Blog

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.

10 Ways to Make Your Yelp Business Page Shine

| June 11, 2014 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment »

by

trophy portion courtesy of sweetclipart.com

trophy portion courtesy of sweetclipart.com

For local businesses, Yelp is crucial to getting found and bringing in new customers. 61 million people per month use Yelp’s mobile app to search for something they want right now, and if your business’s page doesn’t entice them to choose you, they’re choosing one of your competitors. So what can you do to make sure that doesn’t happen? We’ve put together a list of ten things you can do to make sure your Yelp page stands out and to ensure that it brings you new customers.

Fill out all profile information

To some, this may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many Yelp pages are lacking very important information. Do you know the last time you went into your profile and checked that everything was accurate and up to date?

Upload a business owner photo

In order to respond to reviews, Yelp requires that there is a photo of an actual person uploaded. This makes it a more personal experience, and will ultimately help you connect with your customers. Speaking of which…

Respond, Respond, Respond

The best opportunity Yelp offers is to handle customer service issues, thank your biggest fans, and show potential customers that you’re actively engaged and listening. This makes a huge impact on potential customers.

Upload high quality photos

With Yelp’s overhaul of business pages a few months ago, pages are much more visually focused than they used to be. Photos are prominently displayed at the top of the page. Users can upload photos, but you should make sure you have some of your own, as well as a quality, high resolution logo. For tips on taking great photos for your business, check out this post.

Check your categories

To make sure you get found when people are searching for what you have to offer, you first need to make sure that you have your business listed properly. Decide the top one to three things people can expect from your business, and list them.

Periodically check for duplicate pages

An occasional audit of your business’s name on Yelp can ensure that you have a streamlined presence for current and potential customers to find you. Since people can create pages on behalf of a business, you should schedule a task on your calendar every quarter to search your business’s name on Yelp (and be sure to include common misspellings, too). Read here if you need help reporting duplicate pages to Yelp.

Offer check-in specials

People love a good freebie. Yelp allows you to create specials for people who check in using the mobile app. This is great for a few reasons: it can encourage people to choose you over a competitor that doesn’t offer something, it can encourage them to share their check in on Facebook or Twitter which spreads word of mouth, and people can search only places that offer check-in specials, which puts you on the shorter list of nearby businesses!

Share positive reviews on your social pages

Want to really impress your fans? Take a moment to thank your strongest advocates by sharing 4 and 5-star reviews on your Facebook and Twitter pages. Underneath a reviewer’s information, you’ll see the option to share a review. Click that link, thank the person for their kind words, and post. This spreads word of mouth, leads fans to check out your Yelp page, and can even lead to more reviews for your business.

Promote your Yelp presence

Do you have any signs or stickers up letting people know you can be found on Yelp? When you send emails, have you added a link to your Yelp page at the bottom? Considered putting a Yelp badge on your business’s website? All of these things help increase exposure, without violating Yelp’s guidelines around specifically asking for reviews, which you should never do. [Click here to share this tip on Twitter]

Update your page regularly

Seasonal hours vary, products and services come and go, and renovations happen. Any time something significantly changes about your business, you need to make sure your Yelp page reflects that. This way, people know you’re providing the most up to date information and there won’t be any unpleasant surprises (like someone showing up when you’re closed due to a change in hours).

Feeling overwhelmed by all that you can do with Yelp? We understand, and we’re here to help! Sign up for a free social media assessment and let us help you shine online.

Fostering a Positive Online Environment for Your Business

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

by

There’s a common misconception some have: that the social media space is only for complaining. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A recent study shows that the vast majority of online interaction is positive or neutral (such as simple mentions or check-ins), and that overall only one-fifth contains something negative. According to recent stats from Yelp, 79% of reviews are actually 3-stars or higher. [Tweet This]

What some business owners don’t realize is that they can have an effect on which way a conversation goes. Let’s discuss some dos and don’ts to help your business foster an environment of positivity for your fans and followers.

Monitor your presence and be active

Do:
Simply being part of the conversation is the biggest step to creating the right kind of community around your business. When there’s an open void, people can go in any direction. Lead the conversation—spark positive engagement by asking fun and interesting questions, ask fans and followers to share their stories, or you can post about great things that are happening in your business or in the community.

Don’t:
That being said, we all have things we’re passionate about. Some of these things can become controversial or negative. It may be best to save those topics for your personal profiles and away from your business. A rant by your business can quickly inspire your audience to follow the lead, and may not go in a productive or positive direction. Unless it’s core to your business’s mission, keep things lighter, upbeat, and steer clear of hot-button topics.

Respond quickly

Do:
Put in the time to respond to comments and reviews in a timely manner. This can be a daunting task depending on how many incoming responses your business gets, but the payoff can be huge. In fact, according to a social care survey done in 2012, people are nearly 3 times more likely to recommend a brand after a positive social experience. [Tweet This] Whether the comments are positive or negative, showing your fans that you’re listening and value their feedback makes a huge impact on them.

