How to grow a local following on social media

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As a social media marketing manager, managing your online presence could feel like navigating through an intricate maze at times. The competition is fierce, and the rules of engagement are constantly changing. If you're looking to grow your local following on social platforms, though, there's no better way than by coupling an excellent brand strategy with an effective Employee Advocacy program.

Growing a local following means making your brand known and valued within your community, which is a task that falls ideally on your local employees. Give them the tools and encouragement to become brand ambassadors, engaging with and increasing your local clientele through their personal network connections.

Step one in this process is to implement a structured employee advocacy program. Encourage employees to share brand content, voice the brand, and engage with potential customers. An effective, engaged workforce can be your biggest ally in this endeavor, leveraging their networks to expand your reach.

However, turning employees into brand ambassadors isn’t as simple as asking them to share a post or two. It involves constant encouragement, recognition for participation, and clear guidelines to follow. Transparency is key - let your employees know what you hope to achieve, and make them feel part of the journey.

Training is vital, too. Equip your employees with the knowledge and skills to effectively amplify your brand message on social media. This can involve a combination of learning resources from expert guidelines and tutorials, to workshops. Frequent knowledge checks and feedback sessions can help your employees get better over time, and provide valuable insights for refining your program.

Moreover, it's crucial that you produce content that your team will feel proud to share. The more your content resonates with your employees, the more likely they'll endorse and share it with their networks. Powerful, personal, and compelling content can increase employee engagement significantly, and in turn, extends your social reach dramatically.

Remember, the content that your employees share should foster conversations, and not just blind broadcasting. As a manager, you need to ensure that the content shared by your employees feels like a natural extension of a conversation, contributing to the discussion and adding value.

Consider personalized or location-specific content to take your local social media presence to the next level. Tailored messaging can create stronger bonds with local audiences, making followers feel recognized and valued. Encourage your employees to share local events, product releases, or news linked to your brand. This can contribute to community building and open the door for real-time interaction with customers, showing that there's more to your brand than just business.

Finally, recognition for contributions made by your employees is vital. Incorporate rewards and recognition into your employee advocacy program to foster enthusiasm and motivate continued participation. This also strengthens employee loyalty, which will reflect positively on their social media interactions with their network.

Building an engaged, local following on social media doesn’t happen overnight. It requires diligent work, employee advocacy, and a content strategy that encourages user interaction. By building authentic community engagement and fostering employee involvement, big brands can cultivate a local following that is both beneficial and rewarding. 

Remember, with every post, share, and interaction, you're expanding your digital reach and consolidating your brand presence in the community. So, leverage your biggest asset - your employees, and let your brand’s local persona shine through on social media.