Leveraging Social Media and Search Marketing to Skyrocket Your Local Business’s Sales

local biz saleMost entrepreneurs look at the Internet as a mean to reach the global customers. While it is true that a lucrative market awaits you out there, let’s not overlook the local business opportunities you already have. And social media and search marketing, used properly, helps you skyrocket your local sales.

Studies indicate that there has been a tremendous growth in the local, mobile search volumes over the past few years. Google too confirms that more than 50 percent of mobile queries are local. They further claim that 4 out of 10 online users prefer to “Research Online Purchase Offline.”

Therefore, it makes sense to use your social profiles to connect with your local buyers and provide detailed information and your products and services through these platforms.

Social Media Platforms to Leverage

When it comes to social media marketing, you basically have three major content types in your arsenal, including

  1.    Written
  2.    Video
  3.    Visual

The following are 6 types of social platforms that can help you improve your local sales:

1. Twitter & Facebook

These two social media sites remain at the top in the social landscape. Using customer-focused and value-rich updates help you connect with users and establish a broader conversation with them. Content, timing, and engagement are crucial to access to a tremendous scale in these platforms. In fact, it is content and engagement you need to focus on:

  • Post photos, questions, insightful stats and facts, links to thought-provoking articles
  • Show off your products with large images
  • Run a timeline contest
  • Utilize “Boost Post” feature on Facebook
  • Put your phone number in the “About” section as well as in your posts
  • Run a “Facebook Offers” and use “Twitter Coupons”

2. LinkedIn

This is a great platform for B2B marketers, provided they know how to leverage its innovative features, such as:

  • Use LinkedIn advertising to reach the decision makers
  • Publish your content to your network directly
  • Improve your LinkedIn newsfeed
  • Create LinkedIn persona strategy. For example, ask questions on this platform instead of pitching as it invokes curiosity. The best strategy is to “Ask, listen, engage and find common ground” to resolve pain points.

3. Google+

Twitter and Facebook have no contribution to your SEO efforts, at least directly, confirms Matt Cutts. But Google+ has and therefore you need to be active on this social platform by:

  • Sharing photos, videos and content on Google+
  • Interacting with target audience via hangouts and chat tools in order to foster robust discussions
  • Filling up your basic information such as phone numbers, operation hours, map and website URL in G+ Local page

4. Pinterest & Other Photo-Sharing Networks

This is a great tool for B2C businesses, especially those from fashion, lifestyle, travel, and hotel and food domain. However, B2B businesses are also leveraging this tool to connect with consumers. To use photo-sharing sites like Pinterest, Instagram, and Visual.ly etc. you need to follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Images posted must add a visual angle to your brand
  • B2B business need to focus more on marketing infographics via these platforms
  • Encourage your followers to share their wish lists
  • Tell your stories with Pinterest boards

5. YouTube & Vine

If you have video content in your arsenal, start using them to connect with your local customers via video networks like YouTube, Vine, Instagram Video, or Vimeo. Using these platforms you can:

  • Showcase your product or unveil a new product
  • Cross-promote video content via video oriented tools such as LinkedIn featured videos and Twitter Cards
  • Use both scripted and unscripted videos to create sales copy, video testimonials, introduce your staff/workplace, share industry expertise, user manuals, and how-to’s

6. FourSquare & Location-Based Platforms

Location-based social networking tools like FourSquare provide great opportunities to promote your business to local customers. To tap onto this network you can use tools like special offers with check-in, loyalty points and rewards, and giveaways, etc. to attract your local customers.

The most crucial point that you need to understand from this is post is that “one size fits all” kind of an approach does not work for social marketing. Each social platform caters to a different category of users. Using audience insights and real data is the key to select the right network to boost your local sales. For example, a B2C business is in a better position to attract quality leads using tools like Facebook Offers. A B2B business, on the other hand, needs to focus more on LinkedIn and niche networks dominating a space to reach its target audience.


PatelVivek Patel is a Local Search Specialist at E2M, one of the fastest growing digital marketing agencies based in India committed to meeting the highest ethical standards of digital marketing services to encourage and drive strategic and sustainable business growth. He covers local search optimization, organic search tactics, and social media marketing strategies. You can find him on twitter: @vivekrpatel, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook.


Instagram Lead Generation – The Ultimate Guide

Coffee InstaDog InstaBreakfast InstaInstagram is not just for images of coffee, fluffy dogs, and your breakfast.

