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2014 Will Be a Great Year for Small Businesses

| April 22, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment »

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Consumer confidence in March was at its highest since 2008, and a new projection from Kiplinger states that 2014 is looking very promising for small businesses across the US. What does that mean for your business? Read on.

Click image to read the full article

Click image to read the full article

This means some very important things for your business:

Customers will be looking to spend money, since they’re feeling more optimistic. When they do, four out of five of them will head to sites like Yelp and Google+ to see what others are saying first. How do your online profiles look? Are they fully optimized to make sure you get found? When people find you, what exactly will they discover?

What they should discover is a profile that has been claimed by your business, and one that includes all the important details they’ll be looking for: photos and descriptions of your products or services, up-to-date hours, a link to your website (if applicable), as well as informative and professional responses to all your business’s reviews. We’ve mentioned before that simply seeing an owner response to a negative review can change a potential customer’s perception of the review. Here’s an example of that in action:

Simply responding to reviews encouraged this customer to visit!

Simply responding to reviews encouraged this customer to visit!

People won’t just be seeking out information on their own. They’ll start asking friends for recommendations, and conversations will be happening on social media pages like Facebook and Twitter. People will be making plans to go out to eat with friends, go shopping, and treat themselves in ways they have previously been holding back from doing (we’re looking at you, salons & spas!). Are you monitoring these pages for opportunities to put your business’s name in front of people who are ready to spend?

While you should be monitoring any social mentions of your business’s name (you always want to thank someone for a public shout out), there’s something else you can be monitoring: local people in need of your product or service. You can do this on Twitter for pretty much every industry, as long as you know what to look for.

Focus less on what you’d consider buzzwords, and more on how people actually talk. You’re less likely to find someone tweeting “fine Italian cuisine” than you are someone talking about “lasagna” or an overdue “date night.” You’re not likely to find someone tweeting about “quality automotive services,” but you very well may find someone lamenting that their “car broke down” or that they’re seeing a dreaded “check engine light.” Someone may not outright say they need a spa day, but they’ll surely tweet about feeling “stressed.”

To do this, head to Twitter’s advanced search and plug in some search terms, using the “Near this place” function to rein in a localized search. You might end up pulling in someone like the below example. Now that’s social media ROI!

If you’re not already prepared to find and acquire these newly inspired customers, there’s no time to waste. People will be looking for your products and services with renewed vigor. Make sure they know you’re here before your competitors claim them.

Could your profiles use a little help? Want to make sure you’re finding the right people at the right time? Let us help with a FREE social media assessment:

Why Twitter’s New Design is Great for Local Businesses

| April 14, 2014 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment »

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If there’s one thing you can say about social media, it’s that the sites don’t stay the same for long. Twitter’s recent announcement of a complete design overhaul is the biggest change it’s made in recent memory, garnering both praise and criticism from people. Looking at these changes from a local business perspective, we see some real opportunity in Twitter’s makeover.

More visual:

The new layout from Twitter offers up a ton more real estate to show off your business. Some people are comparing it to the Facebook look, but we see nothing wrong with that! The new, huge cover photo will give you ample space to show off your personality, brand, or products—all the things that make your local business unique. The profile photo will also be bigger, allowing you to display your logo more visibly.

At 1500 x 500 pixel image size for the cover photo, you’ll want to make sure whatever you upload is a high quality photo so it doesn’t look distorted. You should go for something visually appealing that really tells a story about your business, your fans, your personality, or what you do. For some tips on taking quality photos, check out this post.

Your best content, highlighted:

If you posted something great that a bunch of your fans loved, you’d want to make sure everyone else sees it too, right? Now, they can. Your business’s most popular tweets, gauged from the most shared and most favorited (similar to ‘Likes’ on Facebook), will now actually show up larger than other tweets. This will make sure other visitors see what’s hot on your page, and possibly encourage them to interact with that post, as well.

