If you are a cottage baker then you probably know how hard it can be to grow your local following on social media. Your success and your confidence can take a big hit if you don’t have enough customers for your next pop up sale.
If that sounds like you, you’ll want to read this article all the way to the end because I am sharing my social media strategies to get more followers and expand your local reach online.
Using Instagram to grow your local following
Bakers are lucky because our work is just so pleasing to look at! Who wouldn’t want to have a newsfeed filled with beautiful images of perfectly frosted sugar cookies and gooey soft cinnamon rolls?
While drool-worthy photos are nice to look at, you’ll want to communicate to your followers that the photos you post actually products for sale. So before we dig into growing your following make sure everything you post has clear messaging and a call to action.
Use the right hashtags to grow your local following
Be selective with your hashtags and use them to narrow the search and place your items in front of the right audience. If you aren’t sure which hashtags to use, make a list of local vendors and businesses that are popular in your town. See what local hashtags they use and add those to your list. You can also do a search for “hashtag+your city” and “hashtag+your state”. You may find some new ones that way too!
Follow local vendors
Commenting on other people’s posts is a great way to increase your visibility. Start liking, sharing, and commenting on local vendor’s posts. With any luck, they will return the favor and do the same for you. The art of “borrowing” their local audience will help you grow locally and expose you to a group of followers you may not have been able to find on your own.
Use Geotags for local engagement
What’s a geotag, you ask? Geotags are specific physical locations that are added to your posts on Instagram. You can add a geotag by tagging yourself in your location when you post. Some research shows that posts with a tagged location result in 79% higher engagement than posts without a tagged location.
Do a local giveaway
While giving away your product may be a more costly option to grow your local following, consider using a giveaway more strategically to boost local follows. If you are baking for a paid order, bake a little more for a give away. You’ll save time and maybe even use ingredients that were extra anyway. When you are hosting a pop-up sales and you have extra items that did not sell, use those as your give away promotion.
Team up with local influencers
Thinking that the term “influencer” is a little extreme for your small town? All you really need to do is find someone with a good local following. It can be a friend or a business. Think about ways to work together. Work together to cross promote each other’s products, or have them sample your treats and post about it. Get creative about different ways to network together.
You may also enjoy another blog post I have written called Three Sure-Fire Ways to Increase Your Sales Today.
Other Social media ways to grow your local following
Here are a few more ways to increase your local following that are worth mentioning.
Use Facebooks Groups
Facebook groups are a another great way to bring your local followers together. Try searching in the Facebook Groups tab for the word “local”. Join as many niche appropriate groups that you can. You can also search for:
- Neighborhood groups (not just yours, but surrounding ones as well)
- Buy, Sell and Trade groups
- Parenting and Mom groups
- Artisan Craft groups
- Foodie groups
Try using the Nextdoor App
Nextdoor is a social app that connects neighbors, businesses, services and news updates. It may or may not be active in your area, but its worth a look. Its free to join and you may make a few additional sales from it.
Spend some time on social media and grow your local following and you’re sure to gain a few new customers
Now you know a few of my tricks for tapping into the local population on social media. You can spend some time on Instagram interacting local businesses, or network and promote your business even more! Try joining those local Facebook groups as well to really round out your clientele. What it comes down to is that social media marketing is work! If you put in the time, you will get better results.
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