By sharing content that interests your local community, you can boost your visibility in Facebook and connect with more followers.

Thanks to recent changes to Facebook’s news feed, it’s harder than ever to get your small business content in front of social media followers. That’s why it’s crucial to stand out with local content. By sharing content that goes beyond the scope of just your business or industry, you show Facebook that you are worth being ranked with authority.

Using local content marketing effectively means understanding what Facebook looks for in addition to understanding your target audience. There are many topics, strategies, and campaigns that can be used to achieve local content marketing and grow your business.

Gear Your Local Content To Reach a Specific Audience

Who exactly are you striving to reach with your content? Taking some time to research and determine your target audience is key to using the right kind of local content to reach them. As you research, think of some topics that will be relevant and helpful for specific individuals.

Content marketing experts warn against skipping this step. “Instead of just writing down some demographics you want to reach, tell a story. Give your ideal customer a name, talk about [his/her] situation,” said Garrett Smith, founder and CEO of Pitch + Pivot. “This will begin to show in your social media posts and get more people engaging.”

When you think of your target in terms of individual Facebook users, your unique and specific content will shine through.

Get Involved with Local Events

In addition to writing and sharing your original content, you should also stay up to date with local events. While there is great benefit in sharing links to community events, local news stories, and Facebook events, you can take your local content even further by participating in local events or creating them yourself. Consider creating a Facebook event for an upcoming local high school game, festival, or family night, especially if you haven’t seen a Facebook event already created for it.

Joe Garraffo, CEO of EfferentMedia, encourages small business owners to take advantage of local events because of the networking opportunities and community support opportunities they present.

“Being a vendor or sponsor at a local event lets customers know that your business is willing to get involved with the community that houses it. People within a community feel strongly about supporting the businesses around them, and local brand recognition is very important for a local small business,” he said.

“When supporting local events, business owners can benefit by creating event pages on Facebook and inviting community members to attend. They can also work with the local events and charities to formulate some sort of cross-promotion agreement where a small business is getting ‘shout-outs’ from the event itself.”

For example, an arts festival is a great way to promote local artists and engage with your community. Maybe your followers weren’t aware of such an event coming up, so you can be the first one to inform them and share details like the address, admission prices, parking, and a booth you may be having for your business. Reach out to the event coordinator to let them know about your Facebook event, and ask for a mention or a share to your page.

Use a Variety of Tactics To Promote Local Content

Sharing a link to a local event or news story on your page is a good place to start, but your comments and promotional efforts are even more valuable. Facebook’s algorithm favors content that prompts engagement in the form of comments or shares.

If you share a local news story, write a quick summary of the article and end your caption with an open-ended question to your followers — encourage them to respond with a comment or share the story with their friends. You can use Facebook’s free Insights tool to track which of your posts have received the most engagement.

Facebook Live is another great way to connect with followers. The video-streaming tool gives you a chance to discuss a topic or interview another local contributor in real time. Encourage anyone viewing your video to leave a comment or question, which you can address during the live stream; you can follow up your video by replying to their comments with a link to your website for more information.

Creating a Facebook Group can also be an effective way to encourage an open conversation with your followers. Set a clear purpose of the group — you can create a group for a neighborhood, industry-specific topic or category, or a local event. Invite your followers to join, but don’t make them regret it by promoting your services or products. Rather, invite them to share any questions or concerns they have so that you and others can respond. This establishes you as an active member of the community and provides you with an opportunity to share your expertise in a discussion format.

You should also actively seek out new opportunities to network and create new connections. Leave a comment on a post from another local business or blogger. Weigh in respectfully with your experience or opinion about the topic, then provide a link to your blog or website for further reading.

It’s important that you don’t miss out on local content marketing, not only because of Facebook’s newsfeed changes, but also because your customers are also your neighbors. Establishing trust and rapport with your target audience will reflect on your ability to win more authority on their newsfeeds as well.