On a local scale
- Traditional local advertising is becoming less relevant because transaction decisions are made at the moment of consideration. Local referrals via conversations, location based services and “deals” are the new engines of consumer engagement, and lead to transactions.
- Local businesses won’t tolerate being pigeonholed by publishers into an advertisers ghetto, where they have to pay to play. Local businesses have the social media tools to create valuable content about their community and trade, and publishers should embrace their contributions, not put a price tag on it. If local advertising needs to be free, so be it. We believe free advertising for locals is a trend in the making for a new breed of publishers.
- However, most small businesses face a huge learning curve executing a social marketing strategy. It’s not only keeping up with the new developments that happen every month on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Foursquare and Yelp, but also having the time and resources to address and converse with the community to build business opportunities. We see a developing new breed of local social marketing agencies like Hyperlocal Brands providing local merchants with a reasonably priced hands-on turnkey service.
On a national scale
- Capturing the hyperlocal buzz around brands is a critical marketing strategy that has no online precedent except in sports, which naturally revolves around local teams. Why? Hyperlocal conversations carry more weight and influence because they are intimate. Everybody knows each other or live nearby, and local conversations draw in communities; that’s not true on a national scale.
- Up to now, brands have been considered national products marketed on one branded website. Simply put, brands must consider positioning themselves as local, social products catering to intimate communities of customers. That means extending their presence not only across hundreds of local websites, but also across the social media… by locality.
- Consumer generated commentary will power a new level of social marketing that creates transactions. National brands need to implement new strategies that cater to the local influencers who will be the brands’ key market support constituency. Even a high schooler can be an influencer; imagine how powerful a message like: “it’s Friday night, let’s all meet up at the Landmark Square Pizza Hut at 6:00 so we can make the 8:30 showing of Moneyball at the AMC”. You’ll have AMC and the local restaurants all vying for the attention of these influencers. This is the future of how local businesses will acquire and keep customers.