Even in a world where technology underpins virtually everything anyone does, many small towns have been slow to adopt the use of social media as a marketing tool. A motto of most small towns is that “Everybody knows everybody,” which leads to people believing there’s no need for social media marketing. Small businesses run on word-of-mouth recommendations and loyal, local customers. However, most people today will research a business on social media before even stepping foot in the store, even if they’ve gotten a recommendation from a trusted friend. This is one of the many reasons small towns need to be encouraging local businesses to use social media as a tool.
Social media is an incredible tool to reach a larger audience. Having the accounts open to the public makes it easy for people to leave amazing reviews that the business can then share. This is like word-of-mouth marketing on steroids! Social media will give the local, loyal fans a platform to share their love for the business and the surrounding community with so many more potential new customers. Having social media also allows the business to track the wants and needs of its customers so they can make changes almost immediately. It also gives the business a platform to spread the word about local events and promotions that they or their community may be hosting. This not only helps this business, but the surrounding businesses, and the community as a whole. Social media can help businesses create a brand identity, maintain customer relations, and make connections that were never before possible.
Social media isn’t just beneficial for local businesses. Towns can benefit greatly from having their own social media accounts as well. When a town has social media accounts with a recognizable brand and identity, it helps the citizens love where they live and want to spread the word about how great their small town is! Look at Blowing Rock, North Carolina’s Instagram account, for example. They’re getting tons of engagement through likes and comments on every post and have successfully created a recognizable brand using hashtags. They also are encouraging community members to share their own posts about the town that they love so much. I took a screenshot from their tagged photos to show just how engaged and willing their community members are to talk about a place they love.
It can be intimidating to decide to take on a project that seems as vast as social media, but the ability to easily communicate with the citizens of the town and monitor their opinions should be reason enough to invest in it. It only takes a little time and creativity to get it up and running. Towns can post about community-wide events happening, promote local businesses, and even recognize some public service workers that rarely get recognized otherwise. This helps build character and give reliability to the city officials, which helps the citizens of the town feel comfortable enough to talk to them like they’re their neighbors - because they are. Social media is a tool in today’s world that should not seem daunting. The ease of access and communication the city can establish with the community members will help the city build a community that is not only good for them, but for the citizens as well.