I often tell people when they ask me about Social Media “It’s nothing to do with the technology”.
It is true. Social Media Marketing is nothing more than Face to Face Networking on a grand scale, online. Before computers even came into being there were breakfast meetings, business connections made at golf and tennis clubs. All of these were places where the business community could meet to swap contacts, the latest gossip or insider information.
These “Elite Societies” no longer have the exclusivity on networking. It hasn’t made the act of networking any easier, you still need to approach people, but technology has made it far more accessible. One other thing that has occurred in the last 10 years or so…
The Internet has become more local
When I first started flogging web sites in the late 90’s it was the dream of reaching markets around the world; or at least within the rest of the UK, that I was selling. Grants were made available by local Chambers of Commerce to help small businesses get online and start selling. Road networks’s as well as digital ones, in the area I live aren’t as well connected as the rest of the country. The Internet was seen as a way for local business to reach out beyond this handicap.
Funny then how the world turns in on itself in such a short period of time. As technology simplifies the things we do like networking, local becomes the Internet champion. Foursquare, Google Places and Facebook check-ins being touted as some of the up and coming technologies. Making the Hyper Local Market the new market.
Mobile devices have certainly played their part
Access to relatively cheap and smart technology has meant that nearly everyone over the age of 16 has a device with the power of a mini-computer in their pocket. With mobile subscriptions now over 100% of the population in most developed countries of the world, many owning more than one device. Even in less developed countries mobile penetration is at nearly 70%.
Mobile, The Internet and Networking (Social Media) have all come together to create the Perfect Storm for Hyper Local Marketing.
There’s just one thing missing, the “local connection”
You can have people visit your coffee shop, pub, hotel, shoe shop, bakers, butchers or newsagents and tell the rest of the local community they were there. You can, with their permission, connect with these customers, offer simplified loyalty programs to encourage them to further market your outlet on your behalf. It doesn’t matter what type of business you run you can dominate the local market with the use of today’s technology and communications infrastructure.
All you need to do is enable it
If you haven’t already, create an open WiFi network in your business. Make it freely available to the local community and all those that frequent your premises. You can use the login process as part of your data capture initiative if you wish but by doing this simple thing you enable the local market to Market your business for you.
The one thing that is restricting the potential for Hyper Local Marketing is the provision of Internet access at the local level. Rather than wait for some Broadband initiative to come to your village or town, you can take the lead and provide access direct from your outlet. Not only providing a service to the local community but a reason for people to recognise your business locally online.