insightfulmarketing

Simple, effective and insightful small business marketing

Local Business + Social Media January 27, 2012

Your small business can learn a ton from large corporations and their social media tactics. It’s not rocket science and you don’t need a dedicated team to do it.  Local businesses have a unique opportunity that doesn’t often present itself in the face of big corporations. If your local company isn’t trying these local social media opportunities, it’s time to get started! Here are 7 productive ways to begin that cost you nothing…but your time!

 

Creative Ways Local Businesses Can Use Social Media

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

1.) Complete all of your profile/page information. I know, it’s not very creative, but the easiest to accomplish. As search gets more social, it’s more and more likely your social profile could show up in search results. Make sure you’ve filled it out with adequate information about who you are, what you do, where people can find you, and how to get in touch with you. Of all the social media networks to consider when leveraging an organic search presence, Google+ is currently at the top of the pile. With its consistent incorporation of Google+ profile and page information into search results, brand presence on Google+ is quickly becoming a social media must. Are you there?

2.) Monitor social media mentions. Of your brand…of related products and services…and of your competitors. When people are talking about these things, you should be the first to respond with a coupon, information about your product or service, or just a helpful answer to their question. People use social media for real-time information, and if you’re the one who provides the answer, you elevate yourself as a local expert and a trusted source. This tactic will help you generate new leads, close more sales, or just keep prospects, customers, and your community happy.

3.) Do a little investigating. Check out your fans’ and followers’ profile information to see what they like, and edit adjust marketing activities and communications accordingly. This helps you create buyer personas, refine the style, tone, and content of your messaging, and ensure you’re talking about the things your audience likes to prompt more social engagement.

4.) Become a resource for local events in your industry. Keeping your ear to the ground on events — whether live or web-based — that your audience would like to attend makes you an indispensable resource. Aggregate everything that’s happening in your industry, and maintain groups on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, or Circles on Google+ that keep interested parties up to date on can’t-miss activities. And be sure to show up to these events, too; your future customers will be there! Why not create another impression?

Image representing Yelp as depicted in CrunchBase

5.) Maintain your presence on local review sites. Sites like Yelp! often appear among the top results in search engines. How does your reputation look? Consumers hold peer reviews in high esteem (I do), and it’s crucial that their first impression of you is a positive one. Plus, these sites help answer common questions for customers like addresses, hours of operation, and contact information that people are frequently checking on their mobile devices when on the go. You should be actively involved in maintaining your reputation on these sites by keeping your business information up to date, soliciting positive reviews from satisfied customers, and working to resolve issues with those who have posted negative reviews of your business.

6.) Ask your employees to use their social networks for your business. National companies may ask their employees to do this, but they won’t reap as much benefit unless their employees connect with people that are overwhelmingly interested in their industry. What do people tend to have in common with lots of their connections? Location! If their networks know their friend or family member works for a local company, you can be sure they’ll contact them the next time they need a local dentist, doctor, health food store, pet sitter, t-shirt maker, custom closet designer…well, you get the point.

7.) Connect with other local businesses and consumers. Get active in online conversations. Connect with people that live in your city and businesses that are doing cool things in your area (especially if they could act as a referrer of business!). It’s important to stay locally connected and network with people even if they’re not directly related to your industry; you never know when someone has a secret passion for something you offer or a need arises further down the line for your products and services.

Your local business can use social media to remain a fixture in the local online community and at your storefront.

 

Get More From Google Search January 20, 2012

Filed under: Marketing,Uncategorized — insightfulmarketing @ 10:02 pm
Tags: , , , ,

If you’re like me, you probably use Google many times a day.  However, unless you are super techy, you probably still use Google in its simplest form.  If your current use of Google is limited to typing a few words in, and changing your query until you find what you’re looking for, then I’m here to tell you that there’s a better way – and it’s not hard to learn.  On the other hand, if you are a technology geek, and can use Google like the best of them already, then I suggest you keep this list of Google search tips.  You’ll then have the tips on hand when you are ready to pull your hair out in frustration when watching a neophyte repeatedly type in basic queries in a desperate attempt to find something.

The following Google search tips are from an article on Hubspot.  The list is by no means comprehensive.  But, I assure you that by learning and using the 12 tips below, you’ll rank up there with the best of the Google experts out there.  The descriptions of the search tips intentionally terse as you’re likely to grasp most of these simply by looking at the example from Google anyways.

12 Expert Google Search Tips

  1. Explicit Phrase:
Lets say you are looking for content about internet marketing.  Instead of just typing internet marketing into the Google search box, you will likely be better off searching explicitly for the phrase.  To do this, simply enclose the search phrase within double quotes. Example: “internet marketing”
  2. Exclude Words:
Lets say you want to search for content about internet marketing, but you want to exclude any results that contain the term advertising.  To do this, simply use the “-” sign in front of the word you want to exclude. Example Search: internet marketing -advertising
  3. Site Specific Search:
Often, you want to search a specific website for content that matches a certain phrase.  Even if the site doesn’t support a built-in search feature, you can use Google to search the site for your term. Simply use the “site:somesite.com” modifier. Example: “internet marketing” site:www.smallbusinesshub.com
  4. Similar Words and Synonyms:
Let’s say you want to include a word in your search, but want to include results that contain similar words or synonyms.  To do this, use the “~” in front of the word. Example: “internet marketing” ~professional
  5. Specific Document Types:
If you’re looking to find results that are of a specific type, you can use the modifier “filetype:”.  For example, you might want to find only PowerPoint presentations related to internet marketing. Example: “internet marketing” filetype:ppt
  6. This OR That:
By default, when you do a search, Google will include all the terms specified in the search.  If you are looking for any one of one or more terms to match, then you can use the OR operator.  (Note: The OR has to be capitalized). Example: internet marketing OR advertising
  7. Phone Listing:
Let’s say someone calls you on your mobile number and you don’t know who it is.  If all you have is a phone number, you can look it up on Google using the phonebook feature. Example: phonebook:617-555-1212 (note: the provided number does not work – you’ll have to use a real number to get any results).
  8. Area Code Lookup:
If all you need to do is to look-up the area code for a phone number, just enter the 3-digit area code and Google will tell you where it’s from. Example: 617
  9. Numeric Ranges:
This is a rarely used, but highly useful tip.  Let’s say you want to find results that contain any of a range of numbers.  You can do this by using the X..Y modifier (in case this is hard to read, what’s between the X and Y are two periods.)  This type of search is useful for years (as shown below), prices, or anywhere where you want to provide a series of numbers. Example: president 1940..1950
  10. Stock (Ticker Symbol):
Just enter a valid ticker symbol as your search term and Google will give you the current financials and a quick thumb-nail chart for the stock. Example: GOOG
  11. Calculator:
The next time you need to do a quick calculation, instead of bringing up the Calculator applet, you can just type your expression in to Google. Example: 48512 * 1.02
  12. Word Definitions:
If you need to quickly look up the definition of a word or phrase, simply use the “define:” command. Example: define:plethora

Hope this list of Google search tips proves useful in your future Google searches.  If there are any of your favorite Google expert power tips that I’ve missed, please feel free to share them in the comments.