When they first appeared, social networks were seen as fun platforms for spending time with friends, but their advertising potential was soon realized by businesses of all sizes. With unprecedented access to consumers and a direct line of personalized communication, brands gained a new mechanism to engage users and drive up their sales numbers.
Due to economies of scale, big companies were the greatest beneficiaries of this digital marketing boom. However, smaller companies can still generate a lot of value from their social media presence, particularly if they adopt a hyperlocal strategy. This term describes a social media campaign with a clear focus on strengthening the performance of local stores in a particular area, and it represents an interesting approach that could be more cost-effective than generalized brand campaigns.
If you are not familiar with the concept of hyperlocal social media marketing, this article will give you a head start and help you learn what it really means.
Access to consumers located all over the world is one of the crucial elements of social media marketing, but it’s worth very little to businesses that are unable to serve distant customers. Instead of replicating a strategy that requires a prohibitive investment to work, small businesses are increasingly turning to localization as the central principle. In a nutshell, hyperlocal social network campaigns target only those customers that are located close enough to visit a local point of sale.
A simple example of this approach would be a local bakery that is actively promoting its products on social media but aims to attract mostly people living in the area. In this scenario, physical proximity to the store is necessary in order to take advantage of fresh pastry, so it only makes sense to advertise the product to individuals located within a certain radius. This in turn would guide how a business would approach social media promotion, from crafting the messages to selecting the intended recipients and setting measurable goals.
This is different than simple localization, where the target is much wider and includes a whole city or even a country. A very narrow focus allows for the concentration of resources on very tangible objectives, which should by default be tied to real-life sales. While the company may sacrifice some of its broad appeal with this strategy, it gains a fantastic position within its natural territory. Most importantly, the cost of executing a focused hyperlocal campaign is much lower than for a wider effort that targets the national or international market, making it accessible even to micro businesses.
Like any other marketing strategy, hyperlocal social media campaigns require thorough planning and preparation. To be successful, they have to include all the necessary elements and follow a logical succession of steps. Here is a rough plan for a hyperlocal social media promotion with the most important stages clearly delineated:
Since the whole point of the hyperlocal approach is to limit the geographic area of interest, the first step must be to decide where exactly the boundaries are. This decision should be driven primarily by pragmatic concerns, i.e. the ability to deliver the products or the amount of time needed to reach the sales location. Once the area is precisely defined, it’s wise to narrow down the demographics of the most likely buyers, as this helps to fine tune the campaign to their tastes. It’s important to remember that smaller is better, so it’s safer to start with a narrow band and slowly expand it than to bite more than you can chew.
Rather than aiming for a universal social media presence, businesses with a hyperlocal mindset usually prefer to push all their resources towards promotion on a few selected platforms. Naturally, these platforms should be frequently visited by potential customers residing within the local area. Businesses can collect some input from their customers to find out how they spend their time online and on which social media they like to communicate with local brands. Smaller social media sites with a strong local following definitely deserve to be considered.
The heart of a hyperlocal social campaign is a message that resonates strongly with anyone familiar with the geographic area in question. It doesn’t have to refer directly to a location – sometimes it’s enough to mention a local person or event of significance. Companies that can demonstrate they are integrated into the fabric of the local community are much more likely to be embraced by the consumers and establish a lasting presence in the neighborhood. Of course, social media allows two-way exchange of ideas so brands can actively seek input from their loyal customers.
Social media ads can be directed towards certain users based on a number of demographic characteristics, and in hyperlocal marketing it’s prudent to prioritize location over age, gender, and other parameters. Targeting fewer users decreases the costs, making it possible to advertise on multiple platforms and/or increase the frequency of ads. Despite the fewer total impressions, narrowly targeted ads still return great value as they tend to have better conversion rates.
It’s absolutely crucial to facilitate a spillover of positive sentiments from social media to real life and drive up the number of customers visiting the physical stores, especially for companies that primary rely on over the counter sales. There are several techniques that can be useful in this regard, including distribution of gifts and discount coupons through social media, organizing photo contests that reference a physical location, etc. At the same time, offline promotions can be amplified by announcing them on social media and sharing photos and live streams from the events.
Which companies can benefit the most from adopting hyperlocal social media marketing?
Any company that wants to emphasize a particular geographic location can engage in this type of social media promotion, although the results are most rewarding for very small companies with just a few outlets that are concentrated in the same area.
Can hyperlocal social media marketing be used to drive up sales?
The objectives for this style campaign can vary from one case to another, but a sales dimension is usually involved. Small businesses that aim to derive more revenues from their immediate area are the most obvious beneficiaries of hyperlocal social media marketing.
Does it make sense to use paid media within a hyperlocal campaign?
Since the scope of advertising is inherently small in this model, media costs tend to stay reasonable even when paid social media ads and local media promotions are included. However, the choice of media platforms and the upper limit for expenses should be carefully considered.
Social media platforms can be utilized in many different ways and there is no need to imitate large brands that aim to capture a global audience. Smaller, locally-based companies can also derive huge value from this promotion channel, but they need to optimize their activities to fit their main objectives. Hyperlocal social media marketing is an approach that can create engagement and interaction within a strictly defined geographic area, which is perfect for companies that earn almost all of their income from nearby customers.