Tapping into Social Advertising for Local Businesses

It’s no secret that social advertising is quickly growing with Google and Facebook accounting for approximately 65% of total digital advertising spend and 90% of the growth. Local businesses are increasingly looking to add social to their digital advertising mix, but often don’t have the expertise or time to do so. This creates a huge opportunity for the digital marketers that serve local businesses, but you have to first understand a few fundamentals such as:

  1.   What local businesses want.
  2.   The true influence of Facebook.
  3.   How to build a value-added ecosystem to show ROI.

What Local Businesses Want

Many local businesses are simply overwhelmed by social advertising. It’s intimidating. There are so many avenues, so many possibilities. If you don’t know where to start, you can get overwhelmed before even beginning. Based on a recent survey by ReachLocal, most local businesses don’t use social advertising because they don’t understand it:

Source: ReachLocal Survey
Source: ReachLocal Survey

These findings indicate that digital marketers have the opportunity to educate local businesses on how and why social advertising works. Since social advertising is fairly new to many local businesses, discussing how other businesses are using social advertising is a great first step, and can easily be done by using third-party research or conducting a survey of your target clientele.

For example, a ReachLocal survey revealed how its clients want to use social advertising:

  • 56% want to generate leads.
  • 21% want to generate fans and drive social engagement.
  • 23% want to build brand awareness.

The True Influence of Facebook

Facebook is huge; there’s no denying it. But it’s also increasingly important to the buyer’s journey. Beyond Facebook’s sheer size with nearly 2 billion users, the platform also supports the buyer’s journey.

What may start as a targeted ad on Facebook could lead to an internet search, which leads to finding a business and visiting their website. That may then lead to a buying decision or more research such as checking out reviews on Yelp or, you guessed it, Facebook. Finally, Facebook can retarget visitors with ads based on their recent searches, which could ultimately lead to a purchase decision.

It can also be an extremely cost-effective advertising medium, which can be an important consideration for local businesses. Either conduct your own cost analysis, or use third-party research to compare and contrast the cost of social advertising with other digital marketing mediums.


How to Build a Value-Added Ecosystem to Show ROI

At the end of the day, local businesses need to know that their social advertising efforts are paying off. As such, beyond knowing how to create and place social ads, marketers need to become experts on the entire digital marketing ecosystem, from the tools to measure success, to what other marketing efforts work well with social to create synergy. These efforts will create an ecosystem approach to social advertising that helps local businesses see the true ROI, take advantage of latent conversions, and integrate with key business systems.

As an example of the kind of ecosystem insight local businesses require, ReachLocal conducted a study designed to uncover the interplay of two major touchpoints: social and search. The study analyzed 1000 local business and found that search and social media marketing directly support one another with an 18% improvement in cost per click across 82% of customers using both of these solutions with ReachLocal. This is an example of the kind of granular, actionable data that will help position you and your company as trusted advisors on all things digital marketing, including social.

As evident by the significant digital dollars being spent on Google and Facebook, social advertising for local businesses presents a big opportunity for digital marketers. By educating themselves on what local businesses want, the true influence of Facebook, and creating ways to prove ROI, digital marketers have an opportunity to help their clients attain their business goals by tapping into the power of social advertising.

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