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Social Media Marketing: For Local Businesses, Quality trumps Quantity.

One of the main goals for a business on Social Media is to grow their followers. While our follower count should be important, sometimes we need to take a step back and not get lost in the craze.

Ask yourself these two questions.

1) What is the main goal of your business?

2) What is your main goal on Social Media? Your answer to these two questions should be 1) To make money.

2) To increase your chances of making money.

Why Quantity over Quality does not make sense

This is not a high school popularity contest. As a local business, the success of your company directly depends on how many customers walk through your doors and make a purchase. That is why quality of users trumps quantity.

Why are you spending money gaining followers from California when you are a local restaurant in Detroit? Do you know how many things have to go right in order for one or two of those followers in California to actual turn into income for your business? I would rather have 5,000 followers that are local, potential customers, engaging with my relevant content than 20,000 “phantom” followers from all over the world. Don’t take this the wrong way. You should be happy about every single follower that you gain. However, as a local company, you should not be investing time and money gathering followers from all over the world – and collaborating with out-of-state accounts / businesses – when that will never translate into concrete returns. Return on Investment should not only apply to monetary investments either. Time is just as, if not more, valuable than money. Think about the opportunity cost. That time would have been much wiser spent targeting and engaging with local accounts that physically can turn into customers.

Okay, but you still want a lot of followers

If you want to create a sense of popularity within your local community – buy followers. Some of you may gasp at this suggestion, but it’s the truth. For $10, right now, you can purchase close to 5,000 followers. Sure, some of these may drop off. Think about it. Do you know how large of a social media marketing budget and networking you would have to do to gain close to 5,000 followers? Yes, these accounts are fake – it doesn’t matter to you. As a local business, these fake accounts are worth to you just as much as those real ones from California. Neither will ever transfer into real income.

Possible Arguments

Now, I know what you're thinking - but, but, non-local followers are still valuable in the sense that they increase your popularity through algorithms to local followers too and can in-directly lead to more money - right? Well, let’s look at what Instagram’s algorithm actually looks at.

Instagram’s newest algorithm update (As of August, 2017) depends on 7 key factors. Listed below: 1. Engagement: How popular the post is

2. Relevancy: The genres of content you are interested in and have interacted with

3. Relationships: The accounts you regularly interact with

4. Timeliness: How recent the posts are

5. Profile Searches: The accounts you check out often

6. Direct Shares: Whose posts you are sharing

7. Time Spent: The duration spent viewing a post So yes, engagement is important. However, there are six other key factors that the algorithm depends on; key factors that are increased by marketing to a local audience. An Instagram spokesperson also had this to say – “the ranking of Instagram posts will not be a popularity contest. Posts with less engagement but which are more relevant to you can still appear right at the top of your feed”.

If likes and simple comments are your goal – just hashtag. Post a picture or a video with some of the most popular hashtags relevant to your business. Hashtags are free, limitless, and take 5 – 10 minutes of your time. Just please, for the love of everything that is holy, do not spend your time collaborating with useless accounts and pouring money into large scale marketing. You don’t need it. Spend that money on local customers and deepening brand loyalty within the community. Always be weary of your return of investment with everything that you do.

Disclaimer: As I’ve mentioned throughout the post many times – these rules only apply to local businesses. If you offer online services, or sell your products online – these rules do not apply to you.

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