Audience: Local Business and Social Media

San Francisco

Are you creating a brand within a certain geographic area? Are you wondering where to begin locating local customers? There are plenty of ways to connect with locals while still not ignoring a wider audience! Starting with a simple plan is the best way to go. Here are a few ideas.


Facebook is still one of the stickiest and best platforms for engagement. Despite all the complaining people do about it, Facebook is still probably the most popular platform. Use photographs and behind-the-scenes posts to engage with users. Some limited tagging can be good, too, if your business model has you out in the field engaging with your clients. For instance, a car dealer might take a photo of a recent client with their new car and tag that person on Facebook. You can also do a search within your city to find other potential clients nearby.

Use Lists on Twitter

In Twitter, you can create lists of locals. For instance, I have lists of local people within the San Francisco Bay Area. You could create a list for your city, your county, or your state depending upon where you do business. Even if you’re an online-only business, you might be limited geographically.

Use Advanced Search within Twitter

If your business has a limited range, you can specify a certain geographic area within Twitter using advanced search. This feature is excellent for service businesses, in particular. Specify a particular distance from a city, say 15 miles. You can use this feature even if you don’t live some place yet. Say you’re moving to San Francisco and want to hear what people there are saying–you can still specific accounts tweeting near San Francisco. Twitter itself has some pretty good examples of search terms.

Check Local Sports Teams and Events

You could look at the conversations around local sports teams or events. For instance, the New York City Marathon is trending as I write this. If my business was in New York City, I could see who’s going to an event by searching for a hashtag, such as #NYCMarathon, and see who’s talking about the event. That could be great for someone who sells souvenirs or even a local taxi business.

See Who Follows the Local News

People who follow local news channels may include your audience. See who follows the news outlets or city government where you live. You may want to have conversations with some of the more active users.

Use HootSuite’s Chrome Extension with Google Maps

Did you know with HootSuite’s plugin you can enter your business address into Google and then check local tweets nearby? This is a very cool way to see active people near a particular address. This might be the perfect way to see what people are talking about in a specific neighborhood.

How Do You Find Locals?

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments! Thanks!

Audience: Use Their Language

Audience: Use Their Language

Audience: Use Their Language

Once you’ve figured out who your audience is and a bit about their demographic, why not start to use their language? There are many ways to determine if you’re using the correct language and these are just a few hints. If you still don’t know who your audience is, a survey is one way to get to know them. On social media, each platform has a different language as well.

Get Focused on Your Audience

So let’s imagine for a moment that you have figured out that your audience is mostly women who love athletic shoes. What could you assume about this athletic-shoe-loving woman? Maybe she thinks about what she’s going to have for lunch and dinner while she’s working out. She might be more willing to eat a salad than a pizza, she might love to watch sports on TV, and she might also be interested in athletic wear. She might be interested in ebooks about health and diet, buy pricey bottled water, and take lots of vitamins.

Charm Your Giraffe

Charm Your Giraffe

Charm Your Giraffe

If you were a zebra trying to market to giraffes, it’s entirely possible that you could succeed at that. Finding out what giraffes talk about would be a start: where to get the freshest leaves, how far the nearest and best trees are, and where the carnivores are hiding could be some big topics for a giraffe. However, having a giraffe on staff who could keep your giraffe client in mind would greatly help with your marketing efforts. Because it’s not about you! It’s about the giraffe! You know what I mean.

Don’t Use Jargon

Acronyms abound in marketing materials, and you don’t want to make your potential clients guess what those acronyms mean. If your brand is in high-tech or the medical field, be very careful to explain everything so you don’t alienate your audience. Sometimes you’ll see a brand with a social media page and have no idea what they do. When you create a page, why not ask someone from a different industry to take a look. That is, unless you only want to appeal to those in your industry.

Use Emotional Language

Find out how you can access the inner life of your audience. Using friendly language can make your brand more accessible, especially on social media. You can go farther and stand for ideas like freedom, romance, or compassion when you use emotional language in your marketing. And images can speak even more loudly than words.

Male Versus Female Lingo

If your audience is mostly men, your language will be different than if your audience is women. You can do a little research about gender differences in language. Keep a particular person in mind if you’re a woman addressing a male audience, or vice versa. And remember that the images should also reflect that gender bias.

Do You Target Your Audience with Language?

How have you changed your style to fit your audience? Or, if you haven’t, why not?


Pinterest: Tips for Startups

Pinterest Tips for Startups

Pinterest Tips for Startups

You’ve been using Pinterest for your startup for awhile now, but aren’t quite sure what to do. You pin sporadically, but have no strategy yet. Your new intern is already complaining about doing too much! What to do? Let’s say you’re a high-tech startup, as an example.


If you already know what your company stands for, you’re way ahead of the game. Make sure the entire team is talking to one another and ensure that you give the person doing the social media a very high overview of your brand and what it stands for. Is your brand down-to-earth? Techie? Do you specialize in video for the startup market? What words describe your brand? Your social media manager needs to have that list of words. You might also want to avoid a few newbie mistakes.