Though it is awesome for all of those, it has the highest user/brand interaction rate, 1.53% of the 150 million users in 2013 to be precise, significantly higher than Facebook’s measly 0.10%, as shown by Neil Patel’s infographic here.

I think it is safe to say that if your business is not leveraging the world fastest growing social media platform for lead generation, then you are leaving money on the table.

Though do not fear, in this ultimate guide to Instagram lead generation, I am going to share ALL of the best tactics that some of Instagram’s most powerful accounts are leveraging right now.

However, before we get stuck into specific strategies, I must first introduce a fundamental concept: the difference between owned and non-owned marketing lists.

You do not own the communication channel used to market to your Instagram/Twitter followers, Facebook Likers or LinkedIn Connections, if any of those respective platforms close down, you lose your list.

Therefore, any online marketer worth their salt should spend a significant amount of time attempting to move his audience from their non-owned, social lists onto their owned lists, in this case: email list.

Thus, the rest of this post is focussed on generating leads on your owned, email list through Instagram.

1. Targeting

Before embarking on any lead generation campaign, you must answer, in my opinion, the most important question in marketing.

Who is your Ideal Lead?

And more specifically:

  • What do they do in their spare time?
  • What are their goals and values?
  • What do they read/watch/listen to?
  • Where do they go on holiday?

It is crucial that you have a very clear picture of whom you will be targeting with your Instagram campaign for two reasons:

  1. It will make it MUCH easier to find these people on the platform
  2. You will make sales when the reach the bottom of your funnel

Only when a comprehensive profile of your Ideal Lead is created, can we move on to the next stage of the process.

2. Optimization

When your Ideal Lead lands on your Instagram profile they MUST immediately be able to tell:

  • That it is you
  • What they stand to gain by looking at your profile

We can achieve this through consistent branding, a benefit driven description and a compelling call to action.


Your Instagram handle, photo and feel of content must speak directly to your Ideal Lead, admittedly, your handle (company name) and photo (logo/headshot) are have most probably already been defined (Aside: I would ensure these are consistent across all of your social media profiles).

Which leaves your content, we will discuss in the promotion section below.

However an Instagram post would not be complete without mention of what is in my opinion the best example of social media marketing at this current time:

DanB Insta

Can you see the congruence between profile name, image, and content?


Your Ideal Lead does not care about you and your business, they care about themselves and the outcomes you have them achieve and/or problems you can help them solve.

And that is exactly what we are going to do.

The majority of business social media profile descriptions abide by the following formula:

“Hello, we are X, and we do Y.”

As discussed above, your Ideal Lead does not care about you or what you do, they care about what you can do for them.

I would propose we combine the vital information about your business with a benefit driven description and compelling call to action, just as Foundrmag do:

Foundr Insta

Now, I do not want to go into detail on your customer journey but to craft a benefit driven description and compelling call to action you need to understand exactly what problem your are solving/outcome you are achieving for your customer. Then you must take a small yet high-value part of the solution and offer it in exchange for an email address on a SPECIFIC landing page (more on this in the Tracking section later).

This landing page is then linked below your description, in an easy to remember fashion, note how Foundrmag use the URL extension “free” as a reminder for their Ideal Lead and the pointing fingers that I have found to increase click through rate.

Your description must clearly outline the benefit that your Ideal Lead will experience from a click on the link and subsequently obtaining access to your solution in exchange for their email address.

3. Promotion

We have our Ideal Lead profiled; we have our profile optimized for lead generation, now all we need is traffic…


What types images/videos does your Ideal Customer want to consume?

Do they have aspirations related to business, travel, relationships, money or nature?

This is what you need to be posting, at least once per day. Though regardless of your posting schedule, consistency is crucial, as your audience will start to expect your content in a certain schedule, you do not want to disappoint.

And as for the filter argument, let’s keep it simple; here are the top 10 most popular, according to Populargram:

  1. Normal (No Filter)
  2. Valencia
  3. Earlybird
  4. X-Pro II
  5. Amaro
  6. Rise
  7. Hudson
  8. Lo-fi
  9. Hefe
  10. Sierra

Wordswag and Canva can be used for editing images, adding text and Instagram’s Layout app to create multi-images.

Hyperlapse can be used to create time-lapse videos, see examples of how business can use these effectively here.

