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The backbone of a town. Another name for family. A place you feel welcome.

| November 26, 2014 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment »

At the core of everything we do is reverence for local business. With Small Business Saturday just around the corner (Nov. 29th), it seems like the perfect time to stop and think about some of our favorite reasons to love and support local. In no particular order, here they are. When you shop small, you:

What does local mean to you? Do you have a favorite independent business? If so, do you follow them on social media? We’d love to hear your answers in the comments below!

The secret sauce? Social media, with a splash of soul.

| November 13, 2014 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment »

by Erin Myers 

“It goes out to the masses and it goes out daily. What else can you ask for?”

For over two decades, Sky’s Gourmet Tacos has satisfied the palates of their customers throughout Southern California by preparing the finest quality Mexican food, with a splash of soul. According to founder, Barbara Burrell, social media has taken her business to the top by continuing to build her brand by making memories, telling stories and maintaining relationships with customers. For her, social media is the “creme de la creme” because it adds value and takes her product out where everyone can be introduced to it.

With a plate of nachos that looks this good, chances are Tayon’s stomach would have led him back to Sky’s eventually, but why not give him a delicious reminder to speed up the process?

And the goodness doesn’t stop there

Since coming on board with Main Street Hub in May of 2013, a dedicated team of writers have connected Sky’s with over 385,000 people on Facebook, giving them exposure that they couldn’t get anywhere else and bringing more than 1,000 new ‘Likes’ to their business page. On her sign up date, the vision Barbra had for her social media presence was to get more people to know and love Sky’s. With a customer reach that is 12x greater than the industry average, we think it’s safe to say that Sky’s is doing a great job of exceeding that goal.

Things change, the ingredients stay the same

This year Sky’s celebrates 22 years of business and a lot has changed over the past two decades, but one thing has stayed the same: the ingredients that make up their famous Shrimp Tacos. Our focus is making sure that Sky’s Tacos is staying connected to customers online, so they can focus on running a successful business.

That means we’re constantly engaging their customers through customer review websites, social media, mobile and email to help spread word of mouth and keep them coming back. With the help of Main Street Hub, Barbara can give all of her attention to delighting her customers with the soul food they crave. And if you’ve watched her video, then you know — those tacos look too good to resist!

The Roadmap to New Customers

| November 5, 2014 | | Leave a comment »

by Erin Myers 

Meet the all-new Foursquare
In 2009 four square became much more than a game you used to play in your driveway. With more than 55 million users, the free mobile app, Foursquare, has hosted over 5 billion check-ins at businesses around the world. Those check-ins power the Foursquare Explore search engine, which provides personalized recommendations of places nearby based on your likes and interests.

Four square then:

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Foursquare now:

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A focus on search and discovery
Recently, Foursquare split its main app into two separate experiences: Swarm for social location sharing, and Foursquare for personalized location recommendations. The main difference? Swarm allows customers to check-in at a business and share their current location with friends on social media. Its main purpose is to help you meet up and keep up with friends. On the other hand, the all-new Foursquare app is completely focused on learning what you like and leading you to places you love. It’s all about the search and discovery experience and leaves the check-in function up to Swarm. If you’ve never tried it out, it looks a little something like this:

 

What does it mean for your business?
New customers. With a revamped focus on local search and discovery, Foursquare helps friends of regulars and people with related interests find your business. Since 80% of consumers say that they’re more likely to try new things based on suggestions their friends make on social media, you have every reason to make sure your business is getting discovered by the customers who will love it most.

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Claiming your business listing
To get started, you can visit http://business.foursquare.com/ to claim your business listing. Once your listing is claimed you will gain access to free tools that allow you to share tips that highlight what customers should know about your business and set up rewards to give both first time customers and regulars even more of an incentive to stop by. If you work with Main Street Hub, we will claim your business listing, update your information, and cross promote any Foursquare specials you decide to offer on Facebook and Twitter!

