Do you have a local service-based business? One of the biggest questions I am asked is how to get more clients through social media for local businesses.
If your business is B2B or B2C your approach will be different. In some ways I think that B2B marketing can be less challenging on social media because you can find groups of other business owners more easily.
For local businesses, I think it’s important to connect face-to-face at networking events or other venues but you can definitely use social media to reinforce or initiate that connection. Here are 7 ways to get more local clients through social media.
1. Connect on LinkedIn
I’ve known business owners who have gotten new business immediately just by reaching out and connecting to new people on LinkedIn. I especially like starting with your warm market by connecting to people in your e-mail database and then using LinkedIn’s People You May Know tool.
Or you can do an Advanced Search to find people in your area with specific keywords.
Make an effort to connect with 20 new people a week. Just by increasing your connections you are more likely to come up higher in searches. Before you start your LinkedIn activity, make sure your profile is looking good with this LinkedIn Checklist.
And don’t forget about joining some local LinkedIn Groups as well.
2. Follow on Twitter
One of my favorite ways to find targeted Twitter followers is to use Twitter Lists. You can find a lot of local lists but sometimes those may be a little more general. Your best bet is to use a tool like Followerwonk to search for specific terms in people’s bios.
3. Look for local Networking Events on Meetup
If you are targeting local business owners, I’m a big believer in connecting in person. Meetup is a great place to search for events. You can get a good indication of how active the group is by how many past events they have had and how many regularly attend.
Also consider searching on Google for local networking events. There are lots of groups that aren’t on Meetup.
4. Look for local Groups on Facebook
By doing a Graph Search on Facebook, you can find Pages, Events, and Groups related to business owners if your business is B2B. Put your search term in the box at the top and make sure you select the magnifying glass at the bottom to see all the results.
Then you can filter your results by Pages, Groups or Events.
5. Advertise on Facebook
With Facebook Ads you can target by zip code or by area. Use Facebook Ads to grow your e-mail list and then make a deeper connection with people through e-mail marketing.
6. Make a list of local Influencers or similar Businesses and partner up
An influencer doesn’t have to be someone who has the most followers or highest Klout score. Although those can be a way to do an initial assessment. Look for people who are leading groups – they might be the leader of the Meetup group you attended, the moderator of the local LinkedIn group or Facebook group, or just someone who has an active Facebook Page about local business topics.
You can use tools like Followerwonk mentioned in #2 or use one of these Influencer tools mentioned on Social Media Examiner.
Consider connecting with people who have a similar business to yours but don’t offer the same services. For example if you offer social media services and someone else offers SEO services, you could be referral partners.
7. Leverage your content
One of the biggest ways to establish yourself as an expert is to create useful content. A blog, a podcast, webinars, YouTube videos are all good ways to showcase your expertise. You can even tailor them to your local market so that they are more relevant to your perfect customer.
Make sure you are sharing your content across the social platforms and offering value to your potential customers. Since you can’t always be creating content, make sure you find the best content to share about your niche.
How about you? What methods do you use to connect to local businesses? Share them in the comments below!
And if you are a social media manager or consultant, make sure you pick up my free Social Media Consultant Starter Kit I just released along with Phyllis Khare. More great tips in there on finding new clients.