Here are three facts to understand right away about social media:
That last point is important, especially for businesses using social media to target local consumers (e.g., residents and visitors to Jacksonville, FL). Social media can prompt direct sales, but equally important, it drives traffic and awareness. It cultivates familiarity and trust, so your brand is top of mind. That way, social media users think of you when they have a relevant need, even if they’re not immediately looking at a post or video.
With social media, you don’t just get their immediate attention, you can claim long-lasting mindshare and generate both online sales and in-person traffic. In short, social media is a powerhouse that grants business users the ability to raise brand awareness to incredible levels and to engage the local audience like never before.
By connecting with your local audience and providing them something of value (we’ll discuss how to do that shortly), you can get social media users to know, love, and trust your brand before they ever step foot in your store or make a purchase. Social media channels are great for introducing your brand to new users and using the rich media tools to educate them about your topic, product, and service.
That kind of positive engagement will open the floodgates to new customers and unheard-of profits.
Omnipresence means that you can be everywhere – present on all digital channels (Search, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.) – and available at every stage of the consumer journey, from discovery to consideration to comparison to purchasing.
For example, you can target and address the needs of both high-end buyers who will come in and pay cash, as well as middle income or lower-income shoppers who will use financing options. You can reach them whether they are on Facebook just seeing what’s going on or visiting YouTube seeking answers to specific questions. Whether the consumer is just idly dreaming or actively shopping, you can get a fitting social media post in front of them.
In fact, on social media, you can often lead the conversation, especially in smaller local markets like Jacksonville.
For example, many home services are seasonal. Every spring, homeowners in Jacksonville begin thinking about home remodeling, landscaping, having their A/C serviced, etc. Few Jacksonville service companies focus on using social media and their website to educate local consumers on their service, so when I helped a local home services company develop an active social media presence, not only did they begin to see better search rankings, they were able to get ahead of the conversation about getting started on spring repairs and updates to people’s homes. All while building rapport and engagement within the community.
Outside of advertising, social media platforms are mostly free to use, even for businesses. In fact, almost no other platform-building methodology can work as quickly, with such immediate and extensive reach, at no cost.
Most of the cost related to social media goes toward content creation. But the good news is that content can be recycled, reused, and repurposed very easily. Meaning that social media activities are spend once, reap repeatedly. Some costs that you might associate with social media as a business – like purchasing followers – are overhyped and typically unnecessary.
Even if you do drop a chunk of change on social media advertising (more about this option later), you’ll find that targeting a local audience is extremely cost-competitive. Local social media advertising, especially in the Jacksonville area, is vastly underrated and, as a result, under-served. Because you “bid” on visibility, the cost is directly related to the amount of competition among advertisers. With as little competition as we see in the local Jacksonville market, it’s possible to get clicks for – and no joke, no exaggeration here – pennies on the dollar.
Social Media Success is Real for Jacksonville Businesses
Later in this piece, I’ll be describing the specific formula I use for my own clients on multiple social media channels. This is a recipe I’ve developed over the years and honed into a highly effective approach regardless of business, customer base, or goals.
The good news for socially savvy Jacksonville businesses is that most companies around here fail to target their local communities, which creates excellent opportunities for local domination and, better yet, inexpensive domination.
One Jacksonville-based retail business, for example, has increased sales by 60% YOY for EACH of the last three years. That’s because social media helped them to access a wider variety of people and to tailor different messages that would speak to each kind of customer.
Social media is great in raising awareness and planting the seed of an idea. Because we can target users both demographically (age, gender, affluence, etc.) and based on specific interests, we can ensure the posts and videos align with their natural affinities, or at least with items for which they’re actively in the market.
For example, I may not actively be shopping for anything surfing-related, but I still consume surfing-related posts. As I do so, I’ll find myself seeing branded social media posts and ads that align with that interest.
Then, if and when I begin to show some interest in a specific purchase or problem, I’ll begin seeing posts targeted to my need. Social media channels offer local brands a direct way to reach me with information that aligns with what I want to see.
As a result, businesses can use the social media channel’s profile of each visitor to send them content and ads that fit their interest and where they are in their respective buying cycle.