Though Twitter typically functions as a real-time platform (meaning once a post is past, it typically isn’t visited again very often), Twitter now allows you to ‘pin’ important posts to the top of your feed. That way, anyone who visits your page will be sure to see it. You can use this to announce seasonal sales, new products, important events, or anything else you want people to see! Just be sure to unpin it if and when appropriate so you’re not featuring old news.

Another point to mention is that a Twitter user’s Favorites are now more prominently displayed under the cover photo. Twitter doesn’t publicly report if one of your friends ‘favorited’ a tweet like Facebook does with ‘Likes’. This prominence may actually encourage people to look at what their friends are favoriting, possibly increasing engagement with .

Bring on the emojis:

Another fun update that Twitter has made is allowing emojis to show up on the desktop version of the platform. If you’re not familiar with emojis, they’re cartoon character smiley faces, people, and items that many mobile users have been using to express emotions, things they want, and even create entire sentences. These previously were only visible on the mobile version of Twitter, but they must have realized how much people love them and incorporated them into the desktop version.

An example of what emojis look like

An example of what emojis look like

Twitter isn’t the first to fully embrace emojis, though. Yelp has recently allowed people to search locally using emojis. Like in the below example, putting a picture of pizza in the Yelp search box will actually show a mobile user all pizza places nearby! The great thing about emojis is that there are many available to represent almost any industry: auto, spa & salon, restaurant, hotel, pets, you name it!

One tip to leave you with: put emphasis on visiting your page rather than simply saying ‘Like’ or follow us. That way people are really seeing your message and the awesome imagery that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter allow you to demonstrate. It can also encourage them to engage with other pieces of your content that they may have missed previously.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think of Twitter’s changes? Tell us in the comments section below!

Your Yelp Listing Is Now Even More Important

| April 1, 2014 | | Leave a comment »

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If you haven’t heard, Yahoo struck a deal with Yelp to have the review site’s content show up in Yahoo search results. The search engine has recently been putting more focus on local search, which means your business’s listings have the chance for even more visibility. How will your page look when people find it? Have you claimed your page, and made sure it’s filled out with the most pertinent information? In this post, we’ll help walk you through how to make sure your Yelp profile looks its best to potential customers.

First things first

Even if you didn’t set one up, you may already have a business listing on Yelp, which you’ll need to claim. Go to Yelp.com and search for your business’s name in your city. Do you have a listing (or two or three?) on Yelp? Make sure to check common misspellings, as well. After clicking on the listing link for your business, you’ll see an option on the right side of the page that looks like this.

This means that the business has not been claimed. Claiming your business is important for several reasons:

1. You can respond to reviewers as the business owner.

2. You can upload photos and fill out useful business information.

3. Claiming a page allows you to set up deals and check-in specials.

4. You’ll have control over the information listed on the Yelp page.

You can also report duplicate listings through the Yelp Contact Us page. In the drop down menu, simply choose the “Duplicate Business Listings” and follow the instructions.

If your business isn’t currently listed on Yelp, you can scroll down to the bottom of the search results page, where you’ll see an “Add your business to Yelp” link. Click that, set up a business account (just follow the steps), and you’re on your way.

Getting down to details

Now you’ll need to fill out the business information. There are some particularly important points here.

1. Double-check your basic information before submitting. Your map will be based on the address you enter. People can’t contact you if the phone number has a typo or the email address/website is incorrect.

2. Choose a category that fits your business best. i.e. what you want to be found for when people are searching.

3. Certain details can only be added by the Yelp community (things like “Good for kids” and the $$$ price denomination) so don’t fret over those.

4. Some search engines are beginning to show menu items in search results, so if you have a specific page on your website dedicated to your menu, put it in the appropriate field (shown below).