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Ready to start connecting with customers who have tastes and interests that align with your business? Click below for a free assessment and let us start optimizing your online presence today!

You’re local. Are you connecting locally?

| October 27, 2014 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment »

by Erin Myers 

You're local. Connect Local..jpg

If you’re a small business owner, then we probably don’t need to tell you how important it is to connect with people in your community. Chances are you’re already doing this in one way or another. Maybe you sponsor a little league team or set up a booth at the weekend Farmer’s Market. But did you know that opportunities to build relationships with people in your community are at your fingertips, always?

With over 271 million active users and 500 million tweets sent per day, chances are someone nearby is talking about something that is related to your business.

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Infographic via Hubspot 

You can use Twitter to stay in the loop with people who are talking about your business, services you offer or local events that are relevant to what you do. The great news is, you don’t have to be an expert on Twitter to take advantage of their Advanced Search function. In fact, you don’t even have to have an account to play around with the search terms and see what you can discover here!

Anyone can access Twitter’s Advanced Search by opening a web browser and visiting https://twitter.com/search-advanced. If you’ve never checked it out, we encourage you to read the following simple tips and then try tailoring them to your personal business and location. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find!

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For our example, let’s pretend that we’re a breakfast taco stand in Austin, TX — because after all, who doesn’t love breakfast tacos?

Before jumping in, it’s important to note that you can use any combination of search fields to change your results — fill out as much or as little as you’d like. That said, we suggest specifying the “Written in” language, “Near this place” location and “From this date” fields to make sure that your search is yielding results that are relevant to what you’re looking for. For this particular search we filled out the following fields:

This exact phrase: breakfast taco
Written in: English
Near this place: Austin, TX
From: 10/24/14 – 10/27/14

As expected, a lot of people in Austin have been tweeting about breakfast tacos. Here are a few examples that our quick search came up with:

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Here we have 5 excellent opportunities to start conversations with people who are nearby and thinking about breakfast tacos. If you’re unsure about how to open the conversation, you can always remember our golden rule: tweet like you’d want to be tweeted.

What we mean by that is be human, not a robot and don’t go for the hard sell, but ask questions that you would want to answer.

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For more insight on starting valuable conversations with potential customers on Twitter, this article breaks it down. Have you tried out Twitter’s Advanced Search and had success or additional questions? We want to hear! Share with us in the comment section below.

 

 

Make them go away: reviews that violate Yelp’s terms of service

| October 20, 2014 | | 2 Comments »

by Erin Myers 

Yelp.

If you’re a small business owner, then it’s definitely on your radar. From making sure that your business information is updated to crafting thoughtful responses to all incoming reviews — managing a Yelp page comes with a list of tasks to stay on top of.

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Even though the vast majority of reviews on Yelp are 3 stars or higher, you’ll occasionally come across a review that violates Yelp’s terms of service. As a business owner, you’ll want to know how to navigate the process of flagging reviews that violate Yelp’s terms. Recently, they’ve changed the process for doing this.

Before jumping into how to get reviews removed, let’s first talk about what can be removed.

Yelp’s Content Guidelines: The Cliff Notes

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If you identify a questionable review, you will need to know about two major changes in Yelp’s review flagging process. First, in order to flag a review you now have to have your page claimed. If you’re not familiar with how to go about doing this, it’s a simple but important process that we broke down for you here.

Once your page is claimed, you can take ownership and manage it as your own — that includes having the ability to request that reviews violating Yelp’s guidelines be taken down.  

The second major change is the way you actually submit a request. Below, we will walk you through the process step by step.

1. After claiming your page, visit the Log In to Yelp for Business Owners page and sign in.

2. From there, select “Reviews” on the left side of the page. Reviews are sorted by date, so you can easily find the one you want to respond to or flag.
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3. Locate the review in question and click the “Flag review” icon.

Below is a textbook example of a 1-star review that should be removed from a business page. It not only shares the full name of an employee, but it also hurts their overall star rating.  

