Using Social Media to Find Local Customers for Your Small Business

Buy LocalHow would you like to target potential customers for your small business-but only in your local area? Targeting local traffic is an important website marketing strategy for small businesses. According to a variety of studies that have been done regarding website traffic, approximately 80% of people doing an online business search are searching for local businesses. But what if you want prospective customers to know that you are here locally? Here is where Social Media can help!
Promoting through social media sites is a new way that offers a lot to your business, mostly for free. Utilizing social networking sites is an effective way to draw local customers to your website. Here are a few social media tools to use:

FREE TOOLS

Twitter

In Twitter you can literally find tweets that mention your topic of expertise, from people who are geographically close to you. The way to do this is by using Twitter search. But instead of using the basic Twitter search box, you would want to use the Twitter Advanced Search page, which will allow you search locally.
To access the Twitter Advanced Search page type the keywords you want to search for in the usual Twitter search box and press Enter. You’ll see a results page that gives you a list of tweets that include those keywords. Click the down arrow next to the ‘cog’ in the corner of the page, then click Advanced Search. This reveals the Twitter Advanced Search page where you can really narrow your search. Type in your keywords then go to the Places box. Enter the geographical area you work in and then click Search. You’ll get a list of tweets that include your keywords, from people who are in the location you searched on. To save this search for future use click the drop down arrow on the search results page next to the ‘cog’ and click Save Search. The next time you want to look at this search click in the basic search box and a list of your saved searches will appear.
Using Twitter search in this way helps you find opportunities and people to add to your network.

Twellow

Twellow is a Twitter related tools that permit you to specifically target users who are among a certain area of interest and those who yield the most influence on the site. Once you’ve identified these people, you should follow them and hope that they return the favor.
You simply open up a Twellow account. At the top of the page you will see “Find Twellow users anywhere.” Just enter your city or location and start clicking on users you would like to target. Once they follow you back then start engaging with them.

Facebook

If you want to build brand awareness and connect with your customers, there is no beating Facebook. To claim and set up the Facebook Places page for your business. The first step is to create your Facebook Page by going to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. When you click on Local Business or Place, you will be taken to a page that will require you to fill in the required details of your business. After this you can use your admin panel to edit your page, build your audience, and fill your page with the requisite content. Once you have created your official local business page on Facebook, it’s time to claim your Facebook Places page.
Go to your Facebook Business Page and click on the arrow on the box next to “edit” and select ‘Is this your Business?’ When you click on it you will be taken through a series of steps that will ask for information about your business. You will now need to verify your connection to the business by either choosing an email verification process or by uploading the necessary documentation. Choose the email option only if you have an email address linked to your Facebook account and which also serves as your business email address. In terms of documentation, you will need to scan or click a picture of an official business document, like business license, tax file, phone bill, etc., and upload it.
Now you are done claiming and setting up a Facebook profile for your local business. All you need to do now is start managing it.

Foursquare

Foursquare is a location-based social networking site for mobile devices that gives your business a mobile footprint. With more people using mobile devices to search for businesses, a presence on Foursquare is one of the most popular social media tool for local businesses. Create a Foursquare Page and connect it with your Twitter account. When you create your page make sure you complete your Page Profile. Now you want to add your listing to Foursquare’s searchable database. If you don’t have a business listing, you can create it on https://foursquare.com/login?continue=%2Fadd_venue. The business listing will ask for your phone number, your website’s URL, links to your Twitter and Facebook profiles, hours of operation, and description of your business. Make sure you leave no information out.
Once your business listing has been added to Foursquare, claim it. When you claim your location, you are telling Foursquare you are the manager of that venue. You can claim multiple locations of Foursquare; all you need to do is to provide verifiable contact information. Once you are done listing and claiming your location on Foursquare, you can begin adding specials, checking your analytics, and a whole lot more. But the most important way to use Foursquare is to take the time to build up a network of just local followers and interact with them.

Google + Local

The local pages on Google+ Local closely resemble company Facebook Pages —they interact with Google Maps, Zagat reviews, and Google+. But the big thing is that your local pages will be indexed by search engines. Just click here to read my article on how to put your small business on the map!

PAID TOOLS

Yelp

This is another directory that is scaling the popularity charts, though for a small monthly fee. The 3-step process to be followed for claiming a Yelp listing for your business is similar to the processes on other sites. First go to https://biz.yelp.com/claiming. Type in the name of your business. If it shows up and is unlocked, somebody has already claimed it. If it turns up locked, click on the ‘Unlock’ button.
Another scenario is that your business listing doesn’t turn up in search. Don’t worry, just click on the ‘Add your business to Yelp’ link, which will take you to a page that will allow you to do just that. Once you click on ‘Add’, you are done. Now wait for the confirmation email from Yelp. You are done claiming your listing. Now you need to optimize the page by adding as much business information as you can. This could mean including more business information, photos, responding to reviews, and a whole lot more.

“The Bottom Line”

In using these social media tools, it’s very important that all your profiles contain complete and up to date information. Also, your contact addresses and phone numbers must be the same across all your profiles. Maintaining profile consistency across different online directories will boost your local SEO efforts and allow you to target market local customers for your business.

