Dave Rohrer will be speaking on Local Business Marketing at Engage 2018, which will take place March 8th, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here.

1) Please give us your background and let us know what you do for a living

Some years ago, I started as a web developer, transitioned to an in-house SEO manager, which lead to be an online marketing manager and finally I joined the “dark side” by becoming a SEO lead at an agency. In late 2014/early 2015 I left working for a larger agency and went out on my own where I still am today. When I am not helping my agency NorthSide Metrics’ clients with SEO, Social Media, PPC or anything digital marketing related I can be found co-hosting The Business of Digital podcast with fellow Engage speaker Matt Siltala or speaking at conferences such as Engage.

2) If you are a local business with only enough budget to hire a consultant for several hours a month, what would you have that person focus on?

It can be tough for a small business to do lots of marketing as the time and costs quickly add up. If there is budget but it is very limited to the point you can only hire a consultant for a few hours I would have them focus on strategy and giving feedback on ideas or projects that will help move the needle for the business. When the budget is stretched there are often questions around if a business should advertise on Bing, Google, Facebook or some industry vertical or if some big content/web development project is the right one – that is what you hire the consultant.

I have worked with clients in this manner before and we would have calls every 2-4 weeks where we would review work done, projects, next steps, or anything going on. The client often would be the person doing the work or in some cases they had family members, interns or very junior employees eager to learn do the time-consuming work.

I have seen this type of approach work time after time.

3) How can a local business win at social media without buying ads?

The toughest thing to get from customers and prospects these days is their attention (yes, getting them to spend money can be difficult as well). With recent announcements by Facebook regarding news feed changes coming it is going to get even harder on Facebook for companies to have any Organic reach. So, without lots of resources and ad budget you might not be able to “win” in the traditional sense at social media but you can still make a difference for your business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Brand Protection

For most of the businesses that I work with I often suggest they have a basic presence on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Forums, Pinterest, etc.). What this means is that they should at least reserve their name, monitor it for brand/vertical mentions and watch for opportunities to jump in and solve customer issues.

Customer Service

I personally have run into great CS from brands online and horrible experience. While not everyone has a Twitter account or even a Facebook those pages for a business are another way that customers can interact with them. I always recommend that businesses of every size monitor social networks for unhappy customers and try and resolve the issues offline whenever possible.

Slow Organic Grind

The last thing I recommend is to look at Social as a long-term email drip campaign that every day, week and month you want to keep adding people too. The goal isn’t to go and follow 1000 or 2000 people tomorrow on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. I am also not saying to play the follow/unfollow game. Rather look for people or companies in your industry, that talk about your industry, follow or join Facebook and LinkedIn Groups that make sense. Put in some time constantly and try and grow things slowly by participating where and when you bring value. Then become part of the conversation by sharing great content and producing great content people want.

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