Protein World is a great example of an account with strong, consistent branding and regular high-quality content:

Protein Insta

Once your content type has been decided, it is time to research hashtags.

Search Instagram for keywords relating to the solution you provide for your Ideal Lead and note and hashtags that have over 1,000 images and record.

The TagsForLikes app can store custom hashtag lists and also provide hashtag inspiration. Built up a list of 25-30 core hashtags  (this is the Instagram hashtag limit per image) and save in the TagsForLikes app (this can also provide hashtag inspiration) for easy access.

When posting an image, include any other account in your image (more on this later), a short description and 2-3 image specific hashtags then add the rest of your more solution specific hashtags in the first comment below the image.

It is also important to track the time of each post and measure the number of likes/comments it receives and then optimizing your posting times to maximize engagement.

And finally, like every blog post.

Every Instagram image must have a call to action whether it be:

  • “Double tap if you agree.”
  • “(Question relevant to image and Ideal Lead)?”
  • “Tag a friend who needs to see this.”

All three of these will lead to more engagement and potential exposure for your Instagram account and offer.


Getting your users/Ideal Leads/existing customers is an excellent method to increase lead generation on Instagram. Depending on your brand, your customers may volunteer to send in content to your account for no cost and then go on to share it with their friends, who also fit the profile of your Ideal Lead.

The growth of sTitch Leggings Instagram profile has mainly been driven by user generated content (FULL DISCLOSURE – I am a co-founder of sTitch):

sTitch Leggings Insta


The Share For Share strategy for gaining Instagram traffic will see your account agree with another account that has a similar audience, and you take it in turns to mention each other, thus increasing your exposure to new potential Ideal Leads.

Though at the start of your profiles life cycle it may not be possible to obtain Share For Share partners, in which case some account may mention you in exchange for your product/service or cold hard cash. Pixlee is a great tool for finding influencers of your Ideal Lead.


The cheapest and most widely used strategy for growing Instagram traffic is through liking, commenting and following your potential Ideal Leads.

Remember the hashtags you determined for your content above?

These are exactly the same hashtags that can be searched to find your Ideal Leads.

I would recommend that for 20-30 minutes each day you/someone in your team, searching those hashtags most relevant to your Ideal Lead and like the majority of those images/videos and commenting on those that you have something genuine to say. For those people that you comment on, I would also recommend following and liking their top three pictures. You will find that some these individuals will follow/like you back.

Tools such as Crowdfire can be used to identify influencers or your Ideal Lead and even competitors followers to target.

While following your Ideal Leads, it is important to take your follower/following ratio into account, you don’t want this getting out of control. Ideally you can keep your ratio at least 1:0.5 and if you find your following count raising too high, I would recommend unfollowing to return the balance.


When out and about with people that have an Instagram, I would highly encourage to take pictures and share while mentioning the person that you are with.

The more you do this, the more people will reciprocate and mention you back, leading to more exposure.


Giving away stuff on social media is nothing new.

But it still works, so you could consider investing in some prizes that your Ideal Lead would potentially wish to claim and then either request people to tag a friend in the image to enter or even pay other Instagram accounts to run the competition with potential Ideal Leads following your account to enter.

Neil Patel utilized this technique and discussed in more detail here.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 6.14.59 AM


You now understand your Ideal Lead, have optimized your profile and have now started to drive traffic to your profile and should be experiencing clicks on your profile link leading to your landing page.

4. Tracking

Of course.

Expanding effort upon any marketing strategy is futile if you are not able to track results and compare to the resources (time and money) invested to calculate an ROI, here are the key metrics that MUST be tracked and optimized over time:

Landing Page Clicks: How many clicks does your profile experience?

Landing Page Conversion: What is the conversion rate on your landing page?

Lifetime Customer Value (From Instagram): What is the lifetime value of a customer obtained through Instagram?

Customer Acquisition Cost (From Instagram): How much does it cost to acquire a customer through Instagram?


There we have it, the ultimate guide to Instagram lead generation.

The next to you reach for your phone to snap your croissant and latte, remember that your Ideal Lead is out there searching for you, it’s now up to you to find them.

Tom Hunt is the Founder of Virtual Valley, a platform that connects Entrepreneurs and Rockstar Virtual Assistants with the mission of giving Entrepreneurs back 10 million hours of their time by 2020. Tom writes about how to grow your remote business on the Virtual Valley Blog, you can also follow him on Instagram here: @tomhuntio.

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