There are Billions of Social Media Users, but…

Tons of People

… you should only care about the ones that can buy from you.

With global brands, it’s a different story, but when we’re talking about localized businesses trying to use social media to make an impact, the community itself is all that’s important. In fact, having too many fans outside of your market area can actually do more harm than good.

This hasn’t always been the case. There was a time a couple of years ago when it made some sense to go big, to build a strong fan base on Facebook or to accumulate followers from around the world on Twitter. Those days are well behind us, particularly with Facebook. Quality trumps quantity by a mile when it comes to Facebook for local businesses. This isn’t even really debatable anymore, but for those who aren’t sure, here are some reasons for this which we’ll be covering one by one in future blog posts:

  • Local Interaction Boosts Local Interaction
  • You Probably Can’t Sell to Someone in Jakarta
  • Don’t Take Away Your Most Reliable Facebook Tool
  • A Robust Page is Tight, Not Spread Out
  • When You’re Ready to Truly Market on Social, You’ll Want to be Localized

We’ll be covering these each in detail, but let’s start in this blog post with the first point…

 

Local Interaction Boosts Local Interaction

Honolulu at Night Facebook

It’s not double talk. A car dealer that has local fans as the vast majority of their following will be more easily able to get interactions on their social media profiles because they have the opportunity to take advantage of their localized content. In the example above, this stunning image of Honolulu posted on a Honolulu dealership’s Facebook page was able to get traction quickly because it resonated with their fans. This page is one that started off with 27 fans, a perfect scenario for a managed account that was pushed up with local Facebook ads only.

Facebook Post StatsAs a result, their fans are hyper-targeted for the local area. The post was promoted, but I’m actually regretting making that decision because it appears as if it had the merits to stand on its own. With 18 likes in 23 minutes on a page with just over 1000 fans, it’s clear that the bump (small as it has been in the early stages of the campaign) wasn’t necessary.

Don’t forget, Facebook works on an algorithm based upon actions and relationships. The actions that it takes into account are these:

  • Positive: People “talking about” a post through likes, comments, and shares
  • Positive: People interacting with a post by clicking on the image, video, link, or post permalink
  • Slightly Negative: People seeing a post in their news feed and not interacting with it at all
  • Very Negative: People reporting, unliking, or hiding a post or page

The relationships component comes into play with the users themselves. It’s a pretty complex algorithm, but the concept can be broken down pretty easily. If Sally likes a post from a local business and Suzie likes a lot of the things that Sally likes and posts, Suzie can be exposed to the content that Sally likes. This is the “viral” component that’s shown in the stat graphic above and it’s one of the most important reasons that you want localized fans. In this example, Sally lives in Honolulu and liked the post. Suzie also lives in Honolulu (as do 64% of Sally’s friends) and sees the image. As a local, she’s more inclined to like it as well.

When you keep your fans local, you’re able to get the benefit of familiarity and focus your posts on things that will be of interest to the local market. When you expand and have pages that are too far outside of the realm association with the local market, you can hurt even the interactions within the community. In the example above, it’s possible that Sally liked the image, but if there were thousands of non-local fans who liked the page but fell into the most likely scenario of negative interaction above – seeing posts and passing them by – then it’s very possible that Sally’s algorithmic boost that exposed the content to Suzie could get superseded by the other fans whose negative effect on the algorithm pushed the content down further on news feeds. In essence, too many fans who don’t really care about your local business area can keep the locals from seeing the posts at all.

Many businesses that start using social media for marketing do so because of the sheer bulk of the various networks. They demand a lot of time and attention of potential customers and just as television advertising works because people are watching it, social media marketing works because people are using it. However, do not get caught up in size issues. Your local business needs to stay as local as possible on social media. Arguments to the contrary are invalid.

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