Bring on the Specialties

Here’s where you really get a chance to shine. In 1,000 characters, tell people what makes your business really stand out—why they should choose you. We recommend a strong opening, though. The section view is truncated to about 190 characters (slightly longer than a tweet on Twitter), so give people the “who, what, and where” right off the bat. For example:

–Opal Divine’s is a grill and bar serving American and Southwestern cuisine. Offering locally sourced food, 30+ craft brews from Texas and a full bar with amazing spirits. We keep things…

Notice how we put the most pertinent information first. People will have a solid idea of what to expect and have good reason to visit if they enjoy any of the items in bold (for purposes of this post). Be concise and to the point.

A Bit of Background

The “History” and “Meet The Business Owner” sections give you the opportunity to really tell your story. Share any interesting tidbits about why you started or took over the business, offer a little background story into why you offer what you do, and let people look behind the scenes. These sections will be visible if you haven’t received any reviews yet, and then will be available when someone clicks the “Learn more about [business]” link.

One important note: in order to respond to reviews, you absolutely must include a photo (of a person, with the face visible) in the Meet the Business Owner section. You can do this in the Account Information section.

Speaking of Photos

Yelp offers you the opportunity to upload photos to your page as the business. First and foremost, if you have a high-quality logo image, upload that into the photos section. You can then use it as the page’s logo, rather than the generic building logo.

Though you can’t edit, remove, or change photos uploaded by the Yelp community, you can upload as many of your own as you like. Use this as an opportunity to provide high quality images of your products, atmosphere, location, staff, and anything else that may encourage people to choose you over a competitor.

If you already have reviews, pay attention to the top section of your page that shows what people talk about the most. Providing visual representations of those aspects can help potential customers make a decision. Some examples might be: “The fish tacos are out of this world!” or “The #9 spa room is the most relaxing experience you’ll ever have.” Adding photos of those fish tacos or the serene atmosphere of that spa room, with descriptions explaining what they are, can help people make a decision and know what to look for when visiting.

This can be a bit daunting, especially for business owners who are busy running taking care of customers in-person. Don’t worry, though. We’re here to help! Give us a call and have us do all of this for you (and more!). Call: (844) 719-7803

Enjoy this post? You might also like:
Secret Sauce: How to Reduce the Impact of Negative Reviews
Respond Thoughtfully, Don’t React, To Online Reviews

Respond Thoughtfully, Don’t React, To Online Reviews

| March 25, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment »

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One of the toughest parts of responding to a negative review is not letting yourself get negative too. When someone criticizes the thing you’ve put your heart and soul into, it can be difficult to stay cool, calm, and collected. Responding to reviews can actually be fun, though. In the below video, this one business owner not only stayed calm, she created a hilarious video response to a customer who wrote a 1-star review of her food truck. She didn’t attack the writer with her video, either. She turned it into a quirky apology complete with music!

Click to see the video:

Even if you aren’t quite as musically talented as this business owner, responding to all reviews can make a big impact on reviewers and potential customers. Just take a look at the below example. Marcus was so impressed that the business owner responded to him that he screen captured the email notification from Yelp and posted it to the business’s Yelp photos! Not only is he showing off the great customer service he received, he’s helping to spread positive word of mouth for the business. A double win!

A few tips when responding to reviews:

• Be genuine and sincere. Personality goes a long way and adds a human element to your business. [Tweet This]
• If the customer had a poor experience, apologize. If it’s not something that is directly your fault, apologize for the fact that they had a bad visit. “I’m sorry” still means a lot to people.
• Take a step back and try to figure out the main issue at hand. Is there a specific event that seems to have set off the reviewer or sparked the review?
• Respond to both positive and negative reviews. Fans appreciate being thanked for taking the time to spread the word about your business. This can turn a one-time visitor into a lifetime customer.

Of course, another aspect of responding to reviews is time—something that you may be short on as a business owner. Worry not, though. Main Street Hub is here to help. Our expert team of writers can craft friendly, professional responses to every review you receive. Click below to find out more!

What other great examples of business owners handling online reviews have you seen? Share some of your favorites in the comments below.