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4. Next, select the reason you’ve decided to report the review from the menu.

For this particular review, it’s because it violates Yelp’s privacy standards.  

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5. Last but not least, Yelp will ask you to explain how the review violates their content guidelines. We recommend keeping your request clear and to the point, like in the template below. State your case and click “Flag”.

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After you submit your request, Yelp will evaluate the review and get back to you within a few business days. If they decide to remove your review, well done! It will no longer appear on your page or average into your overall star rating.

If they decide not to remove it, then we suggest taking the time to write a thoughtful response that addresses your customers concerns.

We know this can all sound like a lot, but can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be in tune with what your customers are saying online. When do-it-yourself is too much, we’re here to do-it-for-you! Give us a call and let us optimize your pages and attract new customers for you. Call: 888-900-0920.

 

 

3 Ways to Make a Great First Impression Online

| October 13, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment »

by Jordan Paluch

We all like to think that we don’t judge a book by its cover, but realistically, first impressions make a very significant impact on the way people perceive us. Whether looking our best on a first date or getting a fresh haircut before a job interview, the smallest details are often the difference between success and failure. For a small business, how people initially judge you often determines their willingness to take the next step toward becoming a customer.

With 74% of consumers relying on social networks to guide purchasing decisions, your first interaction with a customer will often be through social media. To be successful, companies need to create a positive image online that accurately reflects the essence of their small business. Potential customers who don’t know your business won’t be able to understand the benefits of your products and services unless you put your best foot forward. The following three strategies could make the difference between standing out, or being passed over.

1. Make sure all of your social media sites are up-to-date and reflect your personality

Online interactions need to be seamless and stress-free. Hours of operation, location, menus, services offered — all relevant information about your business should be easily accessible on your Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google+, and TripAdvisor pages. Why risk a customer leaving your page to find additional information and getting distracted? After interacting with you online, your potential customers should not only know what you do, but also what separates you from your competition.

Making a great first impression isn’t just about the services you provide, but also your customers’ unique relationship with you and your business. Embrace the passion and hard work you do every day to stand out. Showing your personality online is a simple way to humanize your business and separate yourself from the crowd.

2. Respond to all online reviews

Responding to reviews is a great way to show that you care about your reputation and work actively to satisfy your customers. Thank positive reviewers and let them know how much you appreciate their business.  When you receive a negative review, apologize for any missteps and tell the reviewer that you will work hard to improve. These simple interactions not only mean a lot to the reviewer, but also show anyone visiting your review sites for the first time how committed you are to pleasing your customers.

3. Reach out to potential customers

How many people in your area could use your products and services but have yet to hear about your business? Social media sites give business owners a unique opportunity to reach out and create meaningful interactions with potential customers. Be personal and personable. It’s important to start conversations, rather than immediately going for the hard sell. Treat those you interact with online the same way you treat a first-time customer at your business.

Our customers have the benefit of our HubTargeter technology, which seamlessly works to find local customers on Twitter based on business specific keywords. Without this technology, a business owner can still monitor hashtags and track local events to connect with Twitter users in their area. Leveraging this power, you have the chance to spread the word about your business and differentiate yourself from competitors.

Using your social media pages to give people a positive first impression of your business is one of the most cost-effective ways to gain new customers. Thanks to the power of online interactions, you have the opportunity to not only improve your reputation, but allow it to precede you.

 

A Tweet for a Tweet Makes Your Customers Happy!

| October 2, 2014 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment »

by Erin Myers

If the majority of guests sharing feedback about a restaurant are still in the establishment when they hit publish, then you have one more reason to make sure you’re staying on top of your social media pages.

Closely monitoring what’s being said about your business on social media platforms not only gives you a chance to make things right with an unhappy customer, but also see the positive things that are being said and say thanks to those spreading the word.

Here’s an example of how you could be putting that into action:

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A play by play of what just went down:

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As if that’s not awesome enough, onlookers will see that this local business owner cares about what his customers are saying and also takes the time to respond. These are the benefits you reap when you engage with people talking about the things they love on the platforms they use most frequently.

