Last week we talked about how much the local business marketing landscape has changed over the past 10 -15 years. And since this blog is dedicated to helping local businesses identify effective marketing channels and tools, we should probably start with the basics. In future entries I will assume certain basics steps have already been taken. So just to make sure everyone is on the same page, I will reiterate the basic elements of social and local business marketing.
Keep in mind, for all of the tools and sites you sign up for, make sure you use the same information (business name, phone number, address, website, etc). I will get into this more in an entry focused on Search Engine Optimization. Basically, keeping business information consistent across the internet tells Google that you are a legitimate local business and to give you higher ranking than a non-local business.
So here we go:
1. Build a Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
(70% of local businesses use Facebook for marketing).
- Claim your username by going to your businesses page and then look for the “Edit Page” button. On the edit page screen you should see a list of menu option on the left side of the page. Click the menu option for “Basic Information.” Here you can select your own custom Facebook URL (for example, ours is facebook.com/incentivine). However, you will need to have at least 25 fans in order to claim a username
2. Sign up for Twitter – Create an account: https://twitter.com/signup
(40% of local businesses use Twitter for marketing).
- Try to send out at least one tweet a day to keep the conversation going with your customers and fans.
- Tweet about special promotions and daily discounts, the majority of users follow local businesses to hear about special promotions and discounts
3. Google.com – Claim your google local listing at: http://www.google.com/lbc
- This helps let google know you are a local business and when people search for your keywords local businesses have priority over non-local businesses.
- It helps to have reviews on your business as this helps Google ensure that your business is a legitimate business.
4. Foursquare – Follow instructions at https://foursquare.com/business/venues
- Search for your business
- Claim ownership of your business
- Offer rewards (discounts, free stuff) to incentivize people to become a mayor of your venue.
5. Sign up for a MerchantCircle account at http://www.merchantcircle.com
- Network and partner up with other businesses in your local area or industry and work on joint promotions or projects (charities, educational seminars, etc.) together.
6. Claim your business on Yelp.com and Citysearch.com (for the older generation of internet users)
There we have the ABCs of local business marketing. Check back regularly and look at your comments and see how your presence on each of these sites is growing. Many of them have analytics to gauge your activity. That’s the great thing about the internet, everything is quantifiable, even BUZZ!