Rely on Twitter, Not Luck, To Get New Customers

| March 19, 2014 | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

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How are you getting new customers? Over the last four years, we’ve spoken to thousands of business owners about this very topic. Many of them say they rely on word of mouth to drive new customers through the door. The chart below, taken from a recent survey of local business owners, confirms that this still holds true. Word of mouth has moved online though, and that’s where businesses need to be in order to continue driving more customers through the door. [Click to Tweet this!]

Many of your potential customers are taking to Twitter to share their thoughts. If you’re not yet familiar with Twitter, it’s a social network that allows short updates to be publicly posted by a user. These real-time “tweets” are also searchable within the platform, and can be a great way for local businesses to connect with potential customers. People can also use hashtags (formerly called the pound symbol #) to specifically tag their posts.

For example, someone may tweet something like, “Man, I could really go for some #tacos right now. Anyone have a recommendation for a good #Mexican restaurant nearby?” If you run a Mexican restaurant, this is an opportunity to connect with this customer, let them know you’re around, and get them through the door. It’s often simply a matter of using the right search term and a friendly outreach.

This function doesn’t apply only to restaurants. Take a look at the below example, where we found a customer on Twitter for one of our dental customers.


A simple and friendly outreach turned this grumbly Twitter user into a raving customer. It’s also important to note here that you should read up on policies for medical professionals using social media.

A few rules of thumb:

• Don’t make wild claims: “We’re the best around!” or “You’ll feel great after coming to see us.” Stick to facts.
• You shouldn’t ask someone to divulge personal information on the web.
• Never attempt to make a diagnosis or treat someone via Twitter, even if they ask.
• Have the person contact you directly by offering your office’s phone or email to privately discuss what ails them.

These points can help keep you from being in violation of HIPAA guidelines.

Here at Main Street Hub, we do this kind of outreach on your behalf. We turn local people into customers with professional outreach and engaging posts on Facebook and Twitter. For more information on what we can do for your business, sign up for a free social media assessment below!

The right ways to encourage your customers to share the love

| March 4, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment »

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Encouraging customers to give you feedback can be tricky. In today’s digital environment, where 74% of consumers rely on social networks to guide their purchases, having positive word of mouth online is essential. How do you ask for it effectively, tactfully and in an unobtrusive way? In this post, we’ll discuss ways your local business can encourage more reviews and testimonials from your fans.

Testimonials
People trust the experiences of other customers. As a matter of fact, 85% of people head to review sites to decide where to spend their money. Testimonials are an excellent means of letting potential customers know what to expect, and they come right from the mouths of those who know it best—actual customers.

But how do you ask your customers for feedback online? At Main Street Hub, we’ve written over a million messages for our customers across social media and we’ve learned that a more conversational approach is the best. So, instead of saying “leave us a testimonial!”, say something like, “If you had just 30 seconds to recommend us to a friend, what would you say?” As evidenced below, the results can be amazing.

When potential customers visit your page while doing research, they’ll see all the wonderful things your customers are already saying about you. This provides a social proof that can encourage them to choose you over a competitor. Additionally, when your fans comment, their friends see that they’re doing so, which further spreads this positive word of mouth to people who may not be familiar with your business! These testimonials can be shared on your website, tweeted to your followers on Twitter, or even used on marketing materials.

Reviews
When customers head online to research where they go to spend their money, you need to look as good as possible. One way to look great is to have a plethora of reviews from actual customers. According to Yelp, your focus should be more about awareness, rather than outright asking for reviews. This is because Yelp feels that asking for reviews can diminish your credibility with customers and lessens the integrity of reviews in general. With this in mind, we recommend increasing traffic to your reviews pages in a couple different ways.

A simple thing to do is occasionally feature positive reviews from Yelp, Google+, or TripAdvisor on your Facebook and Twitter pages. Not only can this encourage your fans to stop by your page, they may also feel inclined to provide their own feedback. It also shows your appreciation to people that provide reviews and puts the spotlight on your biggest fans! At the bottom of every review is a ‘Link to this review’ option. Clicking this will change the link in the browser to one that goes directly to that review. You can then copy and paste this link into posts on Facebook and Twitter, thanking the reviewer for the kind words.

