Local businesses have a unique opportunity to drive conversions via online tools.
If you apply a generic social media marketing strategy to your brick-and-mortar model, you may not see the results you want!
Today, we’re sharing 25 tips that are specifically for local online marketing for small business. Make sure to read through our complete guide!
Let’s jump right in!
25 Local Online Marketing For Small Business
1. Optimize Your Instagram Bio
People often scope out local businesses on Instagram before visiting.
Whether it’s a restaurant they want to try or a new shop in town, people want to check it out on this social network first: especially Gen X, Millennials, and younger.
For this reason, you want your Instagram to be prepared to receive them.
You’ll want to have an aesthetically pleasing feed that positively showcases your business.
In addition to this, you’ll need to optimize your bio.
Your bio should have your address, and it wouldn’t hurt to include your hours as well.
You’ll also want to make sure you include other keywords in the bio that are relevant to your neck of the woods. So, make sure you do your keyword research!
For instance, this bio includes the region “North, GA” in their bio. Research shows that this will help them rank when people type in “North GA restaurants” in the Instagram search bar.
You’ll also want to make sure you choose an action button best suited for your local, small business, such as “order food, book now, or reserve.”
If it makes sense to do so, you’ll also want to add your business’s email and/or phone number so that customers can reach you easily.
These are quick changes you can make to your Instagram bio that will make a world of difference in your local business online marketing.
2. Add or Claim Your Business Listing on Apple Maps
You’ll need to go to the Apple Business Register and log in with your Apple ID.
If you don’t already have an Apple ID you’ll need to create one. From there, you’ll fill out the prompts to complete the form, answering questions about your business.
Once you’ve submitted the form online, it should take 1 week or less for your business to appear on Apple Maps.
The goal is to make it so your business appears on Apple Maps if someone searches your name within that app.
Rest assured, the Apple Maps app is not just used for directions. People often use Apple Maps to find pertinent information about your business.
If a potential customer types in your business name and doesn’t find you on Apple Maps? That’s an immediate sign that your business is outdated.
You don’t want that.
So make sure you either add or claim your business listing on Apple Maps.
3. Set Up Your Google My Business Profile
While you’re at it, make sure you set up your Google My Business profile so that you appear on Google Maps and Google searches too.
If someone types your business name into Google’s search bar, they should see an entire snippet about your business on the left-hand side.
If you don’t see that for your business, it means you need to complete your Google My Business Profile.
Google Maps pulls its information from the same profile, so you’ll kill two birds with one stone.
There are a little more than 60 million Apple Maps users and over 118 million Google Maps users,
Getting your business listed on the two apps will set your business up for success in the way of being accessible to all of your potential customers.
4. Post in Facebook Neighborhoods
Facebook Neighborhoods are Facebook’s version of the NextDoor app.
Facebook Neighborhoods are pages within the Facebook app that are solely dedicated to different residential neighborhoods.
You can opt-in to join your Neighborhood to connect with your neighbors, share updates, or local events.
What you post there will remain posted on the Neighborhood landing page, not your business page or your personal profile.
As far as local online marketing for small business goes, it’s a great space to lightly share about your business with the locals.
Part of Facebook’s description of Neighborhoods includes the ability for locals to discover new, nearby places.
In the NextDoor app, neighbors share everything from town events to local updates, questions, and more.
So as long as you’re not spamming all your neighbors with posts about your business over and over again, this can be an effective, free tool used to organically promote your business.
5. Local Facebook Groups
In addition to Facebook Neighborhoods, you can also utilize Facebook Groups for a similar purpose.
Facebook Neighborhoods are not quite available to all Facebook users yet. As a result, many have joined Facebook Groups that are community-centric.
These Facebook Groups can be town-specific, or some are county-wide and regional.
Therefore, some of these Facebook Groups can contain several thousand members.
You’ll need to test out whether the bigger groups are effective in promoting your business or not.
They may be so big that your posts just get lost in the noise between everybody else’s posts about where to get their nails done, roadwork and construction updates, and the like.
Or, the size may help put your business in front of a wide enough audience that it helps you generate some real foot traffic.
You will need to post a few times to determine if the size of the group is working for you or not.
If not, there are usually smaller, more niche local Facebook Groups you can join.
If your business lives in a tiny town (like one stop light in your town kind of tiny!)…
…and your town doesn’t have a local Facebook Group that you know of, then you can be the new one to start one!
Being the creator and therefore admin of the Group will give you even more of an advantage to promote your business.
You’ll have an admin badge next to all of your posts which will make your posts stand out from the others.
Either way, whether you join a local Facebook Group or create one, they give you access to put your brand in front of a local audience organically.
6. Local Keyword-Based Blogs
In the world of SEO (search engine optimization), businesses usually write blogs to help them rank for certain keywords.
