4 ways to build a strong brand identity for local businesses

Harvey Holloway
Freelance Digital Marketer
11th December 2023

The #ShopLocal campaign is working. In the last few years, a massive 60% of British consumers have said they’d like to actively start buying more from local businesses, marking a huge jump from the 40% recorded in previous studies.

So, if there’s ever been a time to work on drumming up your local brand image, it’s now. But where do you start? If you’re struggling to make an impact in your community, we’ve put together our expert branding tips for small businesses with big ideas. 

Encourage positive customer reviews

Positive reviews help your shop just as much as negative reviews can hinder it. If you want to make waves in your local community for the right reasons, you need to be collecting those all-important 5-star reviews. This isn’t too tricky to do, either, and it’s a cost-effective way for small businesses to drum up more attention and brand awareness.

Start by setting yourself up on free online review platforms, like Google My Business and industry-specific review sites (particularly applicable for businesses that provide a service, like plasterers or accountants).

Before you start encouraging reviews, give your customer service a quick audit. Survey existing customers to find out if they’re happy with your business and if there are any areas you could improve.

Your next task is to start collecting Google reviews for your local business. Reputation management software enables automatic review invites, helping streamline your local marketing strategy and allowing more time for you to spend on growing your business.

As soon as the reviews come in, respond promptly and you’ll improve your overall business performance and customer satisfaction in no time.

Set up a Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile is a fantastic tool to boost your local brand identity. Designed to make finding nearby, relevant shops and services simpler for consumers, setting up a profile should be a key part of your marketing strategy.

When adding your shop to Google Business Profile, you’ll be added to Google Maps, making it easier for potential customers to find your shop. You’ll also become part of a Google carousel that appears at the top of search results. If search engine optimisation is taking too long for you, this is a brilliant way to quickly jump to the top of relevant queries and gain a lot of local attention. 

Don’t forget to include details about your business, too, like opening hours, images, and a link to your website. All of this will help you stand out from the crowd and make sure more local customers know your brand.

Join local social media groups

A whopping 77% of small businesses use social media, and for good reason, too!

With a huge audience ready to engage with content, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (currently branded as X) are a smart way to reach more customers and create targeted ad campaigns. But how can you be sure you’re reaching your local audience?

One strategy involves joining local Facebook groups. Whether specifically for businesses or for everybody living in the area, joining these groups lets you engage directly with your audience and establish yourself as a community brand.

Depending on group guidelines, you may be able to use these groups to share information about special events or sales you have coming up. If you can’t advertise your business directly, you can still build a super strong brand image by interacting with group posts. Answer questions and share in the excitement for local good news, maintaining a positive, friendly brand image. Chat, like, and post your way to local success. 

Uplift other local businesses

It might sound like it’ll work against you, but giving attention to other local businesses can help solidify your place in the community.

On social media, for example, you can share posts from local brands. Instagram is the ideal platform for shouting out other businesses as you can repost their content temporarily to your story, leaving the permanent content on your profile for your own marketing. 

But why bother?

One of the main reasons for shoutouts is that you build connections with other brands. Local shop owners will start seeing you as part of their supportive community, making them more likely to share your content in return or to recommend you to their customers. You’ll also boost your chances of being invited by other businesses to local events, including community markets and late-night shopping.

For your customers, shining a light on other small businesses shows you’re dedicated to the #ShopLocal cause. You’ll build a brand image that’s friendly and supportive while driving the idea home that you’re a strong part of your community.

Build Locally

Being a small, local business isn’t a disadvantage. In fact, if you use your community spirit to your advantage, it can help you build a solid brand image that’s well-known among your target audience. 

For more advice on growing your business, be sure to check out our business resources and give your brand a well-deserved boost. 

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