Another way we love to encourage feedback is by following up with people who check in to your business on Yelp or Foursquare. When people check-in to your business on these platforms, they can share that check-in with their friends on Facebook and Twitter. Basically—free word of mouth advertising, and that’s something you want to thank them for. Doing a quick Twitter search for your business’s name and/or Twitter handle can yield a ton of opportunities to connect with customers. In doing so, you can ask them to provide some feedback about their visit, and even let them know that they can find you on Yelp and Google+ as well.

A couple days after this conversation, the customer was inspired to write a 5-star review of the business. This kind of outcome can actually have a massive impact for local businesses. A Harvard study has shown that a 1-star increase in your overall rating can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue. Simply providing great customer service online could lead to more revenue for your business. That’s a win-win situation all around!

Social media and reviews pages are customer service channels that you simply cannot ignore. Not only do they give you the opportunity to spread word of mouth about your business; they give you the ability to enrich and enhance the relationships you have with your customers.

The steps outlined above can take time, though. Main Street Hub does all of this for you, and more. Receive personalized recommendations on your online presence by signing up for a free social media assessment below!

Get Social Austin: Guest Speaker Spotlight

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

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Our #GetSocialAustin event is coming up on March 4th at Mercury Hall here in Austin, TX. In this event, we’ll be featuring local business owners that will discuss how they’ve used social media to connect with their customers and increase business in the local community. Two of our speakers are Natasha Bajic, Owner of Bras Ovaries, and Cara Gambini, Owner of Texas Hill Country Olive Company. We’re thrilled to have them take the stage and share their stories.

Let’s take a behind-the-scenes look at these two socially savvy local business champions!

Natasha Bajic, Owner of Brass Ovaries

Natasha Bajic is an unstoppable force in the local business community. Not only is she a decorated army veteran who has explored war-torn areas, she was also the first female to complete special operation training, and even survived a fall from a Black Hawk helicopter. On the recreational side, she’s hiked the Appalachian Trail and has taken up skydiving as a hobby. While obtaining her degree in Neuroscience, Natasha spent years studying the human brain, which helped shape her personal approach to pole dance. She dubs this approach, “releasing your inner monkey.”

The way Natasha runs her business has earned her just as many accolades, and she goes above and beyond her studio’s controversial name. She’s the first pole dance instructor to teach with the accompaniment of a service animal (named Amigo!), and has developed Brass Ovaries into one of the best pole training facilities in the nation. That’s not just her word, either. Natasha has received numerous awards and recognition for her contribution to the fitness industry, holds a plethora of certifications, and has trained Pole Dance Hall of Fame member Kim Shafer-Standley and World Pole Champion Pantera Blacksmith.

Partnering with Main Street Hub in February of 2012, Brass Ovaries has seen engagement numbers that blow her competition out of the water, and a 70% increase in Facebook fans. We even helped her shut down a Twitter account that was impersonating her brand!

Cara Gambini, Owner of Texas Hill Country Olive Company

After spending six years providing her skills to the oil and gas industry, Cara Gambini decided to bring her talents home to the family business. She joined Texas Hill Country Olive Company in January 2013, and it turned out to be exactly what the company needed. Cara brought with her a technical savvy, thanks to her degree in Computer Science and experience in project and program management. She took the business to new heights throughout the year, and partnered with Main Street Hub in November to continue that success. Since then, Texas Hill Country Olive Company is reaching more customers across the web and is seeing more interaction than their competitors could even hope for. Not to mention they hold down a 4.5 star rating on Yelp!