When someone searches something on Google, businesses want their blogs about that keyword to be in the top search results.
Local businesses can tap into search engine marketing with local keywords.
For instance, we’ve created service pages for some of the major cities we serve, such as Atlanta Social Media Company.
Whether you’re writing pages for your main site, or for your blog, either way, you can optimize them to revolve around local keywords.
When someone types in your city + the product or service you offer, you want your website to appear in the search results!
You want your website to be what they see and click on first.
Optimizing your website to include those keywords will help you organically rank for those keywords.
7. Local Keyword-Based PPC
In addition to organically ranking for local keywords, you can also pay to rank immediately for those local keywords.
PPC stands for pay per click, and it’s the process of paying Google directly in ad spend to rank in the top ad spots for any given organic search query. You will want to make sure you have good PPC conversion rates.
PPC results appear at the top of the search results with an “ad” symbol next to them, whereas the SEO results appear beneath that with no “ad” symbol.
You can pay to rank for local keywords, so that if someone types in your city name + the product or service you offer, your website will appear in those top ad spots.
There are benefits of PPC advertising that you don’t find with SEO and vice versa.
Usually, PPC is a great short-term strategy to implement while you get your SEO strategy up and running. The reason being that PPC requires a constant ad budget to fuel its success.
You’ll need to determine based on your ad budget if and for how long PPC can work for you.
Lead magnets are a great way to build your email list and generate leads.
You offer something for free in exchange for their contact information
In terms of local online marketing for small businesses, your lead magnet needs to be locally specific.
Normally, a lead magnet could include a free eBook, coupon code, webinar, calculator, printable, quiz, and so on.
Think about what you could offer that your local audience would care about.
A free guide to the local area? A free drink coupon to your restaurant or discount to your store?
Creating a lead magnet that is relevant to your local area will help you with your lead generation that much faster than if you were to use a generic lead magnet.
9. Run a Giveaway with Local Incentive to Enter
Host a giveaway on your social media accounts, or wherever you see the most online traffic. You could also take advantage of affiliate marketing and hire an affiliate to promote your giveaway. This may increase overall traffic.
You’ll want to determine the requirements to enter your giveaway based on the goal you’re trying to achieve.
For instance, if you want more Instagram followers, the requirements to enter your giveaway will need to be:
- to follow you on Instagram,
- like your post regarding the giveaway and
- tag a friend in the comments.
This will give you maximum exposure and better results from your giveaway.
The giveaway prize needs to be something that your specific, local audience would want and relevant to your business.
While an Amazon gift card may be something everybody wants, it’s probably not related to your business offerings.
As a result, everyone who follows you to win that prize will likely unfollow you as soon as the giveaway is over.
Picking a prize that is both desirable and related to your business will help ensure that whoever follows you to win the prize will continue to follow you afterwards.
The reason is that they’ll have a real interest in your business.
The easiest giveaway prize to give in this kind of scenario is a gift card to your business. This satisfies both criteria in choosing a giveaway prize.
10. Facebook Marketplace Ads
Facebook Marketplace is another space on the Facebook platform that is conducive to a target audience.
People look at Facebook Marketplace to buy and sell things locally for the most part, but Facebook also offers shipping so people can buy and sell nationwide as well.
You can launch an ad promoting your business on Marketplace.
This means in Ads Manager, you would set your placement to Facebook Marketplace, and in the detailed targeting section, you would still set the location to the area of your choosing.
Facebook Marketplace ads put your brand in front of a local audience that’s likely already in a buying mindset.
Plus, keep in mind that organically, people also list cars and houses on Facebook Marketplace- not just small furniture and clothes.
So not only are people often in a buying mindset on the platform, but they’re often ready to spend a larger amount of money at that.
This is what makes Facebook Marketplace ads a feasible tool when it comes to local online marketing for small business.
11. Solicit Positive Google Reviews
Small businesses often face the issue of not having many (or many positive) Google Reviews.
Sadly, a large percentage of customers only think to go online and leave a review if they are unsatisfied with their experience, not when they are satisfied.
As a result, you need to make an effort to solicit positive reviews from happy customers.
It’s easiest to do that if you ask them immediately after they’ve had a positive experience with you.
A lot of businesses do this by having a card at checkout for customers to take home with instructions on how to leave a review or by having it printed at the bottom of their receipt.
However, there is a better (and cheaper) way to ask for reviews that doesn’t cost anything in physical materials.
Emailing your customers after they’ve had a positive interaction with you does 3 things:
- It catches them when they’re already on their computer or mobile device (they have to be, to be reading the email, right?)
