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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Tips on Marketing Local Businesses With Social Media

Social Media for Business

 

social media for businessBusiness oftentimes is a local competition. Especially if it’s a brick and mortar storefront and you want to promote it locally online. To get into the game, you have to ride the craze in reaching out your prospect consumers. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of options to choose from— paid advertisement and social media.
In every marketing strategy, budget has always been the primary consideration. Paid advertising can be effective, but it can cost you an arm and a leg. Moreover, there is a loophole in this scheme. The impression that you will make on your prospect consumers will depend on how you formulate the plan and execute it. This goes the same with social media marketing, but on the contrary, it is not expensive as paid advertisement. Despite the difference in digits, it can also render you promising results.
Social Media in Action
No matter what your purpose is— brand awareness, online reputation management, website traffic, or communication with your audiences, social media always has a room to cater these needs. With your goal right before your eyes, your approach to social media will depend accordingly. Here are 6 tips to market local businesses with social media!
• Devise a social marketing plan. Given that you have analyzed your target audience and your competitors, it is about time to carefully think of a plan that will blow away your rivals. In this part, consider coming up with content ideas that will interest your audience such as tips on using your products and great deals.
• Go for quality instead of quantity. There is no use in posting many articles online if it is just fluffy. Always remember that people want to read something valuable and worth of their time. For example, if you are promoting food supplements, write articles that relate to your subject like its benefits to the user.
• Maintain an open communication. Technology paved way to what kind of communication the people have today. With this advancement, it is easier for businesses to get in touch with their audience. For instance, people can exchange or share thoughts on Facebook or Twitter. As this continuous, it creates a dynamic and lively environment for people to interact. Hence, it improves customer relationship.
• Social Media Platforms. Facebook and Twitter are just some of the popular social media platforms where people interact. Despite its orientation towards online interaction, you can also take advantage of advertising your products or company as its reach is multitude. Just make it a point that you will not solely use the platform for the sake of promotion, but also for interaction. Apart from these social media platforms, you can also use Foursquare for your business. According to Social Media Examiner, it is a location-based social network that has over 20 million users. In this platform, people use to check it for locations or shops that they have visited. As people checked where they have been, it can be shared with Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Eventually, your business is noticed.
• Offer promos and great deals. Customers love promos and great deals from a company. You can offer discounted products or services, buy one take one deal, and even a game of prizes. Doing these are a sure fire to delight your consumers.
• Dress your business professionally online. Reputation greatly matters for every business. It is one of the main ingredient for success. With this, keep your social business accounts in motion by sharing good content, promotions, and fabulous deals.
Mapping your business success with social media is indeed possible. You just have to cut out the appropriate moves to market your products and services locally. Hence, delve deeper on what every social media network can offer and gear it towards your goal.

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10 Efficient Tips to Keep Your Personal Life and Still Be a Social Media Rockstar

I think we can all feel confident when saying “social media is here and here to stay.” What we probably are not so comfortable with is juggling our social media endeavors with our personal life. I’m sure social media doesn’t take away all of your personal life, but it can impose on it greatly if you aren’t careful. There are probably people who haven’t even begun to dabble in the social media
world for fear of not having time or it taking up too much time. Great point! However, at this point in the world, you really can’t afford not to be a part of social media. In either case, listed below are 10 tips to avoid losing out on life and how to manage your social media time.

1. Just Skim: When beginning a promotion, most of the first phase is conducting research and reading. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, blogs or websites, to cut down on time spent, just skim it. By doing this, you can pull what you feel is worth spending your time reading and not have to worry about the rest.

2. Use your RSS Feed: Be selective when subscribing to different RSS feeds, but definitely use it. Any information you want to catch up on will be listed there. These same rules apply to who you follow on Twitter and newsletters you subscribe to. Choose wisely and be sure whatever it is adding value.

3. Consider a Timer: If you’d really like to manage your online time, set an allotted amount of time dedicated for this. It may help to set a timer and when it goes off, you’ll know it’s time to move on to something else.

4. Automate whenever possible: Automating can be the key to your online happiness. When you have autoresponders or auto content generators in place they can save you scads of time. An easy and quick way to implement this might be your newsletter sign-ups. There are a variety of systems that will allow you to easily automate sign-ups. Even if you have a giveaway for signing up, the system can handle this too

5. Consolidate, Don’t Reiterate: If you are trying to keep up with everything, your Twitter, Facebook, Squidoo and a blog, there are ways to minimize updating them all. You can do so by doing it all at once. “How?” you ask. All of these programs can be linked together so when you update one, it will go out to all social media accounts. Many of these sites can be linked together and to a main site. This main site can be your blog, if you wish. Twitterfeed is a great place where you can update your Twitter, every time you update your blog. Your Twitter can be linked to Facebook and Squidoo.

6. Develop a Routine: Dedicate a specific time for social media on a regular basis and stick with it. It should be long enough to update your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

7. Stick to Essentials: The internet can be considered a great influence on “lost time.” One second you’re looking at a TV listing, and then something about how to make money online, and then possibly an ad for shoes we just have to have. Four hours later and you’ve found new interests in paranormal studies, cherry tomatoes and how to move to Alaska. Stick to what you were planning to do and then leave. Also, over time you will learn where to spend your time the best and it will get easier to stay on track.

