google’s local listings, take a look at your Google My Business page (or create/claim one if you haven’t already) and optimise it to make sure it contains your target keywords and a few images of your business and/or services to help it stand out.
If you can, gather reviews for your page too. Speak to a few of your regular, local customers and ask if they would be kind enough to write a few words about your business and its products or services.
Whilst it’s good to gather testimonials anyway, it’s even more important when preparing for an upcoming event; people visiting from out of town may not necessarily know your local area and will be looking online for help on where to go during their stay. If they come across your business and see lots of glowing reviews, you can almost guarantee you’re going to stick in their minds as a place to visit.
If you’re already using Facebook, chances are a lot of local people will be fans of your page and it’s very likely they will have heard of (and are probably even attending) local events. Tell them about your association with the event and, if relevant, how it can benefit them. If it’s something like a discount or a competition to promote your relationship with the event, your post may be liked, shared and commented on. All of this will help to spread your post that little further, helping you to reach a new audience.
If you’re happy to spend a little money in the process, Facebook’s advertising platform is good for targeting a specific audience. In this instance, you could refine your adverts to only target people that have shown an interest in the event or liked the official Facebook page.
We’ve had a long, hard think about this, but we think it’s time. Time for us to share with you our dirty little secret…
When it comes to social media marketing, we think Twitter is better than all the rest.
Online marketing companies may not supposed to have a preference, as all the platforms can be equally effective if used correctly, but we just can’t help it. There are so many features on Twitter that enable you to reach a much larger audience. And for a business wanting to get their name out there, it really is a must.
Not only is there no restriction on who will see your content, with direct mentions, retweets and hashtags, one small tweet can be seen by thousands more users; not just those accounts that are following you.
For the upcoming events in your area, be sure to search for official Twitter accounts and hashtags. Then use these within your tweets as this is more likely to generate retweets.
Take a look, for example, at these local businesses that are doing a great job tweeting about the upcoming Shrewsbury Flower Show. Not only are they getting their names out there, they’re also linking themselves to the upcoming event in some way, whether it’s a gentle reminder that they’ll be at the show, or a prompt for people to use their services in preparation for the event.
Prince and Taliesin about to leave Porthmadog this morning with the 60th anniversary train pic.twitter.com/5WNJkK7Fxw— Ffestiniog Railway (@festrail) August 3, 2015
As you can see, each one has directly mentioned the official Shrewsbury Flower Show Twitter account and made it visually appealing by using an image. Their efforts pay off, as you can see, because each one has received numerous favourites and retweets. And, similarly with Facebook, this will mean the posts appear in others’ newsfeeds; people who otherwise may not have known the businesses even existed.
What you should do now
Now you know what to do, it’s time to plan ahead and find out when you need to do it. Spend a little time researching events taking place in your local area.
Don’t be afraid to broaden the radius if you need to. Let’s say, for instance, you own a hotel and an annual event takes place in the next county across from you. Even though you’re not within the immediate vicinity, the influx of tourists around that time means you’re always busy accommodating guests. As long as it still affects you or your area in some way, there’s no problem with piggy-backing a little.
If you’ve already missed a popular event, don’t worry. Create a content calendar for the year ahead and add it to the list. Not only will you be prepared next time the event comes round, it’s also a pretty handy way of keeping track of everything that’s going to affect your business in some way.
On the other hand, if the next event is right around the corner, now’s the time to act. Take a look at your Google My Business, Facebook and Twitter pages to see where improvements can be made. Act on quick fixes – is the address right? Are your opening hours correct? Is there a prominent telephone number for people to contact you on?
Once the basics have been sorted, start discussing the upcoming events in your social media channels. Tweet about whether you’ll be attending. Ask your Facebook fans whether they’ll be coming.
Finally, separate yourself from the crowd. Chances are many other companies in your local area will be focusing on this event too; what makes your business different from the others? Are you offering a discount to attendees? Do you have a unique, must-have product for attendees that can’t be found anywhere else?
And don’t forget, when posting to Twitter, directly mention the event’s official account and add a great, eye-catching image for that extra visibility.
Categories: Articles, Business, On-line Marketing, Social Media, SEO