- It allows you to give them a direct link they can click on that’ll take them right to where they can leave the review (more convenient, less instructions)
- It doesn’t cost you anything (unless you’re paying for an email software, in which case you’d start using it for multiple purposes so in a way, it’d be paying for itself)
You can still let them know in person that they’ll be receiving an email asking for a positive review if you want to be personable and friendly right after their interaction with you.
But ultimately, emailing to ask for positive Google Reviews is the easiest and most effective way to obtain them.
12. Get Listed on Any Local Directories
Google Reviews are not the only reviews customers look at.
If you have any local online directories in your area, you can bet your customers are looking at them.
Local directories include extremely important information in regards to your business and others…
…that help customers make a decision as to where they’re going to purchase their goods and services from.
Sometimes, customers use them to compare you to your competitors and vice versa.
For this reason, you need to not only be aware of local directors, but specifically, you need to be listed on them.
Different directories will have different rules and regulations about how to get listed and how to manage your listing.
So, you will need to do your market research regarding the directories in your area.
13. Run Local Facebook Ads
When launching a Facebook ad, you can include the location in which you want your target market to reside.
You can set your location to be by city, country, or zip code, and you can set up a mile radius within or around that location.
This allows you to have full control over who is seeing your ads.
It wouldn’t make sense for you to pay Facebook to show your ads to people in Idaho if you operate a local business in California.
Running local Facebook ads prevents you from wasting ad dollars on people who physically can’t purchase from you.
This way, you get all the brand exposure, foot traffic and increased sales from Facebook Ads from the right people.
14. Incentivize a Referral Program
One of the easiest ways to obtain new customers is via word-of-mouth.
Hopefully, your product or service is so great that your customers speak highly of it to their friends and family on their own.
However, even the best of businesses often need to give their customers a little push, or an incentive.
Offering a reward program of some kind is a great way to get referrals.
It motivates your existing customers to sell their friends on your brand because they want the discount or reward.
When our existing clients refer new clients to us, they get a 10% recurring commission for the life of their service if the lead becomes a client for us.
People trust the recommendations of their friends and family. That’s what makes referral programs so effective.
If all of your customers each referred a new customer to your business, what would that do for your business?
Referral programs keep your existing customers happy and the new customers coming in.
15. Keep Your Website Updated
This is a big, underrated best practice when it comes to local online marketing for small business.
Keep your website updated. The downfall of many small and local businesses is that customers come to their website and think they’ve been transported to 1998.
Or, they can’t find the information they were looking for and as a result, they do not buy from you.
Your website needs to reflect any and all current information in regards to your business.
If you own a restaurant and have live music every weekend? The name of the band and the time they’re playing needs to be on your website every week.
You could even have an Events or Live Music tab on your website to show a calendar of who is playing and when for the entire month.
Or if you operate a wedding venue and have made the switch from hosting large weddings to only hosting planned elopements for now, that needs to be made clear on your website.
Think about what questions customers would have upon discovering your business. All of those questions need to be answered quickly and upfront on your website.
They shouldn’t have to dig for information.
The idea that someone would fail to patronize your business because they couldn’t find what they were looking for on your website is unacceptable in this day and age.
So, make sure your website is updated at all times.
16. Turn Your Instagram Feed into an “Instagram Shop”
Depending on the type of products you sell in your local store, it may not make sense or be feasible for you to have an eCommerce store on your website or an actual Instagram Shop.
A legitimate Instagram Shop acts like an eCommerce store on Instagram…
…where customers can checkout via Instagram and buy your products online for you to ship to them.
If that’s not an obtainable strategy for you to execute, you can instead turn your Instagram feed into a “make-shift” Instagram Shop if you will.
Here’s what we mean.
You can still post beautiful pictures of your products, or post Reels of them in use.
But instead of giving online followers around the world the option to purchase online, let people know those items are available for pickup.
This will help you center your feed around a local audience.
17. Create Facebook Marketplace Organic Listings
We talked about running Facebook Marketplace ads, but you can also create Facebook Marketplace listings organically.
Unlike an eCommerce store where you’re expected to have hundreds if not thousands of the same product ready to sell and ship over and over again…
…Marketplace listings are a one-time buy.
You can list exactly what you have available to sell, and mark the item as pick up only (at your store!).
It’s a great workaround for local, small businesses who don’t have the means to get an eCommerce store up and running but still have products they’d like to sell.
18. Post Your #SmallBusinessCheck Short Videos
TikToks, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, and YouTube Shorts have all taken off because short-form videos are the #1 preferred paid media type right now.
Small businesses are really benefiting from this type of video marketing. They’re seeing viral views, massive waves of brand exposure, and ultimately sales as a result of posting short-form videos. These short-form videos help companies make money.
There are specifically hashtags and trends such as #SmallBizCheck and others that highlight small businesses in particular.
