How to Use Social Media for Location-Based Sales Prospecting
- Use location information to better personalize your pitch
- Use Facebook ads to generate location-based email leads
- Use Twitter hashtags to find location-based tweets and influencers
- Use Twitter bio search to find local bloggers and journalists for prospecting
Why Local Sales Prospecting?
If you are a local brand, chances are you are not asking this question. It’s clear that you are in the constant quest for customers and targeting your search by location is an obvious idea. But what if your brand is global? You are in luck! This guide will be useful for you, too, because it will allow you to target your pitch more efficiently:
- Email your prospects to notify them of local events your company is hosting or attending
- Invite them to download location-based digital assets (which will trigger higher engagement)
- Put your local content forward to generate links (especially when it comes to local journalists and bloggers)
Defining Locations to Target
If you are a local business, the answer is simple: You are going to target the area your business is located in. But what if you are a global business targeting your prospecting locally to personalize your pitch (or your influencer campaign) better? How do you know which locations are worth time and effort? Or at least where to start?
Of course, if you are well into a niche, you may know some of the most obvious locations where your industry is the hottest. You can use your market research team to better understand which locations to target first. There are also tools to help too!
Serpstat is a keyword research tool that has the locality filter you are looking for. Just search for your core keywords, then click “Organic keywords” and use the filter called “Filtering by place names” to set the search results to only include “Keywords with toponyms.” (Note: A toponym is just a fancy way to say “the name of a place.”)
Serpstat will then show the phrases that contain geographical names in them. These geographical keyword modifiers will help you understand which locations are usually typed next to your core keyword terms when people search on Google.
For example, if you search for a generic term like “coffee” while enabling the toponymic filter, you can see that some of the more searched places/locations for that word are Seattle, San Francisco and Houston.
You can export search results into Excel and then use conditional formatting to color-code different locations to easier find those that are listed more often.
You can even get some insight into local brands and plan your content marketing strategy accordingly.
Moreover, you can see each term’s competition, which can help you make some assumptions as to how saturated the market is and how many companies are competing for attention there.
Using Social Media for Location-Based Sales Prospecting
Now that we have an initial list of locations we are going to target, let’s see how we can apply our social media channels to build a list of prospects to create our sales pitching strategy.
Generate Initial List Using Facebook Local Ads
This is the easiest first step. Facebook ads are very easy to set up to target a very narrow audience. You can literally target as close as one mile to any address and immediately see how large your potential reach is.
Try testing your chosen location by creating ads that offer free downloads to help grow an initial email list. This allows you to pick more successful locations and develop your strategy around them.
Make sure you segment each list very carefully to make sure your leads are marked in the appropriate location. This will allow you to set your email personalization more efficiently to help turn those leads into customers.
Monitor Twitter for Local Hashtags
Thanks to the openness of the platform and to the variety of handy tools, Twitter is by far the best platform for monitoring. There can be a variety of local hashtags, so you’ll do a lot of searching before deciding which ones seem to have most relevant results for you to set up tracking:
- Major location hashtags: Put # sign before the name city and search it on Twitter. This is a great way to start. Most cities and towns have active hashtags, so you can watch people tweet about what’s going on locally and reach out to them accordingly.
- Local brands: Local venues, restaurants, entertainment centers — depending on your niche, there should be plenty. To discover local brand hashtags, I suggest starting from local directories: They have lots of brand names and events that are often turned into hashtags. Here are a few for you to start: Patch, DirJournal Local, Yelp, etc.
- Local events: Conferences, festivals, seminars, webinars, concerts…they all have their own hashtags people can use to track updates, share their own or discuss the coming event.
How to Track?
I use Tweetdeck to monitor multiple hashtags on Twitter. You may prefer Hootsuite or some other social media monitoring tool, but I like Tweetdeck more — not just because it’s free, but also because it delivers desktop notification of new tweets in my feeds, so I can interact right away.
You don’t have to get desktop notifications of all your columns (You’d be overwhelmed!) You can set up which hashtags you want to hear more from:
However, you don’t have to be like me: Pick your own social media monitoring solution. Here’s a good breakdown of the pros and cons of three of the biggest social media monitoring tools.
If you come up with too many hashtags to track in real time, archive them with Cyfe which offers an unlimited number of widgets, so you can create one huge dashboard, all monitoring and archiving your chosen hashtags:
What to Do With Those Hashtags Next?
Depending on which types of local hashtags you are monitoring, there may be different actions you want to take to reach out more properly:
- Keep in touch with your potential prospects by replying to their location-based tweets.
- Adjust your in-house content marketing editorial calendar to cover the largest local events. SEJ’s Pubcon Survival Guide is a good example of timing your content marketing to utilize an upcoming local event. Here’s more inspiration on which types of content you can create to entice and target your local audience.
- Interact with local brands (as well as their employees) and offer assistance in coverage of their charity or awareness efforts.
Use Bio Search on Twitter for More Precise Targeting
In many cases, you just need to sit down and create a list of prospects to reach out to. Twitter’s bio search is a great way to do that.
You can use Twitter advanced search to find tweets around any location by using “Near this place” option.
But this will often trigger too many results. A better way to search Twitter for industry influencers is to do a bio search (i.e. search for words people use in the bios.)
Twiangulate is one of the best tools to search Twitter for bios. You can choose the location name to be mentioned in the bio along with the keyword that represents your prospecting purposes. For example, you can search for journalists located in New York to reach out to them to generate awareness for your local event:
Are there any tools or tips I have missed? Please share in the comments below!