BONUS PRO TIP – Here’s how to set up targeting for your Facebook Posts:
Go into your page Settings, click on General in the left side column, and then click on Edit for the Audience Optimization for Posts feature
In the post editor, click on Public, and then click in News Feed Targeting
Enter the targeting criteria you desire
Of course, there are even more robust targeting options and controls when you utilize the ad platforms 🙂 There’s is more on that below in the Social Media Advertising section of this guide.
Social media is extremely flexible.
The targeting options each social network offers can get extremely granular. Then, you can use functionalities like #hashtags that are built into the service to refine even further who will see your posts.
As a result, you can post things that will reach a wide audience – say, anyone interested in any form of home service. That gives you an opportunity to comprehensively brand yourself as a business. You can start building an audience among people who don’t have a specific interest; they’ll just think of you the next time they have a home-related question, request, or need.
But then you can also post highly individuated communications that can find their way to people with a very specific interest while they’re at a particular point in the buying cycle.
That degree of flexibility is very difficult to find through other marketing channels. It’s one of the ways in which social media really stands out.
According to Statista, marketers say that social media helps them to do the following:
I get asked all the time by businesses about what to post on social media. So, this section talks in-depth about what type of content performs best on each social media site and how to fully utilize the posting tools available.
Out of the major social media networks, Facebook offers access to the largest number of possible consumers. It has 2.74 billion users (an increase of 12%, year over year), and its users are active. The average user clicks on 10-12 ads every month, and nearly 48 percent of American social media users say Facebook was the last platform on which they made a purchase (the next-runner up is the Facebook-owned Instagram, at 8.6 percent).
Facebook is an excellent channel for all business categories: retail, health and medical, political, travel and hospitality, service and repair, cause and nonprofit, seasonal events, etc.
Use These Features on Facebook
People are visual creatures, and tons of research has shown that visual cues and elements can grab attention, improve comprehension, boost memory recall, and more. Instagram is the perfect vehicle to put your business, your culture, and your knowledge into a visual form.
Though Instagram has only a fraction of the active users as Facebook, they are highly engaged with the platform, and its user base concentrates in younger demographics – meaning it is well-positioned for the future. Overall, usage stats are very impressive. For example, users spent an average of 27 minutes per day on the platform in 2019.
Often, companies think they have nothing to share on Instagram. This is not so. Anything that’s visual and relates to your company or topic will do well on Instagram if it brings value to the community.
Instagram is great for retail, political, travel and hospitality, service and repair, causes and nonprofits, and seasonal events.
Use These Features Instagram
Google-owned YouTube may be only half of Facebook’s size, but a billion users is still a third of the internet. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Americans watch video on YouTube (and that number skyrockets to ninety percent of 18- to 24-year-olds). YouTube reaches more American adults than any cable network on average each month.
Engagement on YouTube, meanwhile, is extraordinary.
It serves as a “how-to” resource for the entire world. Users turn to YouTube to learn how to do something: cook, travel a city, workout, fix a broken appliance, buy jewelry, heal an ailment, fix their hair/makeup, etc.
With YouTube, you get the user’s intent. A video on Facebook is about building awareness; it might help build a new fan. But on YouTube, the person has likely come with a specific problem – looking to lose weight, address pain, repair their A/C, deal with a plumbing issue. If you can get in front of them when they have a specific need, you can become their solution. I’ve had clients say their customers walked in WITH the video still on their phone.
Locally, this can bring a ton of traffic and exposure to your business, and best of all, you get to showcase your knowledge and build instant trust and credibility with the audience. As a result, YouTube is also great for retail, political, travel and hospitality, service and repair, causes and nonprofits, and seasonal events.
Recommendations for YouTube:
Pinterest is sort of a newcomer to the world of social media, and it is very often overlooked by businesses. However, 93 percent of active pinners specifically use Pinterest to plan for future purchases.
Indeed, Pinterest is an absolute goldmine of a platform due to its audience being very action-oriented and very close to making a buying decision. Specifically, its users will browse the network to find useful information that they’ll then “pin.” Do you want a guide to throwing an unforgettable party? To find decorating or home design ideas? To find hot new fashions? Its users will find ideas, inspiration, and how-to’s that they then collect on goal-specific “boards.” Many of those pins will be business-branded.
Consequently, for businesses, Pinterest is the place to teach, demonstrate, and sell.
