Our lives, our work: the rise of local social and the role of employees
If you aren’t factoring ‘local social’ into your marketing plan yet, read on.
The on-off-on experience of lockdown in 2020/21 created a seismic shift in the way we see our communities. Their value and the role they play in our lives has changed.
Millions of people in lockdown came together to keep the spirit of community alive. In that time, we started to see many more employees taking to social media to share stories of the work they were doing to support their neighbours, communities, colleagues.
Fast forward to the end of summer 2021 and we’re seeing a key trend emerge in social media and the advocacy space; the rise of local social.
Building a human high street through local social
Earlier this year, business expert Kate Hardcastle wrote something I completely agree with in Retail Week:
‘Successful high streets will have the human at their heart and when considering a human high street, the word community inevitably presents itself.’
The past 18 months saw the biggest re-evaluation of the benefits and need for local community we’ve seen since the Second World War.
Retail has welcomed the return of customers since reopening in April. Now more than ever, every customer interaction matters to win back customers, build loyalty, drive footfall and sales.
Interacting with people, letting customers know you’re there for them, that you understand what they need… that’s part of every retailer’s strategy.
With changing customer behaviours and more people shopping online, retailers are looking at new ways to engage customers locally. They’re exploring how to build on the energy of the past year. How to establish a relationship with customers long before they step foot in-store.
Putting employees at the heart of local social
For The Post Office, Postmasters are key figures in their local community. They represent the diversity, breadth and depth of the community.
The Post Office has been supporting Postmasters with the means to share relevant timely content to their local communities for the past two years, using the Togethr app.
The impact of the pandemic created a new energy for the already successful #WeArePostOffice local social programme, supporting Postmasters to build their presence in local communities through local social.
It’s a different take on employee advocacy and one that shines a light on how powerful it is to tailor local messaging as part of your wider marketing strategy.
Postmasters can tailor content to reflect the local need, what their business offers, building a strong community presence while growing their own business.
The Post Office isn’t alone.
Other brands including Waterstones, Waitrose and the Co-op are focusing on reaching their audience with localised messaging.
Waterstones local messaging
Waterstones is well known for the personal recommendations staff make through in-store displays on book shelves. Their managers are given autonomy to order stock based on their knowledge of the customer base. And their social media is localised too.
Waitrose helping hands
During lockdown, Waitrose and John Lewis partners shared stories on social media of the support they were giving through the Helping Hands programme.
This involved supporting local communities with Community Support Funds, deliveries, stocking shelves and keeping the supply chain moving to meet the massive demand from customers.
Focusing at a local level, and talking about it on social media, meant the messages reached those who needed the support.
What’s next for local social?
With hybrid working set to become the new normal, more and more people will continue to rely on their local communities and local high streets to create a thriving place to live and work for the future.
These retailers, and many more, are reimagining marketing; further investing in their local marketing efforts to meet customer demand and build a stronger community presence.
This is marketing in 2021. Reimagined, localised, authentic and personalised.