Alright, let’s be real. When is the last time you put your face on your Instagram Grid? Or the last time you updated that Facebook profile of yours?
Maybe you’re really active with your selfie-game… in that case, you might not need this article. But what we observe here at Love Local is that most business owners are hiding.
They’re hiding behind images of their products, stock photos they grabbed online, images of their space, or quote blocks they made on Canva.
If I am heading to your Instagram profile for the first time, I want to know who’s behind the brand! Especially if you’re in my own community. And I bet you feel the same way too even if you’ve never verbalized it.
Here’s what I hear a LOT from local business owners.
“I’ll post more pictures of myself when…”
Those excuses are holding you back from deeply connecting with your audience and generating the sales you desire. It’s time to release those.
People don’t choose to do business with you because your roots are filled in or because you’re at your ideal weight or because your photos are perfectly edited. They don’t. So that can’t hold you back from posting.
And as far as those last two bullet points go, they’re easily fixable! If you always forget, set a reminder for Tuesday mornings to grab a photo (or create a video… we’ll get to that) so you can prepare in the morning! Whether it’s an alarm or written in your planner, it doesn’t matter. Just get it set and then actually do the thing.
And finally “being in the mood” is silly (and something I actually hear quite a bit). As I’m writing this it’s a super dreary, cold Thursday morning and I want nothing more than to cozy up next to my fireplace and binge a few Netflix episodes. But I know this post will support my community and I know my “why” so I show up anyway. No excuses.
Alright now that we’ve gotten those out of the way, let’s get to the meat of how to incorporate yourself into your local business. ?
For starters, the algorithm loves it.
But really, we share this all the time with our students and clients because people do business with people in local communities. By showing your face, you’re giving your audience a chance to see the owner of the amazing business you represent. That way if they pop into your store or give you a call to book an appointment, they have an idea of who will be there to greet them or on the other end of the phone. Here’s one of our students from our course, Megan, sharing who she is with followers of her business Batch Balanced.
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Hey! It’s Megan @mgarvin15 behind Batch Balanced. Thank you for following B/B! I have been posting muffins, but haven’t introduced myself! I am a health, food and fitness enthusiast. Over the last 4 years I have been a nutrition coach and have loved helping others understand the science and philosophy of a macro based diet. I have taught group fitness since 2009, teaching strength and conditioning, yoga and TRX and I have enjoyed being a student and learning what else Des Moines has to offer in these spaces. My focus is on creating healthy habits that are sustainable and enjoyable that simplify your life while allowing grace for indulgence. I believe in making incremental and attainable improvements that have the power to last a lifetime. I believe that understanding the why behind it all is what truly allows us to adopt and own the improvements we seek to make. Welcome, friends. I hope you’ll share this with friends who are aspiring for a sustainable outlook on a healthy lifestyle.
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Showing your face online doesn’t mean you don’t have to talk about your business! It can be a fantastic way to talk about a promo you’re excited about, a new service you’re offering, a review you just received that is super special to you. Give it a try! And tag us (@love.local) so we can give you all the ? emojis!
More and more consumers are buying from brands that give a ? about topics, people, causes, etc.
People also (often subconsciously) make decisions because they see themselves in others or because they aspire to be similar. So the more you infuse the things you care about as a business owner, the more opportunities your customers have to see themselves in you, see what you care about, and what you do/don’t stand for.
We’re always depositing information about people. “Ok, she’s a cat lady… not into it.” “She has a baby girl, me too!” “He always wears cargo shorts.” ? “Her grammar is pretty off.”
None of these are good/bad or right/wrong, we are just collecting information all the time and ultimately it helps us make decisions! You WANT your ideal customers to resonate with you. You WANT your non-ideal customers to peace out. So the more you show up and show what you’re all about, the more of those people you’ll draw into your online and IRL community.
For example, at Love Local we don’t take ourselves too seriously… we’re a bright, playful brand and we know our content, services, and courses are helping people in big ways, but it doesn’t look like a “typical” ad agency or super tech-y brand. We know we’re not for everyone and we are more than okay with that!
Do you start every morning with coffee from a local shop? Do you always drop your kiddo off at daycare? Do you spend time reading in the morning?
People LOVE behind the scenes. It’s just… interesting, isn’t it? Show us what happens when you get in new inventory. Show us what it’s like to make your product. Show us how you unwind after work ends at the new tequila bar in town.
This goes back to you being human and humans showing up on social media to engage with other humans. Social media is designed to be social, so use it in that way by showing us some slices of your everyday life. For example, Koko, a sustainable living shop in Columbus, Ohio, shared behind-the-scenes of their products by having one of their team members hop on Instagram stories and share how she utilizes them. A great way to show their products + the humans behind the brand!
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If you’ve been in the Columbus Koko over the past couple of months, you’ve probably met our human ray of sunshine, Store Manager @caitlinryeck ✨ Cait tests + uses just about everything in the store, and is a tireless researcher of our products. Today she’s hopping on our stories to show you some of her favorite things!
A post shared by Koko Shop (@kokotheshop) on
You might be thinking… “Um, I’m really not that interesting.” Stop. That. Thinking.
Maybe that book you’re reading inspires a customer to buy one! You just added value to her life.
Maybe that coffee shop has been one that your Facebook friend has been meaning to try. You’re supporting another local business and (again) adding value to someone’s life.
Maybe you dropping your kid off at daycare is always what a few of your customers are doing so when they come in next, you can talk about where they go and what their experience is like.
Social media allows us to start new or different conversations with people because they’re seeing you as more than just the owner of a business. It leads to things like…
“Oh I saw you were going to that musical this weekend! What did you think? I’ve been considering buying tickets.”
“I had no clue you were from Arkansas! My cousins also lived there for five years. Where in Arkansas are you from?”
These are the conversations that deepen our relationships with fellow customers and these touch points are really powerful. You are MORE than just your offering, friend. Be sure to show that to the world.
Ok, maybe Facebook Live isn’t your jam. But why don’t you try a few Instagram Stories sharing something awesome currently happening in business. Or tell us something that you’re an expert on in a few short clips that people will learn from.
It is so fun to connect with people in video format because you get a feel for their personality. Maybe you’re a little witty, perhaps you’re hella enthusiastic, you probably have a great smile. Video gives us such a great opportunity to connect with you. My suggestion is to smile in your video (even as you speak!).
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Start with a few Instagram Stories. Hold that record button and give yourself THREE attempts to introduce yourself if you’ve never done it. Do not spend more than five minutes on this because I see you… I know you want to hit that X button and redo it many times, but you have lots of other tasks on your plate.
Not sure what you should talk about? DM us over at @love.local and we’ll give you our own opinion. 😉
Ready to incorporate yourself just a littttttle more into your local business? I hope so!
Remember, you don’t have to be perfect to show up. People don’t want perfect, they want to know the real you. Your voice, your beliefs, your face matters.
If you need even more support on how to show up powerfully and consistently in your local business, join the Local Business Foundations waitlist. This online course will help you build an irresistible and profitable local brand using our proven strategies for local businesses of all shapes and sizes.
My name is Emily Steele and I teach local business owners how to be the legends they are and build an irresistible and profitable local brand.