It’s also dominated by women – 80 percent of Pinterest is made up of women, and on top of that, most make over $75,000 annually. As a result, Pinterest is HUGE for retail, fashion, food, motherhood and parenting, fitness, travel, DIY crafts, and home decor. (However, half of the new signups with Pinterest are male, so they are rapidly gaining traction; don’t count men out when considering this network).
Use these features Pinterest
LinkedIn stands apart from the previously mentioned social media channels because it’s almost exclusively business-to-business (B2B), with very little business-to-consumer (B2C) appeal.
That said, every business should at least have a company profile on LinkedIn, and every member of your organization should have a personal profile linking to the business profile.
Will the connections here result in sales? Sometimes.
But, more often than not, the connections bridged on LinkedIn open doors for other business opportunities, such as speaking engagements, sharing PowerPoint presentations, sharing latest company news, and getting email signups.
But if you sell B2B services (consulting, products, or tools), then LinkedIn can be a goldmine for you. There’s no other social network as effective for forging business connections. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with 562 million users. That number includes 61 million senior-level executives, 40 million decision-makers, and 6 million C-level executives.
Use these features on LinkedIn
Today, all social networks – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest & LinkedIn – offer robust advertising platforms.
Advertising on these networks can be tremendously successful. Social media ads deliver big results when it comes to targeting new consumers who are not familiar with your brand or business. In fact, it can drive 3x more new consumers than existing customers to your website.
That’s important because it means advertising on social media can net sales you would otherwise miss.
Plus, the targeting – reaching your most desired audience with pinpoint precision – can’t be beaten. Audience profiling capabilities is where social media advertising really excels.
You can directly target your ideal customer by:
See below, Facebook Ads Geographic, Demographic, Interest & Behavior-based targeting options:
This level of targeting is only available through social networks ad platforms. It is unavailable if you’re only just publishing updates to your followers.
Ultimately, while you can customize posts to address specific audiences, organic posting on a platform like Facebook is simply casting a wide net for potential customers. By contrast, social media advertising allows you to target with pinpoint precision and can hit huge numbers. Publishing a post on Facebook might bring in 25 likes and a few shares. Running that same message as an ad will bring in 2,500 visitors to your website, and at a reasonable cost.
To put it bluntly, social media advertising has been an absolute game-changer for my local Jacksonville clients, allowing them to cost-effectively get in front of new users and consumers that previously did not know they even existed.
I’ve used social media ads to advertise:
**Important Tip: you’ll get the best results with both regular social media posts as well as advertising. When you do both, you’ll see an amplification effect. This is how you use social media to achieve omnipresence – being everywhere all the time, being there for every moment in the consumer journey.
Last but certainly not least, here it is – the social media formula I use with my own clients.
This is the base social media strategy that I’ve used with my clients for many years that has consistently been successful:
There’s a lot of noise on social media. Three posts are just enough to break through the noise and keep you in the conversation. Meanwhile, such a posting schedule ensures you’ll stay consistent without getting too monotonous. You can duplicate to some degree – as my formula above describes – but you don’t want to bore or annoy your audience.
After the big three – Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube – you would want to target networks more specific to your area, like Pinterest. If you’re in healthcare, you might include healthgrades.com; if you’re in law, superlawyers.com; etc.
It’s easy to dismiss social media, especially for businesses that cater to a local clientele.
At first blush, social media seems like a lot of work for uncertain rewards. However, neither of those sentiments are true. Once you get into a simple 3, 2, 1 rhythm, social media posts just become a part of the daily rhythm of doing business.
And far from favoring huge enterprises, social media offers outsized rewards for local businesses. I have one client who can’t go to the grocery store without being recognized from his professional social media activities now. Another client will have new customers come to the store with their phones showing their latest post and asking, “Show me this!”
I’ve had customers see business grow year-over-year repeatedly, in large part thanks to how social media has extended their reach, widened their audience, and converted online window-shopper into online or in-person buyer.
Today, your business is different. Your marketing is different. It’s not just an ad or a postcard. You must show every facet of your business. People want transparency. They want to know the names and the faces behind the brand.
Bottom-line: people buy from people they know, like, and trust.
Isn’t it time for you to help your customers – and customers-to-be – to get to know you?