Remember when the yellow pages were a must-have to find a local business? Or how the daily paper and 6 o’clock news were your primary sources of information?
Not too long ago, marketers relied on print, broadcast, and direct mail to get customers’ attention. One-on-one communication between brand and consumer was the role of the store clerk. If you were dissatisfied, you just stopped patronizing that business.
Social media certainly changed that in recent years, but the increasing prominence of hyperlocal media has taken things to a whole new level. Sure, a customer has the power to promote or damage local brands using hyperlocal communication (so keep your rep in mind), but these localized conduits are great ways for businesses to tailor their communication to specific consumers.
There’s Patch.com and the like, social media platforms and local directories such as Yelp and Manta, as well as local bloggers who easily become influencers writing about every possible topic. What local business manager isn’t ecstatic when his brand credibility is significantly improved by a local ambassador posting comments and images about his business?
Hyperlocal PR brings new opportunities to build brand identities and reach geo-targeted audiences and market products, and it has as much success as national PR.
Here are five tips for your next hyperlocal PR strategy:
Forget about the numbers.
When you’re running a local business, 200 locals customers are probably more important to your success than 2,000 people spread throughout the country. Keep in mind that you must reach the right, relevant audience, and underestimating the power of highly focused outlets would be a great mistake.
Influencers make the world go round.
Engaging your local influencers is vital when it comes to hyperlocal PR. You can reach them on social networks, asking them to share opinions about your services/products. Focus on reporters and editors of local print media, community-focused bloggers, and even customers who comment frequently on social media.
Tell your story.
Often, businesses forget the human side of their brand, and that’s a big mistake when it comes to local audiences. Customers want to read stories about employees, families, community projects, charity events, or special local celebrations. Social media is a great choice for sharing these stories.
Locate your business.
How many times have you found yourself choosing a restaurant, hotel, or car wash based on its location and word-of-mouth? When clients find a reliable vendor in their area, they tend promote that business by recommending it to family and friends. So, make it easier for them to do it: Use geo-targeted and mapping apps like Foursquare and Google, “pin” your story to an exact location, and give your clients the option to check in when they visit.
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Be a resource for your community. Most of your customers are already using digital tools to keep up with local events, breaking news, weather, and traffic, so be a part of the conversations about your area. Next time you’re posting on Facebook or Twitter, don’t focus only on general posts and funny pictures. Instead, be a resource for your local customers and offer them relevant content, and they will surely remember you.
Suzanne Mannion is executive vice president and co-founder at full-service communications firm Newsmaker Group. A version of this story first appeared on the agency's blog.