On that note, Twitter isn’t the only place where you’re likely to find people talking about your business. Chances are, with a little searching you will find plenty of check-ins, reviews and photos that your customers are posting just waiting for your attention.

When constant communication is at our fingertips and word of mouth is the main way that 85% of small businesses get customers, it’s now more important than ever to manage your online reputation.

At Main Street Hub, we understand that monitoring these sites can feel like a full time job for already busy small business owners — but it doesn’t have to be that way! Click below to learn more about how we can help keep up with your current customers and bring new faces into your business.

Use Twitter to Bring Customers Into Your Business

| September 24, 2014 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment »

by Keely Sutherland

@LocalBusinessOwner Are you engaging in conversations with your potential customers on Twitter? #YouShouldBe

There are currently 255 million monthly active users on Twitter sending 500 million tweets per day. Twitter is the holy grail of potential customers for your business. Not only that, but the site encourages two-way conversations and is the perfect place to build positive relationships with your customers.

Engaging in conversations with Tweeters is a great way to get people talking and to generate word of mouth about your business. Here are some guidelines to help your business engage in meaningful conversations with potential customers on Twitter.

Take a soft approach

There is a time and a place for the hard sell, but it’s not at the start of a Twitter conversation. Pushing your product on people right away is going to turn them off and discourage them from engaging in a conversation with you, especially on social media platforms. So, be a friend. Connect with people and earn their trust before you bring the focus back to your business.

They’re talking, are you listening?

Tweet at people about what they want to talk about first and foremost. From what’s trending in pop culture to someone tweeting about what they’re doing in the moment, jump in and start a conversation with them about it. The goal here is to build a positive relationship with potential customers and after doing so, invite them to your business.

Get to know people

Don’t be that person at the cocktail party talking only about themselves. The best way to start a conversation is by asking a question. Ask tweeters relevant and timely questions that you would want to answer if asked the same thing.

Talk like a person, not a robot

One of the biggest advantages of using Twitter is that you can humanize your business by engaging in ongoing, two-way conversations with your customers and potential customers. Tweet like you would talk and go for a casual and conversational tone. It gives your business personality and reminds people that they’re talking to other people and not just a company logo.

Use humor

Everybody appreciates a good laugh. Humor can be a great way for your business to engage with people and encourage conversations on Twitter. Just remember to use humor that’s in line with your brand and makes sense to your audience.


What are you waiting for? Your customers are just a tweet away – go forth and conversate!

4 Ways to Reach Customers Using “Facebook Insights”

| September 16, 2014 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment »

by Erin Myers

While a lot of factors drive the amount of engagement that a post you make on your Facebook business page will receive, there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure your posts are receiving as much interaction as possible. We define engagement as the number of Likes, Shares and Comments a post gets on Facebook. And why is it important? Because when a person interacts with a post you make, three magical things happen:

  • Your post appears in the newsfeed of their friend’s pages
  • Other people not only see, but interact with your post
  • Your business becomes a topic of conversation for people in your community

The main takeaway here: when people engage with your posts, it helps to spread the word about your business.

Now, how to help that happen? Following are some things you can keep in mind when writing and scheduling posts for your page to make sure you’re getting as much engagement as possible:

1. Post when your ‘fans’ are online:

Use data that Facebook is already collecting for your business page to make sure that you’re posting at times when the majority of your fans are paying attention.

We introduce you to Facebook Insights.

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When you click ‘Insights’ at the top of your business page, you will see an Overview of your page including number of Likes, Post Reach and Engagement from the past week.

At first glance, it’s a lot to take in, but using specific Insights data you can determine what time of day and what day of the week are best for posting, as well as what type of posts have been most popular with your fans.

