Making a local business successful is never easy—congratulations! You feel stable and you’re netting a nice profit, so you might not realize how important it is to invest in social media while you’re ahead. Let me fix that for you.
Too many times I’ve been talking to a potential client who insists that they’re successful and don’t need social media, only to look them up a year later and find that they went out of business. And they weren’t entirely wrong; these were successful local businesses! But ultimately, it doesn’t matter how successful you are, because you will always need social media.
Competition Is Everywhere
Sometimes local businesses luck out and won’t have any competition for stretches of time. That’s great and makes your job easier, but you can’t count on that lasting. Let me share a real example that I’ve seen happen over and over again.
I was trying to get an Italian restaurant (let’s call them “Pastasciutta”) signed on for a social media package, but their numbers were good and they didn’t see any reason to put money into their digital marketing. And I assume that worked fine, until three months later when a new Italian restaurant moved in just a couple blocks away.
I don’t know if the new place’s food was actually better than the original’s, but they were more active on social media, so they started to get a good local following. They weren’t taking all of Pastaciutta’s customers, but a big enough portion left that the restaurant was noticeably emptier even at their peak times.
Without their own social media presence, Pastaciutta just couldn’t compete. The new place ended up moving 8 months later, but by that point, Pastaciutta had lost so much revenue that they had to close.
What’s the moral of this story? 1. Give your Italian restaurant a better name than Pastaciutta and 2. Your local business is not too good for social media. Just because it’s feast today doesn’t mean you’re safe from famine tomorrow!
I think there’s another lesson that we can pull from this story, too.
Customers Are Fickle
If brand loyalty isn’t dead, it’s certainly on life support. A common mistake I see is assuming that people are going to support your business unconditionally. After all, if someone makes a purchase from you and you know it’s a great product, you can count on that repeat business, right?
It doesn’t matter if you’re the best deli/bar/haberdashery in the county; customers care infinitely more about who your brand is than what you’re selling. That’s where social media comes in! Social media marketing isn’t, at its core, about pushing your latest products or talking about how great you are (although that’s definitely a part of it). The goal of any social media campaign is to engage with the audience to form connections, and if there is ANY way to earn brand loyalty in 2019, that’s the way to do it.
And “mom and pop” store owners, don’t think you’re immune! Great customer service is nice, but people are forgetful. Unless you’re keeping your store’s name fresh in your audience’s mind, they’re not going to remember how you helped them find the perfect product or how friendly your smile was when they came through the door.
Yes, Social Is Right for You
If you want to maintain your local business’ success, then social media marketing is just non-negotiable. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Start looking into how your local business can succeed with social media.
Do you need some help planning your new social media strategy? Schedule your free consultation with The Go! Agency!