The Texas Hill Country Olive Company is a family-owned business committed to supplying the highest quality olive oil produced in the United States. The company began in 2009 when the family bought 17 acres of land in the picturesque town of Dripping Springs, TX. Since day one, the focus has been on preserving the natural beauty of the area while providing fresh, locally produced extra virgin olive oil and other premium quality products. The family is proud to have created the only certified organic orchard in the State of Texas and was first to win medals for their olive oils.

Both of these entrepreneurs have amazing stories, and we can’t wait to hear them share more with other local business owners at #GetSocialAustin on March 4th.

Are you an Austin business owner? Register for the FREE event here:
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/get-social-austin-2014-local-businesses-learn-network-and-get-social-with-main-street-hub-and-go-tickets-10642079747

Enjoy this post? Excited to check out the event? You may also like our interview with Gabrielle Tuschak, owner of event co-sponsor, Go Local Austin!

Why Supporting Local Business Isn’t Just About the Economy

| February 18, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment »

An Interview with Go Local Austin’s Gabrielle Tuschak
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Our #GetSocialAustin event is only a couple weeks away. On March 4th, we’re partnering with Go Local Austin to provide local business owners with an opportunity to network, learn social media best practices, and hear from other business owners who have had success using social media to grow their business. We recently sat down with Go Local Austin Co-Founder, Gabrielle Tuschak, to discuss the importance of local business.

MSH: Why do you feel it’s so important to support local businesses?

GT: There’s a long list of reasons to go local: environmental and economic sustainability, increasing product diversity, better customer service, job creation, creating happier, self-sufficient communities, and one of my favorites…preserving the local flavor that keeps Austin, Austin! Can you imagine what our communities would be like without local shops, where every city had the exact same businesses? Shopping local is fundamental to the vitality of our community and supports our city’s unique and unmistakable Austin identity.

It’s also important to support the business owners behind our Austin businesses. They live here, send their kids to school here, and own property here, which means they’re invested in the long-term health of our city. Local business owners also contribute 250% more to local non-profits than their national competitors. That’s why we see cities that have thriving local businesses also have thriving non-profits. [Tweet This] It’s just awesome to think that these charitable organizations are benefiting when we shop local.

MSH: What kind of success stories can you share from local businesses participating in the Go Local program?

GT: Our Go Local business partners are doing more business and making more money. One study from a business school here in Austin found that, out of a pool of 250 Go Local cardholders, 73% had a greater appreciation for local business, 41% frequented local business more in general, and 33% consciously frequented new Go Local businesses.

Because cardholders are rewarded every time they use their card (with a 10% discount on average), they feel more appreciated and develop a sense of loyalty to those Go Local businesses. I love that the majority of cardholders have an increased awareness about shopping locally. This is a really big deal. Changing our thoughts has to come before we are able to change our behavior. Something as simple as increased awareness is really beginning to shift consumer-buying behaviors and contribute to the success of our Go Local business partners. The Go Local card is not simply offering monetary incentives to buy local—it’s helping Austinites think and shop more local.

MSH: What’s the future vision you have for Go Local?

GT: My vision is to find more profound and positive ways for Go Local to impact our community. One exciting idea we’re working on now involves increasing charitable giving to local causes. We’ll be providing ways to do this affordably and conveniently for both our Go Local businesses and cardholders in order to keep Austin local AND giving. I’m excited to formally announce this in more detail soon!

MSH: How would you describe the importance of social media for local businesses?

GT: What’s great about social media is that it provides a space for businesses to connect to their customers in a much more personal way. This falls right in line with one of our Go Local goals, which is to create more meaningful relationships within our community. I highly encourage Austinites to get to know the people behind the business and likewise, I encourage businesses to get to know the person behind the customer. Social media is a great tool to do just that and is becoming a significant means of interaction between businesses and their customers.

MSH: In partnering with Main Street Hub for #GetSocialAustin, what are you hoping to see come out of this event?

