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Local Shopping

Shopper are encouraged to shop local this holiday season. Merchants along Walnut Street in Murphysboro are open for business.

It’s time to change the way we talk about Shop Local. It’s time to change the way we talk about selling locally. It’s time to acknowledge that local commerce takes digital participation and outreach to markets based on social access as well as geographical access.

We’ve been living with examples of this for decades in the heartland. Our designated market area or DMA, for broadcast media covers four states and a far-reaching geographical region. In our DMA it’s common for viewers and listeners without immediate geographical access to advertisers to be made aware of products, services and messages of advertisers.

Social media provides your business the potential to access audiences beyond your block and outside of our DMA. It provides your business the potential to access audiences around the globe as easy as you may access audiences around the corner.

It’s this factor that makes it important for your business to change the way you think about what local is to your business.

Is local your people? Is local your product? Is local your brand? Find the intersection of the local components of your business and the broader identity of your local economy.

Once you’ve figured out the components you’d like to highlight and how they intersect with the broader identity of your local economy you’ll be equipped to ask people to go beyond shop local and you’ll be able to grow your business beyond selling locally. You’ll be able to ask potential customers to shop locale and you’ll be equipped to sell locally.

To ask customers to shop locale instead of having customers who just shop local is to involve customers, wherever they may be from, in what’s happening with your business and your local economy. In doing so your business will draw new money into local economies and grow relationships beyond immediate locations of brick-and-mortar storefronts.

This change in language is similarly applicable when deciding to sell local instead of only selling locally.

When you’re selling locally you’re only asking folks who are geographically near you to buy from you. When you’re selling local you’re selling the intersection of your business and the broader local economy in which your business participates.

This all connects to social media because of the way in which social media allows you to maintain a connection with those who have shopped your locale and to whom you’ve sold your local.

Southern Illinois, in particular, is a place where our economies are rooted in the ability to travel to and through here. Interstates, tourism trails featuring wine and beer and an internationally recognized university are all contributors to commerce that drives our region.

When people visit your business here in Southern Illinois, whether they are here for a day or for a lifetime, they’re apt to take your business with them by following you on social media.

When customers do this you need to keep in mind that you’re asking for customers to do more than shop local and your business is doing more than selling locally. You’re selling local and you’re asking customers to shop your locale.

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Nathan Colombo is a Carbondale native, stand-up comedian, and marketing professional. His small business, Brand Advocacy Group, Inc, provides digital media services for other small, local businesses in and around Southern Illinois.

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