Facebook Adds a New Way to Target a Local Audience…And Other Hot Topics

As a small business owner, it’s likely that finding new and creative ways to reach your local audience is already at the top of your online marketing to-do list.

While you may not be able to match the “big guys” when it comes to marketing to a wider audience, you can use your size as an advantage when it comes to reaching people who live, work, and shop in your community.

This week, Facebook introduced a new way to reach a local audience with Facebook Ads.

With the holiday season right around the corner, it could be the perfect time to use Facebook Ads to reach local shoppers.

Find out about this top story, and get caught up on the other marketing stories you might have missed, in this week’s marketing news roundup.

1. Reach a local audience with Facebook’s new advertising option, Local Awareness

Facebook announced a new advertising feature this week designed to give small businesses a better option for targeting a local audience.

With the new Local Awareness feature, businesses will be able to enter their location, choose a radius around their business that they want to reach, and use Facebook to create an audience of local people on Facebook to advertise to.

Businesses will be able to filter the targeting even further by using demographic information like age and gender to target the ad.

Faceboook explains:

Local awareness ads are built to be more cost-effective than traditional advertising channels like newspaper while offering more precise targeting and greater reach. We think they’re the best way for local businesses to reach people near them, and the best way for people who use Facebook to discover more useful things in their area.

The new Local Awareness feature can be found under Objectives in Facebook’s Ad builder tool.

Bottom Line: As a small business, Facebook’s advanced targeting options have always been one of the biggest advantages of running a Facebook Ad. You can target based on location, demographic information, interest, and even purchase information.

You can also use tools like Custom Audience, which allows you to use your email list to target people who already know your business.

With this latest update, Facebook is making it even easier to create an ad to reach a local audience. This can help you attract new local fans to your Page and more local customers to your business.

2. E-commerce sales expected to rise between 8 – 11 percent this holiday season

According to a new report from Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation (NRF), E-commerce sales are expected to rise between 8 – 11 percent this holiday season.

Online sales are expected to reach $105 billion in 2014, according to the NRF. Overall, holiday spending is expected to increase 4.1 percent over 2013.

Bottom Line: If the holidays are a busy time for your small business, you know how important the next few months will be. Whether you’re hoping to generate sales online, or in-store, you’ll need a plan to reach the right people, with the right message, at the right time.

Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to set your business up for success.

Find more ideas for your holiday marketing in our Holiday Resource Center.

3. Survey: 49 percent of consumers will make holiday purchases based on social referrals

According to a new survey from MarketLive, 49 percent of consumers in the U.S. will make purchases based on referrals from social media this holiday season.

The survey, which includes responses from 1,000 U.S. adults, also found that 55 percent of consumers will use social networks to find new products. 48 percent of participants say that they think it’s important to share recommendations with friend and family via social media as well.

Other interesting findings include:

  • 52 percent feel that it is important to review products they have purchased
  • 70 percent said they were likely to research gifts they found in retail stores on their smartphones
  • 42 percent may reconsider buying gifts online due to high shipping costs
  • 36 percent said they intended to purchase at least one-half of their gifts via mobile devices

Bottom Line: Social media’s role in influencing consumer purchase decisions has evolved in recent years. While consumers have always used sites like Facebook and Twitter to ask questions and give recommendations, new platforms like Pinterest have taken social referrals a step further — allowing people to collect and share the things that are most interesting to them.

As a small business, you can take advantage of social media’s growing influence by staying active, and sharing helpful and engaging content throughout the holiday season. Look for opportunities to share gift ideas, without clogging your fans and followers’ feeds with unwanted sales messages.

Look to create content that people will want to share, and take the time to answer questions and respond to feedback whenever you get the chance.

For more holiday marketing ideas, check out our Holiday Marketing Tips & Ideas for Small Businesses board on Pinterest.

4. Google now lets you add polls to Google+ posts

Google added a new interactive sharing feature on Google+ this week, giving users the ability to include polls in their Google+ posts.

With the new feature, Google+ users can come up with a question and provide multiple answer options as a way to get audience’s thoughts on a particular topic.

Google+ explains:

Polls make it easy to get opinions from your friends and followers on the things you’re curious about. You can create polls with up to five choices and use photos to make them beautiful and engaging. 

Bottom Line: Social media is a powerful platform for collecting feedback from customers, and potential customers. You can use sites like Facebook and Twitter to ask questions, and get people to share their ideas. You can also share content and track your insights to see what people are most interested in.

On a site like Pinterest, you can monitor what products people are pinning the most and even get new ideas based on the content your audience is curating.

With the addition of polls, Google+ is adding another new, creative way to collect feedback from your network. If you’re on Google+, this tool could be a valuable resource for gathering insights and keeping your audience engaged.

Give polls a try. Take our poll!

(Can’t see the poll. View it here.)

https://plus.google.com/110140031775492017624/posts/LzVDEx3eREn

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