Social Media for small business: Where to start?
In my previous post, I stressed the importance of establishing a local social media presence for small businesses. You can read that post here: Use Social Media to build your local business brand.
In this post, we will discuss some quick tips to help you get started.
One of the most important that small businesses need to remember is that in today’s world, over 70% of local consumers begin to do the research for products or services that they want or need online.
To prove this point, do a search for your particular business on Google. If you are not entirely convinced that your consumers are looking for you online, a great way to dispel this unfortunate myth is to take a look at what your competitors are doing in your area.
Another thing to note are the businesses that are not local to your area that are appearing as well. I like to refer to this as “fishing in your local pond”. If you note that there are competitors who are advertising online in your area, and they are not local to the area, chances are, they are stealing your money right from underneath your nose.
Ok, I realize I need to have an online presence, now what?
1. Start with getting a good quality website.
My recommendation is that you have a custom designed website, created by a local web designer. Not only will the quality of your organic search rankings be much better, Google doesn’t really like the cookie cutter websites that many of the print media companies offer.
2. Establish your local presence with Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Claim your local listings online – and make sure that you are filling out these pages with high quality, content rich information. This is something that you can handle yourself, or you can hire a company like Globalwebfx.com to handle this part for you, for a nominal fee.
3. Once you have established your presence online, get reviewed!
It isn’t ethical to offer your customers something in exchange for a review, however there is nothing wrong with doing something nice for your customers who do. Consider requesting your customers email addresses, and after a service call or purchase, send your customer an email and ask them how you are doing. If you get a positive response, send that happy customer a follow up email thanking them for their positive feedback with a link to your profile and a request for a review.
If the review is less than positive, all is not lost. Take the constructive critique as a way to improve your customer service. Send that customer an email thanking them for their honest feedback, and consider adding an offer to incentivize them to do business with you again.