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TIPS THAT YOU MUST APPLY IN ORDER TO INCREASE YOUR BUSINESS’S “LOCAL” INTERNET PRESENCE

Por Rocklynn Valerio | Translator at Socialtools.me

Local Company or Small Business Internet presence

Picture this scenario. After a hard day of work, your Local Company has closed its doors. You’ve done a bit of everything: talk on the phone, receive clients, meet with suppliers, manage administrative question, pay for taxes and services, among other things. Okay. You are nurturing your small sprout. But, how much time do you have left to dedicate to Social Media? We have some good and bad news.

The bad news is that not paying attention to the Social Media world is like not responding to a call from Mark Zuckerberg where he’s offering you money to be part of your business. It’s alright. Let us be a little less over exaggerated: you are losing a huge opportunity to “build loyalty” with your current clients and not gain any new ones. In other words: you are losing a real chance to increase your sales.

The good news is that we have prepared this article focusing solely on you. We already know that you don’t have time to dedicate to Social Media and that when you intend to do it you have no idea where to start. How about if you start applying this super easy to execute series of tips that won’t take more than a couple of minutes a day?

 

1.- REGISTER YOUR LOCAL COMPANY OR SMALL BUSINESS ON GOOGLE

Suppose that you already have a few profiles for your local company on the most prominent Social Networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. Ideally it should be only some of them. Please, forget about opening a heap of accounts on all the existing social networks! Remember that you don’t have the time to dedicate to Social Media. It’s better to have only one networks that works really well than ten inactive ones.

 

small business Local Company social networks

Image Source: probandomundo.com

 

What’s not likely is that you’ve registered on Google My Business, the perfect tool for positioning your business in search engines. Google My Business makes your business appear in Google searches, on Google Maps and Google +. Meaning when a person searches for a service/product from your sector and your Local Company is close to this person’s location, it will be suggested by Google. Additionally, they show your clients the information that they need; the address, directions for getting there, the telephone number and operating hours.

Creating a Google My Business account is very easy and absolutely free. You only have to register with a Gmail email address. Let’s go through this step by step.

  1. Log on  to the site (you can also log on from a Google Plus account from “Sign In” and then “Pages”).
    google-my-business local businessClick the “Get on Google” button and you’ll be taken to Google Maps. Type the name of your Local Company or small business and press Enter. If your local business doesn’t appear on the map, enter the name of any business and the “Add your business” option will appear.local business google my business find your business
  2. You will see a new box with information to fill out pertaining to your local company. It’s important that you place your business in the right category. The easiest thing to do is to enter what you have put on Facebook. For example, if it’s a clothing store it will be: “Work Clothes Store”.
    local business google my business add your businessTo continue with the process, you must check the box “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location”.
  3. Now enter the zip code or name of the city where your company is located. Check the box “I also serve customers at my business address”.
    local business google my business zip code
  4. Now it’s time to verify your company’s information by confirming that you have authorization to manage it and b accepting the service conditions. If you don’t have a Google+ account for your company, now is the time to do so. This very same profile will be linked to your Google My Business account.

Google My Business confirmation

 

IMPORTANT: After completing the process, Google My Business will inquire about sending a verification postal letter to the address of your local business. Basically this just verifies that your company exists.

local business google my business confirmation

 

ATTENTION: YOUR COMPANY WILL NOT APPEAR IN SEARCH RESULTS UNTIL IT HAS BEEN VERIFIED

 

Check out this video on How to verify your business on Google.

 

The letter will arrive in approximately 14 days. Once you receive it, you will have to enter the five digit verification code into you’re My Google Business account’s panel, option “Manage Location” and then “The Enter code button”.

local business welcome to google my business

local business google my business verification

You now have an account on Google My Business! It’s time to explore the control panel and complete your profile with the most information you can. Don’t forget about photos! How long did it take you to make this account? Maybe 5 minutes?

