Local businesses can use social media to support their sales efforts. Social media that incorporates solid SEO practices can generate interest and increase an organization’s visibility in the community chat with a stranger and in their market.
So what can you do to make your small business stand out in all of the online noise and be seen as THE local solution to a buyer’s product or service needs?
Two Things – and you do need to do both:
1. Social Media – get more involved in social media. This means developing a social media presence on important platforms for your business – pick what works for you: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest and more (the list is long, so choose to be where your customers are active and where they will find and see you).
2. SEO – then make sure you optimize your social media content for search engines.
Ideas to make sure you show up in local searches:
* Optimize your Keywords using your Location – If your business operates in, for example, Charlotte, NC, then you need to have Charlotte as part of your keyword strings. If your identified keyword is “plant grower”, you should expand the keywords you include to “Charlotte plant grower”, “NC plant grower”, and “North Carolina plant grower”.
* Use Hashtags – use the # symbol to show you’re local . On Twitter, add the #yourtown to some of your tweets. It can help in several ways – it helps with search, and can also remind people following you that you’re community based.
* Get onto Local Lists – investigate to determine which directories and lists your target market goes to for ideas, information, and pricing data. There’s typically no cost for basic listings.
Fill out your profiles at the big three search engines – Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Make sure you have a presence (this means completing your profiles at a minimum) on relevant local listings. For example – see if Yelp fits with your business (it’s also a good place to post events), and look at Yahoo Local, the online Yellowpages, and local.com.
Expand outward and consider sites like Craigslist or TripAdvisor. Do they make sense for what you offer? Tip: Use Video – to stand out, instead of writing that you provide plants on the local craigslist site, put a short video up on the site showcasing your Emerald Arborvitae collection in each of the sizes you offer (optimizing the video tags for local SEO).
* Create your Content to Showcase Local – Be involved locally. Extend your traditional marketing efforts to the web. How? Just as some businesses support neighborhood Little League teams, your online activities should tie-in with community events and activities. For example: get involved in forums that deal with issues relevant to your community and your business mission, comment on local establishments, tweet about your experiences (great service at a local pub, new business opening down the street, who worked together on a volunteer project) – find your places to be visible online.
* Make sure your Website is Mobile-Friendly – once you’ve created your local presence, and have drawn people to you, it’s vital to have your website work on smartphones and tablets. Make sure your contact info – location, address, maps – are visible and easy to see. Keep your page clean, simple, and focused on the info and actions you want people to take.
Remember, it’s all about search and social when it comes to local! And speaking of local, if you’re in the Charlotte area, we can help you with your local social media marketing. Call us at (704) 301-0135 for social/local help.