10 social media tips to help rural businesses raise their visibility

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This is a guest post by Sue Harbottle-Sear who runs Konzepts. Sue helps rural businesses raise their visibility by using social media effectively. Here, she shares her top tips for rural businesses to overcome the challenge of being seen.

Rural businesses often struggle to publicise their business,
as the general footfall or visibility of a high street or industrial estate
location simply does not exist.

But you have a website, right?

If you have Google Analytics, which any self-respecting website should have, you might see that your site might not get enough traffic to engage your customers with your business.

Social Media to the rescue!

But how?

To help you, I’ve put my Thinking Hat on and come up with 10
tips, which should be of great help to get to grips with the key elements of
good social media!

1. Claim your business on Google and explore Google My Business

Why?

When your potential customers
search on the internet, they usually receive results based on their location.
These local search results are so important for rural businesses, not only
helping you to be found, but also allowing customers to review your business.
Google My Business makes it easier for customers to find information about your
business online, including opening hours, contact information and directions –
and across multiple devices.

2. Pick the right platform(s) for your business and don’t spread yourself too thin

Facebook and Twitter are
certainly the ‘go to’ places for  your
business to get the right visibility. You can find great rural communities on
Facebook and Twitter to interact with and target, too!

Setting up a professional
Facebook Business page is easy. Facebook guides you through it. And keep it
professional with only a few personal bits thrown in and make sure that
personal posts relate to your business!

3. Post consistently to help your visibility

Post regularly and at times your
target audience is likely to be online. (Mothers having picked up children,
lunch breaks, post evening meal, journey home on train or public transport)

And keep it up!

4. Concentrate on content that grabs attention

Make sure you adjust your content to the relevant platform! Facebook does not really do hashtags and you have more space to spread your message. Really look at what works on each network and develop content specifically for that network.

5. Add value to your audience

Social Media is not about
sell, sell, sell!

Imagine yourself as a customer of your business. What would you like to see from a business such as yours to capture your interest? Don’t panic about creating lots of content. You can always share things you’ve found online that are relevant to your business. Just make sure you give the original author credit!

6. Use scheduling tools provided free of charge by Twitter and Facebook

Rural businesses often
struggle with broadband connection. This is where scheduling comes in.  Using scheduling tools will help you get your
posts lined up in advance, making the most of the times your internet
connection is at its optimum.

Both Facebook and Twitter have
their own scheduling tools. With Facebook, you can schedule posts right from
your page by choosing when and what time they are published.

Twitter has its own platform
called TweetDeck, which you can use to schedule your Tweets. Of course, there
are many other tools out there; pick the one that suits you best.

7. Boost posts or place adverts on Facebook to ensure your business is seen

Nowadays organic Facebook
reach is nearly non-existent, so you need to invest for your audience to see
your business.

Check on your business page
under Publishing Tools – you can see all your posts and how well they did –
boost the ones, which have already a good ‘reach’, as it means Facebook likes
the content.

BUT – ensure you set the right
target audience! Get more bang for your buck by using Facebook’s facility to
set just the right audience for your business.

It is pointless paying for UK
wide placements, if your target customers are in a defined geographical area.

Yes, you may have a fabulous
reach, however could they really become your customers?

8. Join local Tweetchats

Tweet chats are chats that
take place on Twitter, and they really help to increase visibility and reach. Simply
explore the Twitter Hours for your location, county, activity or business.

Here are some examples: #CornwallHour #SussexHour #DevonHour #BerkshireHour #WokinghamHour #EBHour  

If you have a rural wedding venue you might look out for #WeddingWednesday and #WeddingHour to engage with your industry.

Search for them in your search
window and see when it’s happening and join in!

9. Check your hashtags!

Hashtags help categorise
conversations on social media. They are used predominantly on Twitter,
Instagram and LinkedIn. They are a great way to find conversations you can
join, or even just to help you do some research.

Before using a popular hashtag,
check out the content under it, after all, if it is being abused, as the once
popular #Shoutout now is – you would not want your business associated with
that tag. Great ones to use are the weekday tags, such as #MondayMotivation
#TravelTuesday #WednesdayWisdom #ThursdayThoughts #HappyFriday, and so on.

Another great way to get visibility for your business is to create a brand hashtag. This is particular to your business and you would use it when sharing your own content. It’s a great way to check how far your content travels.

10. Include links and/or images and videos in your posts

We all have short attention
spans, so think about including images or videos with your posts. What would
make your audience stop and read your post?

Not only does your content
become more visible, your audience has something to interact with, which helps
to increase the organic reach of the post.

Use links to content on your
website or links to content of other pages, which is relevant to your business.

Post short videos of your
business activities or even create one with the help of Facebook, by uploading
up to 10 relevant images and letting them create it for you!

Other networks

In this article, I’ve focused on Facebook and Twitter. There are, of course other social media platforms you can use, such as Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and so on.

Work out if your audience uses these before you dive into
using them for your business. As a guide, here’s how they generally break down:

Whichever network you choose, remember to take a structured approach and create a plan that will help you achieve the results you want.

If you liked the tips in this post, why not sign up to receive The Marketing Morsel? You’ll get weekly bite-sized marketing tips to help you find your inner marketer.

This content was originally published here.