In addition to Google, there are other existing Geo-localization services. Some of the most well known are Foursquare and Yelp for businesses. The only thing you have to do is create accounts on both applications and take control of your business. First you should check if another user has registered your local company before you had the chance.

foursquare local business

 

Some of the benefits of these Geo-localization services are:

  • Increasing contact with your clients by learning their opinions and reviews.
  • Increasing the number of potential clients. Keep in mind that every time a user clicks on your business or writes a recommendation and then shares it, your public multiplies.
  • There is no rejection of this type of system because it’s not intrusive advertising.
  • It will help you find local influencers. We’ll look at this in more detail in the next tip.
  1. FINDING LOCAL INFLUENCERS

Influencers are people or brands with a large presence and credibility on social networks regarding a particular sector. In other words, they are the “celebrities” of Social Media. These are special people who accumulate piles of “likes”, retweets and shares… Why should you connect with them? Because they have something you need: the capacity to influence others.

There are different techniques for finding local influencers. We’ll start with Google+ first.

Once again we’ll use another hypothetical situation. Suppose that you have a vegetarian food store in whatever city or town. Your goal is to create a network of vegetarian stores in order to share all types of knowledge about vegetarian cuisine and to get these people to promote your store at some point.

 

A- YOU’RE GOING TO SEARCH FOR GOOGLE PLUS MEMBERS IN YOUR AREA. Go to Google and perform the following search:

local business google plus members

 

Pay special attention to the wording. Use “site” and not “sites”. A “s” can cause you to lose a lot of time. Use the keyword that you think represents the sector. You can play with how the search is carried out as long as you respect the first part: site:plus.google.com.

What Google does is it shows you other people’s or businesses’ Google+ URLs that belong to the area and that have mentioned the word “vegetarian” in their publications.

local business google plus URL

 

B- IDENTIFY THE INFLUENCERS. You have a lot of profiles and you can try to connect with all of them. But in reality what interests you is finding out who the most active users are and information about them, the ones who actually are “influencers”. Note: it’s not just the people with the largest amount of followers, but rather those who generate greater visibility with their posts.

With Google Plus there is a way (it’s not very precise, but in reality nothing really is) to get to know the activity of a publication. You go to the post that interests you, press the button in the upper right corner and select the option “See activity of the publication”. Here is an example of a publication on Google:

google-activity-local-business

281 people clicked +1 on this post, 175 shared it and 102 people commented on it. You can do the same thing to find out a Google+ user’s influence level.

 

C –ANOTHER WAY TO FIND INFLUENCERS ON GOOGLE PLUS IS THROUGH Circloscope Free.

It is an extension for Google Chrome that is linked to your Google+ account and it allows you to manage your circles and know more about them. This is the control panel that opens when you press the Circloscope icon installed in your browser’s tool bar.

local business circloscope

 

It’s all about exploring the tool and getting the most out of it. Of course, Google Plus is not the only application with which you can find “influencers”. “Review sites” are also an excellent place.

 

What you can do is search for Yelp elite members. Yelp is one of the sites most used by local companies to find “influencers”. Among its large number of “yelpers” (recommenders), there are also “elite” members; those who are most influential in the community.

The goal is to find the elite members that are in your local area. How are you going to do this? By performing the following search:

local business elite members

 

The names of the people who are Yelp elite members in your area are going to appear. To connect with them you can go to each of their personal profiles and look for their blog/website or Twitter/Facebook account and connect with them.

 

It’s also important that you take a look at the information which is found on the right side of the profile in order to know this person’s popularity level.

local business rating distribution

 

You can also perform this same analysis and search tip on Foursquare. The goal is always the same: find the most influential people in your area and connect with them.

 

A lot of other tools for finding influencers exist (such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), but wanted you to be able to do this in a very simple, fast and effective way.

  1. APPLY “LOCAL MARKETING” STRATEGIES ON FACEBOOK

This is basically limiting the Facebook audience to your local area in order to attract more clients from the same area. We’ll show you a series of tips to get the best reach by including examples so you can implement similar strategies.

