Companies have long relied on social media to connect with audiences, bring attention to their products, and build relationships with consumers. In fact, social media has become the driving force behind today’s personalized marketing strategies, and for good reason.
For instance, 53 percent of users on Facebook check for new posts several times a day. Out of Instagram’s 500 million users, 59 percent scroll through their feed at least once every day. Twitter has 328 million active users, many of whom rely on the platform as their main source for current events and access their accounts multiple times throughout the day.
At first, social media’s main appeal was that it allowed companies of all sizes to compete on the same global footing. Now, consumers expect brands to engage with them on a local level. Social media’s renewed importance lies in its ability to streamline and optimize a brand’s hyper-local marketing strategies to reach its audience directly.
Connecting Hyper-locally Works
In today’s super-connected world, convenience is the top priority for most consumers, but personalization and localization are a close second. A personalized coupon for a local grocery store based on a customer’s shopping preferences has a higher chance of attracting that customer’s attention than a generic coupon. However, hyper-local marketing is about more than just creating personalized coupons; it’s about making the brand a part of the community.
Local and nationwide companies alike use location-based technologies and apps to speak directly to consumers in specific communities. Companies can target audiences in niche markets with campaigns that communicate the brand’s understanding of what matters most to the community. The trick, though, is that consumers are good at spotting insincere marketing campaigns, and the larger the company, the more skeptical consumers may be.
That said, some of the most successful examples of hyper-local marketing come from large companies. Through the use of social media and location-based technology, Allstate’s insurance agents have more opportunities to connect with clients locally, offering a higher level of service than its competitors. And fast-food chain SONIC took advantage of geotargeting and Instagram to promote its Creamery Shakes specifically to festival goers at Coachella.
Hyper-localization gives all companies the ability to learn about the communities and audiences they’re targeting and to deliver content that’s relevant to them at any given moment through appropriate channels. Because most people communicate and interact on social media, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter offer the most comprehensive view into each community.
Weighing the Options
Regardless of how personal and localized a brand’s campaign is, it only works if it creates value. With consumers turning to different social media platforms for different reasons, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each platform before embarking on any campaign. These can change according to a campaign’s goals, but for hyper-local marketing in general, the pros and cons of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are outlined below:
- Pros: Facebook was one of the first adopters of location-based data and advertising, and it's continued to make targeting audiences easier through features like local awareness ads. With nearly 2 billion users, it's also the most used of all social media platforms, making it an essential resource for reaching the largest audiences in small areas.
- Cons: Facebook’s local awareness ads are geographically precise and easy to use, but they offer limited segmentation aside from location, age, and gender. If a brand relies on Facebook alone, its hyper-local campaign is more likely to miss the mark in delivering relevant impressions, especially in niche markets.
- Pros: Twitter offers the best avenue to engage in direct conversations with people in any community. Ads on Twitter merge seamlessly with a user’s timeline rather than being featured obtrusively in sidebars, and users can like, share, and retweet the ads at no cost to the company.
- Cons: Twitter’s ads make conversation with communities easy, but targeting the ads can be more difficult. Unlike Facebook, there are few options to personalize an ad campaign, and many profiles do not include all or any of the user’s real information. Because of this, Twitter ads often have a much lower rate of engagement than others.
- Pros: Instagram’s ads are highly visible and visually appealing, and when targeted properly, they receive a lot of interaction. The comments section under each ad allows a company to interact directly with audiences, and the robust use of location-based hashtags makes hyper-localization even easier.
- Cons: Instagram is great for engagement, but an influx of low-quality, poorly targeted attempts has taught many users to automatically ignore ads. Also, advertisements are not guaranteed to be visible because not all users have access to the newly implemented Instagram ads system.
- Pros: LinkedIn has 500 million users. They allow you to target by location, experience, education, behavior, interests, and more.
- Cons: When you narrow down your target audience more than necessary, it can drive up the cost of your impressions or clicks – and, consequently, the cost of your overall campaign.
Our unprecedented level of connectedness has made the world a smaller place, but consumers still prefer local companies that share their community’s values. In fact, 72 percent of consumers who search for products and services online visit a store within 5 miles of their location. With social media and location-based data, brands of all sizes can take advantage of hyper-local marketing to reach and engage with consumers in the most relevant, timely fashion.
Ready to take your local brand-building efforts to the next level?
- The importance of local connections with key stakeholders
- Why hyper-local activation should be a critical piece of your strategy.