How to use social media to connect with a larger regional audience?

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How can we use social media to connect with a larger regional audience and increase our membership sales? - Asheville-area "Green" Building Organization

We would suggest you implement a content-driven social media campaign, backed by an aggressive fan/follower acquisition and website promotion campaign. The best way to engage new prospects and keep current members interested is to provide a constant stream of insightful, helpful, and interesting information - not just info on your business, but other things your target market may find useful or enjoy. In your instance, you could maybe have a series of posts about "How to" DIY greening projects around the home, etc. The idea is to provide content that people find helpful and share with others, both of which position you well in their minds when you make your intermittent membership pitches (through the social media channels, email lists, etc). Make sure you're on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, backed by a blog with great, informative content. Every time you write an article on the blog, publish to all your social media outlets. Think about writing and publishing articles like "Learn 14 Ways How Building Green Can Save Your Business Money" (which, of course, has a plug inserted for your services)...

The other important aspect to a social marketing campaign is obtaining more fans/followers. There are obviously many methods, but we've found one of the most effective is to run contests. Perhaps offer a small related service or product that costs you little as an incentive for "following, friending, etc." The more interesting, the more viral it is. If you can start to introduce advertising funds, you can then place targeted advertisements on Facebook, Google, etc. which will help with acquisition. You know your audience best - simply provide content, incentives, and information they need and want, and then alert your target demographic to those things by any and all means available to you. You can probably also do some successful B2B marketing on LinkedIn (you can set up a company page to be followed by other professionals, similar to Facebook). Basically, use social media both to drive people to your site (where they can be properly converted from fans to customers) and to stay engaged with them long-term so you can market to them passively. Try also to engage and incentivize local "thought leaders" - people in the community who have online/media influence and followings (whether through Twitter, local print media, blogs, etc.) - to talk about your services on social media (good old fashioned bribes work great here).

Once you have the traffic and the interest, I would also suggest using a strong call to action and lead conversion technique on your website. There should be an obvious, eye-catching way to convert a website visitor to a potential lead. This can take the form of a simple input form - "Sign up here for our newsletter" or maybe a free quickie E-book like "Sign up here to receive our 10-page Insider's Guide to Green Building". The idea is to provide a reason and a method for someone who's coming to your website to identify themselves as a potential customer and give you their contact information. Put it at the top right of the page and make it very obvious. Then when you drive people to your website through advertising, social media, and other means, you have an effective way to turn those people into leads, and hopefully customers.

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