Local and Social Marketing
Usually when you hear people talk about social media marketing, the focus is on the vast number of potential prospects: 2 billion people on Facebook, 400 million people on LinkedIn, over 500 million people on Twitter and Instagram.
That being said, businesses are usually successful because they focus on a particular market, niche, or location. Not on the vast majority. And this is true for marketing (and selling) with LinkedIn as well. While it’s all well and good to have thousands of connections and millions of people in your network, the most successful business people using LinkedIn do so by creating real relationships with their target markets. And fortunately, LinkedIn does a great job of targeting by location.
Of course, one of the best ways to create real relationships with your prospects is by getting that face-to-face meeting. In my opinion, there’s no better tool to convert prospects into clients than LinkedIn.
Here are 10 things you can do to ensure that you’re getting the best local use out of LinkedIn:
- Make sure that your profile is geographically correct.
- Make sure that you add all the geographies you target in LinkedIn
- Create imagery that focuses on your target geography
- Upload media interesting to your geographic target market
- Search and segment your local connections
- Search and segment local prospects
- Continue to grow your network by inviting locals to connect
- Join local groups on LinkedIn
- Keep in touch with the locals
- Share geographically-based content, interesting to your local market
By following the above steps and implementing these strategies, you will create a local presence on LinkedIn that cannot be ignored – guaranteeing more visibility, more engagement and more business.
Let’s take a deeper look…
Make sure that your profile is geographically correct.
Depending on when you created your LinkedIn profile, or where you lived when you created your LinkedIn profile, your ZIP Code and geographic placement may be incorrect. Make sure to check your location right underneath your name on your profile page, and adjust if necessary. Since one of the search fields on LinkedIn is a ZIP Code search, you want to make sure yours is correct.
Make sure that you add all the geographies you target in LinkedIn
Not only does LinkedIn search by ZIP Code, but it can search by keyword as well. Because you can only add one ZIP Code, but you might serve many geographies – cities, townships, locations – you want to make sure to add all of the relevant locations you service to your profile. You can do this by adding them in the content itself (in your summary and experience sections.) You might also consider adding these local locations to the “location field” underneath your company name in the Experience section.
Create imagery that focuses on your target geography
LinkedIn has added a background feature that allows you to add what is essentially a banner on top of your profile. Create an image that is attractive to the local audience you want to attract. Even people who don’t know you may feel a sense of kinship if they recognize the mountain range, Main Street, or ocean view you put on your profile.
Upload media interesting to your graphic target market
LinkedIn now makes it very easy to upload documents, images and share links to videos and slideshow presentations on your profile. Upload media that your local market will find interesting and engaging. It not only makes your profile more attractive, it also makes sense to share helpful relevant content to increase the “KLT factor” (know, like and trust) with your target market.
Search and segment your local connections
As I mentioned earlier, you can segment your search on LinkedIn by location. When you put in the ZIP Code, you can refine the search down to a 5-mile radius. That means the people who show up in the search results are likely to be local!
Continue to grow your network by inviting locals to connect
You can tag these individuals for future reference, or just go ahead and invite the most interesting prospects to connect. Another added benefit is that LinkedIn search is “intelligent”. The more local searches and connections you have, the more likely LinkedIn is to suggest a connection for you in the “PYMK” section – or “People You May Know.”
Search and segment local prospects
You can further filter these results by sorting out your first level connections. These are people who have invited you or you have invited to connect. Once you have that search result, you can save and easily reference it in the “Saved search” section.
Keep in touch with the locals
The great thing about first level connections is you can easily send them a message. Like do you want to meet for coffee 🙂 If you tag these connections, you can also sort them by that tag, and send them the occasional message. This will help you stay top of mind with them. They might not need you now, but when they do, if you keep in touch with them, they’ll remember you and might even be more likely to call upon you since you are a local!
Join local groups on LinkedIn
Many local groups – Chambers of Commerce, Networking Groups, and Meet-Ups – have a LinkedIn Group presence as well. You can search for groups by location, or by name. Even if you don’t have as much time to do the face-to-face networking that you used to do, you can still join those face-to-face groups on LinkedIn. That allows you to stay in touch with the members even when your busy schedule means you can’t get out as much as you used to!
Share geographically-based content
LinkedIn allows you to share content – both as updates and as long-form Publisher posts. So you might as well share content relevant to your local market. Updates are just like Tweets or Facebook updates that you share on your networks’ timeline. You can even tag locals in updates so that they are more likely to see your shared content.
You can also write long form posts using LinkedIn Publisher. Again, by putting in locations as keywords, your post becomes searchable by those specific geographies and may be more visible to local prospects. Of course, you want to share content relevant to the locals you’re trying to attract.
So there you have it! 10 steps and strategies you can use to market your business locally using LinkedIn. When you start to focus on your local markets using LinkedIn, you’ll be amazed at just how many people you know, and how many opportunities are out there! I know I am always shocked to realize I know at least one – and sometimes more – gateway people at companies that I want to be working with. Or that the Influencers I want to align with happen to be local (like LMI’s Eric Shanfelt.) And that I can still do local marketing even if I can’t get to town as often as I used to.
By implementing even a few of these strategies you will be able to increase your local visibility exponentially. And all this is for free. With a little bit of time investment, you could substantially increase your bottom line! It’s worth a try.