GT: What I like about these events is their sincerity. No one is trying to sell anyone anything. Main Street Hub is providing a free and valuable service to our business community and Go Local is happy to be involved. Our hope is that attendees will be able to utilize information from these events to further their company’s success. I’d say it’s a very realistic goal.

MSH: SXSW brings thousands of people to Austin each year. What kind of impact would you say that increased traffic has on local businesses?

GT: It’s definitely a great way for businesses to test their limits! Performing at maximum capacity can be a learning opportunity to see where you can improve. Obviously, the economic impact is enormous, too. What I’m interested in is: how can we maximize the value of the millions of dollars that pour into Austin each year during SXSW? How many times can we re-spend these dollars within our local economy? Recycling and reinvesting the monetary value of events like SXSW allows the economic impact to last throughout the year, not just for two weeks. That’s the value and the magic of shopping local.

For more information about the #GetSocialAustin event, click here: Get Social Austin

Connect with Go Local Austin:

6 Gold-Medal Conversation Starters for Local Businesses

| February 6, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment »

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The 2014 Sochi Olympics may be half the globe away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add a local flair in your social media content based on this worldwide event. Local business owners can use the popularity of the Olympics to really go for the gold and get their fans excited, and thereby help spread the word about your business, no matter what kind of business you have.

Simply talking about the Olympics isn’t a solid marketing strategy, though. In order to really connect with your audience, you need to find a way to tie the topic to your local business’s offerings, the interests of your customer base, or even your local community. If your audience finds your content compelling, they’ll engage with it or share it with their friends and family. This not only increases visibility, but also acts as a public endorsement of your brand, which spreads positive word of mouth online. Positive word of mouth and increased visibility lead to more customers. We’ve put together some examples of how you can do that.

Aim for the gold

Post example: “Which of our dishes wins the gold medal in your heart?
Why we love it: Asking a question is always a great way to get your audience talking, because it shows them that you value their input. This simple twist on asking your fans about their favorite dishes turns the post into something timely and can really get them talking. It doesn’t have to just apply to restaurants, either. You can ask this question about specific products you carry, or services you offer, and can receive valuable information on which of them your fans truly prefer!

Real-time content

Post example: “In honor of the USA taking home the gold/silver/bronze in [insert event], we’re featuring half-off Budweiser on tap all week!”
Why we love it: As has often been evidenced during large sports events, real time content can truly make an impact and spread word of mouth. If you have products, dishes/beverages, or services (a Swedish massage, for example) or a business that has specific geographic origins or associations, you can capitalize on those countries taking home medals. This becomes real-time, relevant marketing and shows fans that you’re paying attention to what’s going on as much as they are.

Pro Tip: Speaking of real-time, Twitter’s advanced search offers you amazing opportunities to connect with customers in the moment. Have TVs? Find people mentioning that they want to watch the Olympics and invite them in. Offering a special like the above example? Find people cheering for the US (a local search for #GoUSA or #USAgold ought to do it) and let them know to stop by. Finding these opportunities is exactly what our “do-it-for-you” HubTargeter technology is designed to do. See how it brings home the gold here.

Show your local spirit

Post example: “Come by today and help us cheer on fellow Texans Justin Olsen and Johnny Quinn as they compete for gold in the bobsled event!
Why we love it: Showing support of local competitors really brings the international Olympics events home. A quick online search using the phrase “2014 Olympics competitors from [insert state]” can help give you an idea of who’s from your home state, if you don’t already know. You can then look them up on http://www.teamusa.org/Athletes/ and learn a bit about them. This information can be used for a trivia post, as you’ll see below, or can turn into easy shares by your fans to show their support of local competitors, as well.

Go with what you know

Post Example: “Give us your best guess: An hour of ice skating burns ____ calories.
Why we love it: Trivia or multiple choice posts are a great way to not only get your fans talking and sharing, but also serve as a way to show off your knowledge. Gyms and fitness centers, or even healthcare providers, can use these kinds of posts to spread helpful information in a fun way.

