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Using Social Media to Drive the Local Movement

Social media used to be a platform about overly sharing your personal life such as what you ate for dinner, who you hung out with on a Saturday night, and how cute your dog is. But the game has changed and now social media has become a driving force for local businesses. It is a free platform where local business owners can share the ins and outs of how their business is run; they can indirectly advertise different products, share information about sales, and connect with consumers on a personal level.  

If you did not know already, I am a local LOVER. I can’t even explain to you how much I love spreading the love of local because if I really dig deep enough I may actually start to cry. The passion is strong and I try to do my best to spread the word as much as possible. However, I only have 3 Instagram accounts, one Facebook account, and just my voice.  So I need your help!

My first adventure into the local marketing scene was working with a magazine.  I was put into a sales position and I was asked to go around and talk to all the local businesses to see if they were interested in purchasing a few pages. I could not have been more excited!  However, as I started my meetings I recognized a pattern. The local businesses I loved and supported every day, did not have a large enough marketing budget to fork out THOUSANDS of dollars for this type of marketing opportunity. I constantly kept getting the same response:

“Why would I purchase a page in a magazine when I can get the same or even more reach on Social Media for free?”

Even though I was trained to combat these questions, I honestly couldn’t agree with them more! The power of social media is huge. The problem is local businesses sometimes struggle with generating enough content to keep their social platforms active, spreading the word constantly. One social media account can only do so much. But if I can teach locals how to use their social media correctly, together we can all become local influencers driving the local movement on social media – one post at a time.

So, here are a few marketing tips to help you become a local influencer on your own social media platforms and spread the love of local!

  1.  Take Pictures

I give you full permission to take a million selfies IF it is showcasing a local business. Whether it is you trying on clothes at Frock and Fellow,  drinking coffee on the patio at Bean Scene, or enjoying an ice cream from Artisto Gelato! As soon as you take a photo of your experience with a local business and post it on your social media platforms (whether it’s Facebook or Instagram… OR both) you’re supporting local in more ways than you can imagine.

  1. Use your Instagram Stories

I LOVE using my Instagram story. This helps get my message across and showcases a whole new view of what being a local in Kelowna is really like. People are able to follow your experience and crave the same lifestyle. Whether you’re walking down the aisles at the Kelowna Farmer’s Market, enjoying a local band at Parks Alive, or partaking in an outdoor yoga class up at Knox Mountain – you can share it all on your story. These stories are fun, they showcase your personality, and they show others how to embrace our local community in so many amazing and unique ways.

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  1. TAG your photos

Maybe you already are a huge social media guru and you celebrate local everyday on your Instagram feed. But I really just can’t say this enough… TAG YOUR PHOTOS! I see this time and time again where people are taking so many photos of their local experiences but they forget to actually tag the business. When I say tag I mean click the @ button and find the business you are wanting to showcase. You can tag businesses on Facebook, on your Instagram feed AND on your Instagram story.

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If you do not tag your photos, people’s curiosity stops at your page. So, in order to help the curiosity continue, tag the small business you are talking about. This not only helps your friends and family continue on their own local journey but it also lets your favorite businesses know you are talking about them. Instantly you have created a connection with your favorite local business and you no longer become a stranger to them.

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  1. Like and Share your favorite business’ content.

Due to the new algorithms but into place by Facebook so they can make more money off sponsored posts… it becomes very hard for local companies to get any sort of reach organically without the help of their loyal followers.   

The more likes a picture gets, the more likely it is going to show up on people’s news feeds. If a picture gets no engagement whatsoever then all of hard work they have put into creating content does not get acknowledged. So, if you have a favorite business … don’t just scroll past their content.  You can do your part by liking it. If you really love what they posted then tag a friend who you think will like it too or share it on your own Facebook feed.

So it really is simple. I am so grateful to live in a city where local comes first but unfortunately tourists come to Kelowna do not think in the same way. Tourists go to what they feel is comfortable. They will go to the biggest wineries, they will eat dinner at Earls or Cactus club because it is familiar, and they will go to Orchard Park Mall instead of Bernard when they want to go shopping. So, as a tourist driven city full of passionate locals we must do our part to teach those who are unfamiliar.

Confused about how to tag, what to tag, or where on earth your Instagram story even is?  We would love to help you so you can do your part as a local supporter so feel free to email us and we can get you on the right track.

Now get snapping, tagging, and get sharing!


Megan Shallow
Your Walking Local Directory

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