Local businesses can tap into this as well within their communities in order to boost their online presence.
Plus, posting short-form videos like TikToks or Reels will give local customers who check out your business on those social platforms an authentic peek into your business.
This helps create brand consumer trust that new customers often lack and shows that you’re up-to-date with the times and current trends.
19. Post YouTube Videos
Posting long-form valuable content creation via YouTube videos holds a lot of the same benefits as posting short videos does. Both of these visual content types will provide value in the long run.
It allows you to show your products or services better than a static image would, and it allows your potential customers to get to know you better.
The more familiar a person feels with a brand, the more likely they are to buy from you.
What’s equally important to know is that the less familiar a person feels with a brand, the less likely they are to buy from you.
Creating YouTube videos helps bridge that gap and create the trust needed with your audience in order for them to feel comfortable buying from you.
Plus, it’s easy to create micro-content out of them. You can take snippets of your YouTube videos and repurpose them for TikToks, Reels, and YouTube Shorts.
Work smarter not harder.
20. Go Live
Pick the platform you have the biggest follower base on and go live.
Going live means your followers will see you (or whatever your phone camera is pointed at) in real-time…
…and they’ll be able to leave comments for you to see and respond to in real time.
In a filtered, edited world, going live gives viewers the ability to interact with your brand in an authentic way- no editing and no do-overs!
While it can be intimidating to go live at first, it’s helpful to have an agenda of what you want to cover or a topic you’re going to speak on.
Then, you can answer any questions you get in real-time as they come.
Going live is another great tool to strengthen the relationship between your brand and consumers and relieve any doubts or objections they may have.
21. Identify Any Local Influencers You Can Partner With
Influencers are internet personalities with large followings. Business partner with them to have them promote their product or service to their large audience.
In return, the business/sales team usually sees boosted sales from the partnership.
For local businesses, it wouldn’t hurt to see what local influencers may live in your area.
As much influence as influencers have on their audience, it’s often even more so with followers who live in their area.
They rely on their recommendations for what restaurants to dine at, what stores to frequent and so on.
So, put together an influencer marketing strategy and figure out what influencers live in your city or region.
They can jumpstart the brand exposure in your area and drive traffic your way.
22. Set Up Automated Email Marketing
Once you’ve built up your email list either via the use of Facebook ads or a lead magnet campaign, you’ll want to make sure you stay in touch with those leads. When you create campaigns, it is imperative to keep in touch with the leads generated from them.
Taking advantage of marketing automation and setting up automated email marketing is a great way to build your relationship with those leads and improve your buyer’s journey without taking any extra time out of your everyday routine. Automated email marketing provides value and can solve a large pain point for customers because it guarantees your customers that they will hear from you. This technique will hopefully move customers further down your sales funnel.
The beauty in automated emails is that you only have to set them up one time, and then they send on their own every time after that based on the conditions you set.
A great example, if someone opts in to receive emails on your website, they can receive a welcome email automatically without you having to send it manually every time.
Automated email marketing saves you time (which every local business owner needs more of) while keeping your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds.
23. SMS Marketing
SMS marketing, or text message marketing, is an extension of email marketing.
You can automate text messages just like you can emails, and it can often be done from the same software.
SMS marketing carries all the same benefits email marketing does, except you’re putting your brand even more under their nose.
People do check email often, but they have a phone in hand almost every hour of every day.
Text messages are that much more intimate that emails, and therefore that much more effective.
24. Respond to All Comments, Messages, and Reviews
Part of the appeal of social media for consumers is the ability to have direct access to brands.
They can leave comments, send messages and post reviews, and the expectation is that they’ll hear back from you quickly. This strategy almost serves as a form of earned media, you may get thousands of good reviews/comments.
This strategy will give your business a sustainable competitive advantage over other businesses since customers know that you will get back to them.
Responding to every comment, message, and review you receive is essential to maintaining a positive, open and strong relationship with your followers.
Remember that followers are potential customers, so you want to respond to them the way you would a real customer standing in your store.
25. Claim Your Yelp Listing
Yelp receives over 178 million monthly visitors.
People refer to Yelp to discern whether or not to patronize a business, especially if it’s a small, local business they’ve never heard of or visited.
It’s widely used, and for these reasons, you’ll want to claim your Yelp Listing, and make it as presentable and positive as possible.
Some would argue that Yelp reviews are just as important as Google reviews for businesses.
So when it comes to local online marketing for small business, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting positive Yelp reviews as well.
And there goes our ultimate guide: list of the top 25 local online social media marketing tips for small business!
If you need the help of the experts for any of the digital media marketing strategies we’ve mentioned in this post, feel free to contact us today!
Or you can also check out our digital marketing services page to learn more about our services/grab ahold of a beginner’s guide.