8. Don’t be a Follower: Many people may give you their advice on which sites are the best for what. The thing to do is to decide which social media tool will benefit your needs the best. You don’t have to use them all, and if one isn’t working for you, go try a different one.

9. Plan: To make sure you’re spending this social media time wisely and to its full advantage, it may be good to make a simple plan. With your “dedicated social media time,” knowing to stick with the essentials and a routine put into place, developing a list of “to-dos” and goals around these should help you to stay focused. If you’re focused and determined, you’re bound not to waste any time.

10. Hire a Social Media Virtual Assistant: Ultimately, if you don’t feel you have time to even start a social media quest, or if you’ve tried and it’s just not for you but you still want to take advantage of all the awesomeness that it can bring, hiring a social media virtual assistant is another option and a fantastic idea. For example, https://regjackonline.com can help you quickly, effectively, and it’s affordable. Reggie at RTJ Online, can help create, manage and update all of your social media needs, which can be WAY more rewarding than doing it yourself if you feel like you’re in a crunch. So don’t miss that dinner date! Cruise on over to his website and see how many things he can do to help guide your social media presence, while keeping it updated and running efficiently.
By Dawn Pigoni of http://besocialworldwide.com

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5 Reasons You Need A Social Media Manager

Virtual AssistantBusiness owners around the globe are asking themselves whether or not they need a social media manager. However, more and more of them are noticing the popularity of social media, but don’t know how, where, when, or why they should jump on the bandwagon themselves. They notice their colleagues, peers, friends, children, and family have jumped on board, on a more personal level. But, what so many of them fail to see, is that their present and future customers have jumped on for a ride too!

Right now, as you read this, your customers are flying down the road going mach 5 with no end in sight. They’re enjoying themselves too while reading/writing reviews, articles, comments & opinions on your business. They’re chatting amongst themselves (and to the rest of the internet world) about their latest visit, what their experience was, and even how it bugs them that Sally the cashier always seems “nice”, but never says thank you when they are leaving.

Wouldn’t you love the opportunity to be in that cart flying down the road too? Do you want to know what your customers are saying about you? Do you want to be able to effectively converse back with them? Wouldn’t you love to hear, first hand, about their experiences? Wouldn’t it be great to know how they felt about Sally so you could enforce stronger cashier policies?

There is no excuse for you not being in that bandwagon yourself. If you want to continually grow your business every year with the goal of higher profits and better ROI’s, then you need to be in that cart. Most importantly, you need to be sitting in the cart as strategically as possible so your customers don’t mistake you for luggage!

If the last four paragraphs didn’t provide you with enough reasons as to why you need a social media manager…don’t fret! Here are five more:

1. Contrary to popular belief, just because your 14 year old niece has a Facebook account, that doesn’t mean she could (or should) create your own businesses fan page. Hire a professional. Your goal should be to have a better social presence than all your competitors. Better website, Facebook, Twitter etc. Hiring someone who has extensive knowledge on the platforms best suited for your business will benefit you enormously. Social media is so constantly evolving, that you want a professional handling yours that you know is up to speed with the latest tools, platforms, & strategies.

2. You must have a well thought out social media strategy if you want to succeed. You must have a plan. One that will provide a road map for you so you don’t get lost. You need to be consistent with your content and most importantly, you need to make sure your content is *valuable*.

3. Just because you already have social media platforms in place, that doesn’t mean you are using them correctly. If you have a Facebook business fan page or Twitter account that gets updated once “every now and then” (when you find the time) … you’re in trouble. It actually looks worse for your business to have inactive pages than not having any at all. Also, you want them all integrated together so they are working for you, and not the other way around.

4. You need someone to remind you -not- to be a broadcaster! It is extremely easy for someone to “hide” you on Facebook and “unfollow” you on Twitter. So easy, it can be done with one click of the mouse! You need someone helping you develop content strategies that are focused on providing engaging valuable content that people enjoy reading and make them feel comfortable enough to join in on the conversation. One of the most successful companies at doing social media is Zappos.com. Check out their Facebook site to see what I mean about engaging content.

5. Having a social media manager saves you, the business owner, time (our most valuable asset). Even though an effective social media campaign requires an “all hands on deck” approach to be effective, having a social media manager undoubtedly saves you time. They can provide you with a road map and content strategy that should make it easy for you to distinguish what is considered good and bad content. They also could take away the burden of having to log onto your computer and manage comments and updating content regularly on all platforms. They do all that for you leaving you more time to concentrate on your livelihood … your business!
By Krysty Petrucci facebook.com/TribalMedia

Now it’s your turn. Have you jumped on the social media bandwagon yet? What has been your experience thus far? What have you had difficulty with? What seemed surprisingly easy? If you haven’t jumped on yet- what’s stopping you?  What are you waiting for?

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