Click on ‘Posts’ and you are taken to a page that details what day of the week and at what time on those days your fans are online. For this particular page, 1.7K fans are online Sunday through Saturday, but as you toggle between each day you can see how the time of day fans are online fluctuates throughout the week. On Mondays most fans are online just before 9pm.

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Now that you know what time your fans are accessing Facebook, you can publish posts to your page at times when the majority of people are paying attention.

2. Change up the time:

Since different people are logging in at different times of day, switch around the time you post to continue reaching a wider audience. Try posting at the second most active time or an hour before the busiest time of day (so you’re the first thing fans see when they login).

Once you have a better idea of when to post, you can start to think about what kind of posts get the best engagement with your fans. The beauty of Insights? Facebook has already gathered that information for you.

Click ‘Post Types’ to see what kind of content has the biggest reach on your page. In the case of this burger joint, Status Updates are getting the most engagement on average, followed by Photos, then Links.

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See which posts have done well in the past and use that information to get inspiration for future content (but don’t let yourself fall into a rut).

3. Keep it fresh:

Posting similar content from week to week will surely bore your audience. Mix it up with images, engaging questions and text-only posts to keep your page balanced and interesting.

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Although Facebook can often feel less personal than chatting with someone in your place of business, always remember that you’re interacting with real humans! Whether it’s a neighbor or someone passing through town, the impressions you make online are lasting. Ask yourself: Would you ignore a customer standing at your register? Of course not. So, we ask you: Will you ignore a customer reaching out on Facebook? We hope not! This leads us to our fourth point:

4. Continue the conversation:

Your fans want to hear from you. When people comment on your post, take a moment to chime in: answer a question, say thanks, or even give a simple ‘Like’ to a comment that was made in the thread.

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When it comes to connecting with your fans online, it’s the little things that make a huge difference. If you take the time to post thoughtful updates and reply to the people who are reaching out on your pages, you will begin to see positive returns as you continue to grow your business.

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Doing these things will not only help you build your audience, but keep them engaged and coming back for more of the local goodness you’re serving up — happy posting!

Want to learn more about making the most of your online presence?

Sign up for a FREE social media assessment →

Why Facebook is Vitally Important to Your Local Business

| June 30, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment »

by

There are few better ways to simultaneously provide customer service, keep your business top of mind, and interact with customers than in the comments section of your business’s Facebook page. Facebook is one of the first places people go when they get up, one of the last things they check before they go to bed, and where they frequent when they simply have a spare moment. If you own or run a small or local business, there are three major reasons Facebook is absolutely crucial to your business.

Your customers expect it

Your customers have expectations. They expect you to have a website. They expect to be able to check reviews of your business on Yelp or Google+. They also expect to be able to find information and interact with your business when they’re on Facebook. The greatest way to succeed online is to be where your customers are. With over 1.1 billion people on Facebook, you definitively have local people on Facebook that can and will connect with your business if you give them the opportunity to. Not to mention, 47% of Americans say Facebook is their #1 influencer of purchases.

Social customer service is here to stay

Gone are the days when people’s first response to an issue is to call or return to a business. Social is now one of their first avenues for providing feedback, positive or negative. A business that takes the time to respond to comments and reviews shows current and potential customers that their feedback is valued and the business is listening. The conversations are happening online with or without you, join in and take control of the information.

Image from http://sociallydevoted.socialbakers.com/

Image from http://sociallydevoted.socialbakers.com/

Build a community to get found

By filling out your page’s information fully, it becomes a searchable source of information about your business in a place online that your customers are spending a ton of time. Post links, images, and updates about things your fans care about and are interested to keep them coming back and encourage them to genuinely spread word of mouth. Put focus on the “why” of your business and give people something genuine to connect with. This will humanize your business, spark conversation, and turn people who simply enjoy your products and services into rabid fans that want to see your local business succeed.

Convinced that you should take the reins of your social presence, but still need help getting started? Sign up for a FREE social media assessment and we’ll provide insight into what you can do right now to improve your pages. Click below.

For a Free Assessment
Call: 888.900.0920