Endeavoring to market local brick-and-mortar businesses organically (non-paid) is actually fairly simple when you take advantage these 3 free tools: Instagram, Google My Business and Facebook.
How one local business managed to increase Facebook reach when others were losing theirs…
You may have read — and I’ve written on the subject — that due to Facebook’s algorithm change of March, 2018, it’s harder for business pages to get the reach they used to get. Even if you had thousands of likes, when you posted something, the reach was significantly lower than it used to be.
Imagine my surprise when a former client of mine re-hired me to help increase his SEO and I reviewed his website analytics and Facebook insights and saw that the likes on his page had increased substantially as well as the reach. Why? Because he followed my advice since he first open.
The business is Simply Smashing Rage Room — yes, it’s a place where you go to break stuff and release your anxieties, anger, stress and frustrations. When someone comes in, he asks them to check in on Facebook and then gives them extra breakables — bottles, plates, etc.
Before you start implementing any marketing efforts, you want to make sure your Facebook business page is 100% complete and branded well.
What Checking-In on Facebook Accomplishes
- Users are posting on their personal timeline tagging the business. Facebook’s algorithm change gives more visibility to people’s posts rather than direct posts from business pages. If he just took pictures and posted them on his page, he wouldn’t get the same reach. Doing this, however, all the person’s friends and followers have a better chance of seeing the post. Usually they post a video or picture with the check-in which makes it more eye-catching.
- On the business page, it shows that the person checked in. The more check-ins you have the better. This increases “social proof”.
- The person’s friends comment on the post. Then the person usually replies with, “You’ve got to try it!” or “It’s awesome!” Now who can resist that? The more comments you get, the more people see it, because the friends of friends see the comments.
How Other Brick-and-Mortars can use Facebook Check-ins:
This would require some sort of flyer or promotion when a customer walks in and your staff knowing how to promote it and what to look for once the person checks-in. They need to show a staff member the check-in before they get their incentive.
- Restaurants: Free cookie, drink, appetizer, side, desert, etc.
- Clothing stores: $x off or some sort of freebie promotional product
- Spas: $x off, an add-on, extra time, etc.
- Fitness: Free drink, energy bar, etc.
You get the idea. Give the customer an incentive and they’ll happily check-in. If you need help thinking about how your business can incorporate this, book a free 15-minute phone consult right here.
Google My Business & Google Maps
If you haven’t already, you need to set up a Google My Business (GMB) account. Fill out all the pertinent information. If you’re new, your location will have to be verified. Google will send you a postcard, by postal mail to your location, with a pin number. When you get the card, go to your account and find where it is “Verify” and enter the pin number.
Posting regularly on Google My Business will help with your SEO. What you post will show up next to Google search engine results page (SERP) when someone googles the name of your business.
Instagram now has a business account option for local businesses — the ability to add the location. This makes it very easy to market your local business.
If you already have a regular Instagram account or are setting one up, tap on the 3 lines in the top right of your profile then select Settings at the bottom. Tap on “Business account”. From there you can add your physical address, hours, phone, etc. When someone takes a picture or video at your place of business, they can tag the location. Moreover, it tags your profile at the same time.
Remember, links Do Not work on Instagram posts! Adding a link to the post actually hinders your reach. The only link should be the one in your profile. Users know to look there.
Tracking your Marketing Success
What’s nice is that you can see the results of your efforts. The first week of the month, review the analytics and insights for the prior month.
- Website Stats:
- Facebook Insights:
- Has your reach increased? Have you gained new likes and followers?
- What type of posts are getting the most reactions and what time of day are your fans on the network?
- Who are you reaching? Who are your fans? Are they your target market?
- Google My Business:
- Actions on your account — likes, tags, comments, etc.
- What did they do — ask for phone or directions? Did they click through to the website?
- Insights about your followers — age, gender, location — this is very important! Does it reflect your target market?