Does Your Local Business Really Need Social Media?
As a local business owner are you constantly being told by consultants that you need a strong social media presence for your business? Is it that important?
The answer depends on your marketing strategy and your goals.
Most local businesses will benefit by having a Facebook page but the way you benefit may not be what you think. If you set your business page up correctly, it will be considered what is referred to as a citation page in search engine terms.
This means that your Facebook business page will have your company name, address, phone number, a map to your place of business, information about your business, a place for customers to leave reviews about your business and more.
Facebook users may delete come across to your business page during the search for either your company name or the type of service that you provide from either within Facebook or from a Google search.
People usually use Facebook for entertainment or to get personal referrals about local businesses from friends and family.
They do not use Facebook on a regular basis when they are looking for business to patronize. Google is frequently the place they go for this type of search.
Think of Facebook as a giant party where the only time business is mentioned is as a byproduct during a side conversation conducted by a small group of people.
Contest and customer surveys are the two best ways for you to get interaction from visitors on your business page.
The business page itself is usually indexed in Google and that alone can help you get leads and customers provided the page doesn’t look like it is completely dead when visited by a prospect.
Keep in mind that having a presence on Facebook isn’t as much about achieving a good ROI is it is about using it like you would use other local directory listings to show where you are located, show the reviews from your customers, to provide customer support when you see a problem, to give helpful tips to your prospective customers and to hold contests, conduct surveys or to deliver coupons.
Marketing a five star reputation that you’ve developed for your business is a great way to use Facebook.
In many niches, Twitter will get you a higher engagement from your followers than you will get from Facebook.
I think the reason you’ll get more engagement from Twitter than you do from Facebook is that you only have 140 characters to capture their attention. For this reason, you’ll make your text as interesting as possible and follow it up with a link to find out more information.
A second reason you may get a higher rate of engagement from Twitter is that it’s more mobile friendly than Facebook.
For some niches, being active on this social network is a must. You will often see a level of engagement that is double or even triple what you would experience on Facebook or Twitter.
LinkedIn is a social network where business people go to interact with other business people.
Business owners go there to exchange tips and ideas with like-minded individuals or to seek out qualified people to work within their companies or to perform services for them as independent contractors.
People seeking employment go to LinkedIn to showcase their abilities and to, hopefully, catch the attention of a prospective employer.
Local business owners can get in groups where other local business owners associate with each other to share what is currently working or not working for them within their business in their community.
When done correctly, these groups can become virtual masterminds. They can also be a great way to develop friendships and working relationships that could turn into joint ventures down the road.
Google+ can’t really be considered a social network. It is more of a hybrid that Google has created to allow you to interact with others like you would on a social network but also to bring in Google groups, YouTube videos as well as the rest of their properties to create a truly unique experience that can benefit your business greatly when used properly.
If you use any of Google’s properties, you will eventually be forced to have a Google account and you will have a Google+ page. Google is slowly but surely merging all of their different properties into Google+.
This means Google search, YouTube, Google maps, Google+ Local and more will all be accessible from your Google+ page.
You will have a personal Google+ page and you will have the ability to create a Google+ business page.
It is very important for you to claim, optimize and use your Google+ business listing and page. The content that you add to your business page is currently being indexed and shown in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
The people that you have in your circles, your interaction with the people in your circles and the plus ones that you receive all help Google determine how much of an authority you are in your niche.
There are others social networks out there and some of them have been excellent for specific niches and specific demographics.
You have to make the ultimate business decision on which, if any, social networks you will be present on and actively use to market your business.
I look forward to reading your thoughts on this post and how you use social networks to market your business.
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