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How to Craft a Killer “Elevator Pitch” For Your Business

This article will explain the elements of a powerful elevator pitch and then walk you through how to craft your own.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

This is the 30-60 second business description of what you do and why someone should work with you. It’s called an “Elevator Pitch” because it describes the challenge: “How would you explain your business and make a sale if fate placed you in an elevator with your dream prospect and you only had the time it takes to get from the top of the building to the bottom?”

Why Is Having an Elevator Pitch So Important?
You only have 30-60 seconds to make a powerful first impression. The attention span of the average person is just 30 seconds before their mind starts wandering. The other reason is people have less time today. You need to grab them quickly or lose them forever.

Essential Elements of a Powerful Elevator Pitch
1. Concise. Your pitch should take no longer than 30-60 seconds.

2. Clear. Use language that everyone understands. Don’t use fancy words thinking it will make you sound smarter. Your listener won’t understand you and you’ll have lost your opportunity to hook them.

3. Powerful. Use words that are powerful and strong. Deliver the “Sis-Boom-Bang” to grab their attention!

4. Visual. Use words that create a visual image in your listeners mind. This will make your message memorable.

5. Tell a Story. A short story, that is. A good story is essentially this: someone with a problem either finds a solution or faces tragedy. Either type of story can be used to illuminate what you do.

6. Targeted. A good elevator pitch is aimed for a specific audience. If you have target audiences that are vastly different, you might want to have a unique pitch for each.

7. Goal Oriented. A great elevator pitch is designed with a specific outcome in mind. What is your desired outcome? You may have different pitches depending on different objectives. For instance do you want to: make a sale , gain a prospect, enlist support for an idea, or earn a referral.

8. Has a Hook. This is the element that literally snags your listener’s interest and makes them want to know more. This is the phrase or words that strike a chord in your listener.
How to Craft Your Killer Elevator Pitch

  • Write down what you do. Write it several different ways. Try writing it at least 10-20 different ways. Don’t edit yourself at all. You will edit later. This first step is for generating ideas. Don’t hold back. Ideas can be goofy, serious, wild, funny, or conservative. It doesn’t matter. The goal is to get at many ideas as possible down on paper.
  • Write a very short story that illustrates what you do for people. If necessary, the story can be long. You will boil it down later. Paint a picture with words.
  • Write down your objective or goal. Do you want to make a sale, gain a prospect, enlist support for an idea, earn a referral, or something else?
  • Write 10-20 action statements. This is a statement or question designed to spur the action associated with your goal.
  • Record yourself. You can use Dragon Dictation if you don’t have a recording device. Dragon Dictation is a free phone based service that translates your messages into text as well as providing an online link to the original audio.
  • Let it sit. Come back to what you’ve written with fresh eyes and ears the next day or later on in the same day.
  • Highlight the good stuff. Listen and read through what you’ve recorded and written. Then either highlight or circle the phrases that hook you with clear, powerful, and visual words. Obviously not all the words will fall into these categories. You still need connector words, but you want them to be as few as possible.
  • Put the best pieces together. Again you’ll want to write down several versions of this much tighter pitch. Tell us what you do and why people should want to do business with you. Include elements from your story if you can fit it in.
  • Do a final edit cutting as many unnecessary words as possible. Rearrange words and phrases until it sounds just right. Again, the goal is 30-60 seconds maximum.
  • Dress Rehearsal. Run it by as many people as you can get to listen to you. Get feedback from colleagues, clients you trust, friends and family.
  • Done for now. Take your final elevator pitch and write it down. Memorize and practice it until it just slides off your tongue naturally.
  • Continue to improve. Over time, always be on the listen for phrases that you think could make your elevator pitch more clear and impactful. And then test it out. Every once in a while you will probably benefit by starting from scratch because things always change: you, your business , your goals, and your clients’ needs.

By K Stone of Life Learning Today

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Why a Growing Need for Social Media Managers

There used to be a time when you could look up towards the sky and see an advertisement in the form of an airplane, tugging a banner saying “Come Eat at Sloppy’s Joe’s!”, or the Goodyear Blimp flashing an advertisement for their famous tires. Traditional advertising methods for local businesses used to be the yellow pages, newspaper, radio and television. But times have changed. Though people still watch television, read the newspaper and listen to the radio, the internet and satellite radio have changed the way people advertise. In this age of cell phones, individuals are seldom in reach of the yellow pages and amazingly, now individuals can get the news from their i pods!

With growing popularity of the social media platforms, businesses, small and large, are forced to change the way they promote themselves. With Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and You Tube, people are spending a lot more time on the internet and a lot less time thumbing through the yellow pages. Running a local business successfully today absolutely requires using social media. Companies like Coke, Home Depot and Ford Motor Company are already utilizing links to multiple Social Media platforms. And Pepsi Cola this year has pulled out of the Super Bowl to concentrate on social media. And it’s even been projected that by the end of this year, 97% of all retailers will be marketing their products and services on Facebook.

With this new trend, corporations are now seeking assistants to coordinate campaigns for these social media platforms. For that reason, social media manager is now a new hot buzzword that’s all over the internet. Let’s face it; businesses do whatever they have to do to reach potential customers. And right now, they’re all over the Net. Interestingly, the job site Simply Hired is currently advertising over 19,000 positions of social media specialists of some sort for businesses of various sizes.

So can you appreciate why there’s a growing need for “Social Media Managers?

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