3.1 PUBLISH LOCAL PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

Smart Phones have been turned into the best tools for generating Social Media content. The task is simple: take photos or record videos in local areas. When people from the area recognize the place, they’ll be more inclined to follow your page and visit your local company or small business.

We’ll show you an example that combines a local photo with an event. It is a pet store in New Jersey.

local business event

It’s important for you to keep in mind that you don’t have to record a professional quality video to get good results. Your cell’s camera is good enough for filming something you want to show or upload to your Facebook.

 

The image below corresponds to the video that the pet store recorded during the walk. A homemade video without any type of special effects and with good results.

local business event2

 

3.2 CREATE EVENTS

It’s very easy and is an excellent way to attract local clients. In the previous case it was a walk with pets. Good idea! You can promote your Facebook events just through the Events section.

 

3.3  PUBLISH PHOTOS OF YOUR SATISFIED CLIENTS WITH YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE.

The key of this strategy is getting your clients to tag themselves. Tags help you spread your business through your clients’ contacts.

Remember though that on Fanpages no one can be tagged unless the administrator of the page is a friend of this person from their own personal Facebook account.

 

A good way to get your clients to be tagged is to organize an image contest in which it’s necessary that photos of themselves or with their friends, partners, family members or pet are sent in. And of course you can request them to be tagged.

Look at this example of a designer shop. It’s a contest for lovers’ day which uses Instagram to create diffusion: it asks clients to upload photos with a “lovely t-shirt” via Instagram + hashtag. The winning photo received two designer shirts to celebrate lovers’ day.

instagram-image-contest-local-business

 

Note the amount of people who uploaded photos to this shop’s Instagram!, photos which were used by the business to publish posts for a long time.

local business photo contest

 

3.4 INTERACT WITH OTHER LOCAL BUSINESSES and COMPANIES

This strategy gives you the chance of being more visible to the fans of other local businesses. How are you going to do this? By interacting regularly; sharing their posts, commenting on their publications, tagging them, etc.

local business co-promotion

 

You can also create formal “cross-promoting” plans through contests with prizes from other businesses or also with discount on other local area shops for your clients.

3.5 MAKE USE OF FACEBOOK’S GRADING AND PUBLICATIONS SYSTEM

Fanpages give your clients the option to give their opinion on your store. They are the famous stars which give a rating to your company. Provided that they are positive (5 is the highest value), these experiences help you to create trust and credibility in your community. In case you receive negative comments, be sure to respond to them and try to resolve whatever conflict there is. And don’t forget to thanks those who gave you a good rating.

For this option to exist, your page must be categorized as a “local business”. Go to the option “information”, on the left side you’ll select “page information” and can change the item category buy selecting “local business”.

local business on Facebook

Another requirement for enabling this system is having a physical address alongside the map of your location. You can do this from the option “Description”. Once you are done the rating system will be active.

local business rating

Another system that you should have enabled on your fanpage is publications from people who visit the page. This works as another way to interact with your clients.

Go to:

  1. Settings
  2. General
  3. Publications from people visiting the page
  4. Select the option: “Allow people visiting the page to be able to publish on it”. You can also permit publishing of photos and videos.

local business visitors posts

local business public posts

 

We have highlighted those strategies which we consider the easiest to apply, but more others exist like:

  • Using Facebook to build a list of client email addresses. You will have to use incentives so they’ll want to be part of this list. You can send promotions, invitations to events or contests, etc. through emails.
  • Join local groups or create groups related to your sector. You can find potential local clients for your business in groups.
  • Create local advertising promotions on Facebook. The goal should be set on reaching people who are near your company. Investments in Facebook campaigns can be paid by day and programmed to be for certain duration of time.

 

We believe that you now have enough Social Media tasks to apply when you have some time. Of course, it’s highly recommended to perform one action at a time and then try to understand what you are doing.

 

With a couple of click you can obtain benefits that you never imagined possible. How about telling us your experience? Or maybe you’ve implemented a tip that wasn’t listed in this article and want to tell us what it is. We’re patiently waiting for your opinions and suggestions. See you next time!

 

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