Tailoring your business for local online success
Even for the most technologically inclined person, setting up online portions of a business can be frustrating, confusing, and intimidating. It is also a necessity in today's digital world, and avoiding online integration will only result in underperformance or outright failure.
Understanding this reality, we designed this article to help readers learn some key concepts that businesses can use to drive local engagement. A lot of this is easier and quicker than you might think, so don’t overlook the opportunities these ideas represent.
It can be appealing to borrow from an established framework when designing your online presence. For some aspects, this can be a fantastic way to get ahead, but without factoring in regional differences, you could be missing key parts of the market. This applies to all sizes of businesses to varying degrees, from the small to the international in scale.
For example, the online business Wildz Casino fundamentally operates the same across all supported territories in that it has the same slots, live casino games, and interface available. Its Canadian version, however, also offers customer support in French, alongside English. Since this is so important in Canada, with 13.6% of Ottawa’s population only speaking French, the addition is well worth the extra effort.
On a smaller scale, this can mean taking into account local trends and regional tastes. This can be done professionally, to get a handle on hard data on goods and services through published studies and market research. Much cheaper is individual research performed on social media like Reddit. Local groups are a great way to measure likes and hype, and while this information is not always strictly indicative of offline trends, it can at least specify a direction of pursuit.
Social Media Engagement
With the advent and popularization of social media, advertisement for public visibility has gone from overwhelmingly expensive to near-universally available. Creating and updating social media accounts is simple, and can reach audiences on par with, or even exceeding, traditional techniques. While the exact form taken will vary depending on the business, there are some basic rules which every business owner should follow.
The first is to create a dedicated Facebook account for your business. As a baseline, this account should relate your weekly hours and your basic pricing for typical goods/services. Once created, try to get this included in local groups based on or around your industry. Even if only tangentially related, being involved will drive further traffic.
Depending on your industry and business, it might also be a good idea to get involved in YouTube and Instagram. These are especially useful if your business includes strong audio or visual components, to give potential customers an indication of what they might expect.
The other side of this equation is being consistent with updates and adopting the right attitude. Attitude is especially important, as humour and personability can be a great help in driving engagement. If improperly measured, a casual attitude can be alienating, so be sure to approach this part of social media carefully.
"You're a social media manager who posts bad jokes about MoonPies all day anyone could do your job"
First of all I have feelings
— MoonPie (@MoonPie) October 17, 2017
Working on tailoring your business for local online success does come with a short learning curve, but taking a measured leap is almost worth the effort. Whether updating existing customers, attracting new ones, or allowing more convenience within your operational sphere, consider these steps for growing your online presence. It won’t take long, and you have nothing to lose.
Photo: by Shahid Abdullah