It’s all very well wracking up the likes on your Facebook page or increasing your followers on Twitter, but how do you make sure you’re engaging with your local audience – the people that will walk into your gym for an annual membership or those who need a good realtor to find their forever home? Well, here are a few tips from the team at Gem PR & Media when it comes to engaging with your local audience. 

1.    Encourage your Facebook followers to check in when they visit your store or showroom. You could even run a competition; for anyone that checks into your location, a certain number of times each month, they get entered into a draw for a prize. 

2.    Use key messaging to target your local audience. This is so important. You need to remind people, your potential customers, and clients, why they are spending their valuable time visiting your social media platforms. Use local #s to emphasize messaging. We use #Springfield #SpringfieldIL and #LoveSpringfield in our local client posts all the time. 

3.    Relate to local events, activities, and news. Give people a reason to engage with your page. Post about an event and ask people to send in their own photos so you can share them on your page too. 

4.    Think of your social media as your very own newsfeed. If you don’t have the capacity for a blog or news page on your website, use your social media to disseminate important information, such as opening and closing times around the holidays, any special offers you have, when an employee has been promoted, or a new volunteer has joined the team. 

5.    Join local Facebook groups or professional groups on LinkedIn. 

6.    Create a call to action. We manage the Illinois Women in Leadership Facebook page, and so, in the run-up to a major event such as the annual women’s symposium or the ATHENA awards, I create a call to action – such as ‘Book now’ on the page and link that directly to the group’s booking system. Sometimes, I even create a banner for the page that reminds the audience the option is available. 

7.    Join in on the conversation, whether you’re focusing on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, engage in a dialogue with a business or individual in your area about a topic that interests you or relates to your audience. Remember, the key to a successful social media campaign is two-way communication – this is when our clients see the best results. 

8.    Give your audience a reason to ask questions. You always want to provide people with accurate and up-to-date information, but at the same time, you want your audience to engage with you. If you’re a retailer and posting images of products you have for sale perhaps leave off the cost of each product in order to prompt your audience to ask for it – this may seem counterproductive, especially when it comes to making your life ‘easier,’ but it will lead to open dialogue and create further interest in your post.