Things have changed greatly. The things that use to take time and man power can now be accomplished instantly. We can now get unlimited information from a simple search. Whether it be to gather user reviews, recounts of in store experiences, photographs, or in some cases video and live streams, we can instantly generate the answers to a question or concern we had just seconds prior. All this can be done from a smart phone that we carry in our pocket.
Still, we are human beings. We enjoy a face to face conversation, a greeting, our communities, friendships, social environments (outside of the newsfeed.) And as things become more digital there will also be a need for all things real. This balance of the digital world and the human world could get interesting, but being the adaptable humans that we are I believe things will sort themselves out.
So why then are so many businesses and marketing campaigns failing to penetrate their local markets. Why aren’t they participating in local events, causes, people, and focusing their efforts on growing a more personal relationship with their customers? And if they are doing this in real time why isn’t this being illustrated or documented on their social media pages? The real question is why aren’t they leveraging the Power of Local?
Maybe the social media and digital world has made people believe that personalized, localized, and real face to face relationships don’t mean as much now. Truthfully they’re missing the key point to social media and that is the “social” aspect of it. To be a social retailer in a local community you need to participate in community needs. You want your workers to know people by name, remember customer orders, ask them questions about their day. So why wouldn’t you want to continue that local community feel online? Why do so many retailers have one corporate page for entire chain of local stores? Why aren’t they building a local social community on the internet? And how is it possible that they don’t see the opportunity in doing so? Not just for their customer’s sake, but for their own?
A lot of questions, I know… but social media is a great opportunity for a large chain of stores to connect on the most basic and authentic level with it’s local customers, easing the corporate tension and bringing a community feel and personality to a national or regional chain. It’s also an amazing opportunity for smaller local businesses to do the same. But it seems that nobody sees this vast opportunity.
But how do you make this possible? What if you have hundreds of locations?
It’s simple… Train and empower your employees.
Offer a bonus to one or several employees to help you manage a location page. Train the one’s you believe will do a great job and give them the keys to interact with local customers. Let them post daily messages about promotions, in-store events, even a selfie of your staff doing something fun and interactive.
Remember these are local employees, interacting with their local communities.
This will act as a medium to remind your customers that while you are a large retailer that you do employ local people and care about the local community. Get involved, show that you care, and allocate some of your marketing dollars to a more localized and human effort by leveraging the power of social media. You’ll make your employees happier, your community stronger, and you’ll see your marketing dollars make an immediate impact.