Stephanie Hobbs wrote for Search Engine Lands that businesses dependent upon local audiences must take advantage of the web to improve brand image.
A social media marketing strategy aimed at driving prospect engagement is critical for local businesses, expert Stephanie Hobbs wrote for Search Engine Land.

Businesses must monitor the conversations on the web surrounding their businesses and social media provides an avenue to direct these conversations. Asking questions, taking polls and using other techniques enables local businesses to address potential issues with prospective and existing customers before they become contentious. Companies might also use social chatter as an opening to invite nearby customers to events or exclusive sales as a means of generating local leads.

Content marketing campaigns can be equally effective in terms of engagement. Developing quality, engaging content will help businesses improve their search rankings and provide customers with information that might turn web traffic into foot traffic.

Other tools exist for businesses to monitor conversations about their brands on the web, Hobbs reports. Alert functions for new web content or social media mentions can help businesses be aggressive in responding to feedback, whether positive or negative.

Local search is becoming more popular, so businesses depending upon specific regional audiences must be sure to leverage this trend. Brafton reported earlier this month that 28 percent of adults use geolocation functions to locate nearby businesses. For smartphone users, this number is even higher. As smartphones continue to claim more and more of the mobile market, the number of people using geolocation tools will grow accordingly.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.