Consider Your Audience

Although everyone at your startup may be technical, your audience probably does not have the same level of expertise and know-how that the average engineer does. If you don’t know who your audience is, consider modeling yourself after a competitor. Ask yourself what they’re doing right, and also what they aren’t doing that you could do on Pinterest. Keep it simple.

Make Ten Boards

Use some of the branding words to design your boards. Ten is a good number to start with, so this process isn’t overwhelming. You can add more later, as you come across content that doesn’t fit neatly into any of your categories. For example: “Apps,” “3D Printing,” “Ted Talks,” “Movers and Shakers,” etc.

Have a “Bait Board”

Create a "Bait Board"

Create a “Bait Board”

This is a silly board–I don’t know what else to call it. It could be high-tech dog beds, or funny race cars, but something that humanizes you as a brand. Mine is called “Kittehs.” It is extremely silly, as you might imagine. Pick something like “Dogs at work,” or “Big Cats.”

Create a Schedule

Before you start madly pinning, create an editorial calendar. So for example, you may want to pin 5 pins twice a week about your field. If you’re a 3D Printing Startup, that might mean pinning 5 pins about 3D printing on Tuesday and Thursday. Keep it manageable because it will take some time. You don’t have to go crazy with pinning every day. The important thing is to be consistent and not make the intern crazy!

Start Following

Follow a few pinners whose pins resonate with you, and whose businesses might not be in direct competition. And if you decide you don’t like what they’re pinning for whatever reason, you can unfollow those pinners later.

What Has Helped Your Startup on Pinterest?

Do you have any ideas you’d be willing to share? Please leave a comment! Thanks!

Pinterest: 6 Reasons I’m Not Following You

Why I'm Not Following You on Pinterest

Why I’m Not Following You on Pinterest

You’re following a million people a day on Pinterest in the hopes that a few of them will follow you back. However, some of your practices make me instantly not want to follow you. Here are a few!

You Don’t Consider Your Audience

If you have women as part of your audience, consider not pinning images that are demeaning to women. And if you are trying to gain business from Pinterest, that goes triple for you. You might not get reported for porn, but you certainly won’t get followed, even if 99% of your pins are of good quality. Considering your niche and what they want to see should be part of your pinning strategy.

You Pin Too Much

Even if I like your pins, if my entire stream is filled with stuff from you, I might decide not to follow. While one or two Hello Kitty products are ok, seeing 100 of them all at once will probably make me want to unfollow. However, a thousand of them would be the best thing ever! (Joking!)

Subject Matter Doesn’t Interest Me

If you only pin ballet shoes, snow removal equipment, or feather dusters, I probably won’t follow you. But if you make those subjects interesting, I might follow you after all. Having a sense of humor about a subject matter that’s dry would probably make me admire you for the creative effort.

Too Many Boards with One Pin Each

Two Cats

If you have 150 boards with only one pin on each, that looks like you’re a newbie, or worse, a spammer. Fewer boards with more content on each board looks better. For one thing, your followers won’t have to scroll as much.

You Steal Content

If you steal content and claim it as your own, I’ll definitely unfollow you. Right after asking you to remove those pins, that is. Nobody likes a thief.

No Pins, No Followers, and No Boards

If there is nothing on your account, I won’t follow you. How will anyone know what to expect if there’s nothing there? There has to be some “there there!” Here are some ideas on how to unfollow on Pinterest.

What Makes You Unfollow?

Did I leave anything out? Please let me know in the comments! Thanks!




Social Media: Overposter or Underposter?

How Often Should You Post on Social Media?

How Often Should You Post on Social Media?

If your business is just getting started on social media, you may wonder about how often to post. Once a day? Once an hour? Several times a month? Every other month? Unfortunately, there is no easy formula to discover the perfect number of posts on a platform. Each brand uses social media differently, but here’s what I consider appropriate.

Each Platform is Different

If you’re talking about LinkedIn, then you probably don’t need to post that often. A good rule of thumb would be a couple of times a week. The same with GooglePlus. However, on Facebook, most businesses post more often, in comparison. I post once a day on my business page–twice if there’s a big announcement or something I can’t wait to share. On Twitter, if you only posted once a week, people would probably never see your tweet. On Twitter, I post 11 times daily, plus engagement, for a total of 30 or 35 tweets daily. Each platform also has its own language.

Who is Your Audience?

If your audience is primarily younger, say, under 30 years old, you can probably post more often. If they’re a bit older, they may not respond well to frequent posting. That’s a huge generalization. And if your audience is  Gen C, you might want to post more often, too. You might also ask your audience what they would like.

How Big is Your Audience?

How big is your audience?

How big is your audience?

If you have a larger audience, you may need to post (and engage) more often. Since social media is social, if you are asked questions, people will be looking for answers and responses from you. So for instance, if you only have 30 followers on Twitter, you will have fewer conversations than if you have 300 or 3,000. On Facebook, you might only post once, but interact multiple times throughout the day. Consider how often you’ll check in and put that in your social media strategy.

What is Your Brand Promise?

If you’re big on customer service, you may want to check in and post more often. Bigger brands often have an entire team of people who make posts. Consider that your needs may change as your audience grows.

Do You Consider Yourself Someone Who Posts Too Little?

How often do you post and how do you think you compare to others? I’d love to hear from you!


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