Post example: “Ted Ligety gets X hours of sleep before an event. How many hours do you need to be in tip-top shape?
Why we love it: A little research on Olympic competitors can provide you with interesting and informative tidbits to start conversations about important topics in your industry. Use content like this to open up dialogue with your fans and start discussions that lend themselves to your expertise.

Contests

Post Example: Which country will take home the most gold medals this year? Place your vote this week and one lucky winner will receive a $10 gift card!
Why we love it: Every local business can tie contests into a social media strategy, especially now that Facebook has opened up contests to the timeline. Doing so can increase engagement in a fun way, encourage new followers through word of mouth, and create extra value for fans and followers of your social pages, all with only a small investment from you. Just be sure to brush up on Facebook’s promotion guidelines to keep from violating any of the policies. You should also ‘Pin’ the post to the top of your page to make it easy for fans to find it and enter (See below. Click the arrow in the top left of a post to see the drop down menu).

Remember to have fun with your fans. Think about providing value and offering something that will interest your audience, rather than using your content to try and sell something outright. Not only will this invite more engagement, but will also keep your fans coming back for more.

Interested in more information on how someone could be doing all this (and more) for you? Sign up for a FREE social media assessment by clicking below.

Why we love community managers—and you should too!

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

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We’re very lucky here at Main Street Hub to have a great group of community managers from varying backgrounds who all have a passion for local business and social media. This past Monday was the 4th annual Community Manager Appreciation Day, which was started by Jeremiah Owyang back in 2010 to recognize the work these creative people do every day online. Community management professionals can be an asset to local and small business owners. Here’s how:

A Fresh Perspective
Many local business owners struggle with what to say on social media, that many simply don’t bother getting started. A community manager brings with him or her some social savvy and a background in creative writing that can greatly benefit your online presence.

You know your business and products, but how do you present them to your customers? Community managers can provide new ways to approach the business you love, and that fresh perspective can prove fruitful in spreading more word of mouth about your business online.

The business owner's reaction to this: "Saw the lavender martini post - NICE! How did you get so many people to look at this?????

The business owner's reaction to this: "Saw the lavender martini post - NICE! How did you get so many people to look at this?????

A good community manager is typically up to date on current events and trends, which they can incorporate into presenting your business to an audience. Just look at some of the recent events such as Arby’s tweet during the GRAMMYs.

Cool, Calm, Objective
When your business receives the inevitable poor review or online customer complaint, it can be tough not to have a knee-jerk reaction. After all, this business is your heart and soul, and sometimes people can be harsher online than they typically would be in person. A defensive shouting match online leads to a situation where no one wins, and often the business comes out on the short end of it.

An advantage of having a community manager is that you have someone who can coolly handle customer service, with both the customer’s and business’s best interest in mind. Good community managers understand quality customer care and can not only diffuse a situation, they can often completely turn it around! Not only that, but a response showing great customer service has actually been shown to reduce the negative impact of the review in the eyes of potential customers.

A calm response to a review can have a profound effect

A calm response to a review can have a profound effect

That Creative Spark
A struggle of many local business owners we’ve talked to is finding the time to come up with creative content and strategies for their business online. Community managers bring with them a familiarity of social media platforms and how to best utilize them for local businesses.

Your customers want to be informed and entertained on social media, but it’s a noisy environment, and you need to stand out. Creative content is key to keeping your business top of mind, and that’s something good community managers do best.

What we look for in our potential community mangers are individuals who are innovative thinkers, but who thrive in a team environment of collaboration. The various individual talents and interests are what make the collaboration of our community management team so successful. This shows week after week as our customers continue to see people stay engaged and interacting with the local businesses they love.

Our thanks go out to not only our community managers, but also those working for businesses large and small across the web. Their creativity, customer service, and social savvy make the internet a better place for businesses and customers.

What great examples have you seen or experienced when interacting with a brand’s community manager?

Want to find out what our community managers could do for your business? Sign up for a free assessment by clicking below!

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