Fundamentally what we are asking local businesses to do online is unfair. We tell them they need to post and respond to comments on Facebook. To post to Twitter and @reply people and target people tweeting on topics. Now there is Google+, which has the potential to let you communicate to different types of customers differently (loyalty offers vs new client targeting, etc.). Then let’s throw in Instagram, Foodspotting and whatever I haven’t caught up on this week that is getting traction.
Local businesses are simply overwhelmed and the hours required to post and monitor each becomes a full time job. It does not surprise me to read a study that say 11% of local business’ next hire is a social media person. All the different tools mean high costs and applied technology knowledge. That’s why the #1 trend in 30 Social Media Predictions for 2012 is that managing these services will have to become consolidated. On one hand, this might mean less differentiated approaches in embracing each medium separately. On the other hand, you save time and effort and focus on your core messages.
I think this is highlights a key point. Local business operations do not have to be made out to be so much more complicated then they truly are. Each business has a storefront and brand and sometimes they have announcements, sometimes they have events and sometimes they have deals. That’s generally true of almost any business.
The local marketing solutions that will thrive will be those that save time for over-burdened local businesses, and often in the process money. That will hold true for:
- Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.)
- Directory Management and Optimization (Google Places, Yelp, CitySearch, FourSquare, MapQuest, YP.com, Yahoo, Bing, Angie’s List, Dex Knows, etc.)
- Content Publishing and Distribution (SEO optimization, blog distribution, blogger outreach, local PR, email newsletters, etc.)
Even more so, we at Vivial believe that local businesses are looking for a complete online solution so they can focus on running their business. To businesses, it’s all marketing. They don’t necessarily care about the difference between communicating with loyal customers over social media or via an email newsletter.
They just want someone who knows what they are doing helping them and for them to have some piece of mind that they are everywhere they need to be. If that sounds like you and your business, contact us. We can help.