The Science of Local: Geo-Targeting Strategies in Social Media

There’s no denying the power of the local small business movement and its’ positive impact on growing the independent eyecare market.  A 2016 review by the U.S. Small Business Association showed 54% of US sales happen at small businesses. Finding local customers and specifically advertising to them is a major goal of all digital media marketing strategies for a small business, and with today’s technology you can specifically serve your message to very specific “hyperlocal” population sectors. This specialized marketing strategy is called geo-targeting, and you have access to utilizing it more easily than you may realize!

Social media marketing is a great way to connect with potential patients, but standing out in the overcrowded arena of the most popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be daunting. That’s where geo-targeting your social media campaign to the potential patients and customers you care most about for your business makes a big difference.  You can target the audience you care most about by their location, down to city and ZIP code, and even their age, gender, languages they speak, and interests they have. Each of the major platforms offer ways for you to tag or designate your post for local followers, so here’s how to maximize your social media message:

Pinterest:  The “Place Pins” feature is a perfect geo-targeting tool for business Pinterest accounts. It allows you to post pictures of your office, your services, and the frames you carry in your optical all tagged with your location.  Maximize the chance local searches will bring up your Pinterest account by making a dedicated board about attractions, food, and local things you love in your community. That way if someone clicks on a local restaurant from a picture posted on your board, they’ll be more likely to click over to your account and see your local optical services too!

Instagram: Remember, Instagram is only searchable by hashtags, so on every post you create you should include a local hashtag.  For a doctor that practices in Raleigh, I tag #Raleigh and #shoplocalraleigh in every post. Make sure you are following popular local small businesses to see what new and trending local hashtags show up in their tag lists and follow suit!

Facebook: Why is Facebook the most successful social media platform for businesses? The amount of customer demographic information they give you access to is unparalleled, and their Facebook ad campaign options let you tap into these demographics very specifically.  When you post something on Facebook you’ll see a little button saying “Boost Post.” If you click on this you’ll see you can choose who very specifically who will see your post through targeting choices. You can specify location, age range, gender, and interests a person has listed on their Facebook profiles. So if you’re an eye doctor in Boston you might chose Boston or even a specific neighborhood or ZIP code in the city, and interests like ‘fashion’ if you have a high end optical or ‘sports’ for example if you have sports vision practice.

Boosting a post does cost money, but there are also ways to target your Facebook advertising without paying a cent. Go to the Admin panel and under ‘Edit Settings’ you’ll see a tab called ‘Post Targeting and Privacy’. Changing the settings in this tab only allows you to specify targeting for the people that have already followed and liked your Facebook business page, but you can segment the content you want to specifically reach each sector of your followers for maximized performance. For example, a post about multifocal contact lens options can be specifically targeted to your followers 39 and up.

Just remember, physically having a local address only does so much in an online search. Make sure you actively promote and brand yourself as a local small business with all the tools social media platforms provide to make the biggest impact!