Don’t:
Some business owners think if they just ignore social media it will go away, or that responding to complaints somehow validates them. Neither could be further from the truth. In fact, a study from BazaarVoice has shown that simply responding to negative reviews and comments actually minimizes any negative effect. Not only does responding show potential customers that you’re listening, it makes negative posts LESS negative. It can also make things like this happen:

Respond Appropriately

Do’s:
People typically just want their voice to be heard. Thank them for taking the time to reach out to you. Remember, they actively gave you the opportunity to be part of the conversation. That’s important. Calmly address any concerns they have, and let them know that you’re here to help. Really take a moment to get to the core of what’s bothering them, and they will almost always think better of you for it.

Don’ts:
Negativity begets negativity, and no one wins in an online shouting match. If you feel yourself getting worked up over a comment or review, don’t respond. Walk away, give yourself time to cool down, and approach the customer with a level head. If you can’t emotionally separate yourself, ask someone else to help, or hire an outside company (like Main Street Hub) to help you craft responses that protect your reputation and provide great customer service.

Remember, participation in the conversation is the most important part to managing your reputation and customer service online. Your customers are talking—join in the conversation.

Did you find these tips helpful? Learn more by downloading our Social Media 101 eBook below!

3 Important Things Hotel Owners Need to Know Right Now

| May 20, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment »

by

The summer travel season is just about upon us, which means millions of people are taking to the web to research their summer excursions. As a matter of fact, according to TripAdvisor’s 2014 Summer Travel survey, 89% of those surveyed plan to travel this summer, citing the Polar Vortex as the top reason they need to get out in the sun!

Just before the 2013 holiday season, we wrote a guest article for Leisure & Hospitality International with some actionable items travel and leisure business owners can follow to prepare for an upcoming travel season. Many of these also apply for the summer season, so we recommend brushing up on those basics. There are, however, some very important aspects to consider for this new season.

Reviews mean more than ratings, which mean more than price

Yes, you read that right. According to a recent survey, people are considering the content of recent reviews as one of the most important indicators of whom they choose to do business with. This is important to you as the business owner for a couple reasons.

First, if customers are paying attention to these details, you should be too. Do you see certain complaints popping up in reviews? You can bet that potential customers are going to notice, too. Watching for trends in customer feedback gives you the opportunity to pinpoint areas that you can improve and questions you can answer, not only for those customers, but potential ones as well.

Second, if potential customers see you responding to these reviews, good or bad, they’ll get the sense that you’re listening and care about feedback. Not only that, but responding gives you the opportunity to tell your side of the story and balance out any negative perspective. Just remember, keep your cool, approach the review as genuine customer feedback, and respond like everyone’s watching…because they are.

Word of mouth from others still reigns supreme

Market research firm PhoCusWright conducted a study of TripAdvisor users, and 73% stated that they make decisions based on other users’ photos. A recent Neilsen study shows that 84% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations most. One thing to note here—just because the information is coming from your customers doesn’t mean it’s completely out of your hands.

Upload your own high-quality photos to your Yelp, Google+, and TripAdvisor pages so people get a glimpse of what they can expect and compare/contrast with user photos as they do their research. You can even use photos uploaded by customers as a guide to what you should be uploading yourself.

Reviews sites aren’t the only places people will be doing their research, though. Your Facebook and Twitter pages are on their radar, too. Because of this, you should occasionally encourage your fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter to share their favorite moments from their visits. Make it fun. Perhaps jump on the #ThrowbackThursday hashtag (#tbt on Twitter) and ask people to share their favorite photo or memory from their stay. You can even feature awesome comments and stories that people share by creating a post thanking them it (see below). This way, you’re getting user generated content that potential customers want to see, but in a way that works for you.

People are eager to travel this year

TripAdvisor and Ipsos surveyed American and International travelers, and the results are astounding. 97% of those surveyed in the US plan to travel domestically some time this year, and 22% of them plan to spend more than they did in 2013. As mentioned above, those folks will be doing their research, so it might not hurt to do a little spring-cleaning to make sure your online presence is tidy, streamlined, and ready for the increased traffic that the travel industry can expect this year.

Could your hotel use some help getting your social media in order? It’s not too late. Sign up for a free social media assessment below and one of our local marketing experts can provide some one-on-one suggestions!

3 Ways To Get More Online Traffic from Holiday Travel Planners

| May 19, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment »

by

originally posted in Leisure & Hospitality International, Oct 30, 2013

The travel season is here. This year, your success depends not only on having your physical location ready to greet customers, but on your online presence as well. Social media will play a significant role in the travel season with more travelers expected to research online to make decisions on how and where to travel.

Review sites like Yelp, Google+ and TripAdvisor, along with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, will likely dictate many travelers’ choices as they plan their trips. It’s imperative that your business stands out online to guide potential guests toward choosing you. But how? Here are a few things you can do to make the most of the holiday season.

Assess your current social media presence


People make snap decisions on which business to spend their money with when looking at social media pages so you need to grab their attention quickly. Take a look at your review sites and your Foursquare page, which should all be claimed and managed. You should be taking full advantage of the “about the business” sections of these pages to show potential customers what makes you great, and why they should choose you instead of your competition. It’s also important to make sure all of this information stays up to date and accurate. Featuring out-of-date hours, products or information could lead to a poor customer experience right from the onset, leaving you apologizing for a poor first impression.

An increasingly important aspect to consider is if your website is mobile-friendly. According to HeBS Digital, more than 40 percent of this year’s online travel queries come from mobile searches. Don’t lose those customers because your website doesn’t play well with their mobile device.

Have you uploaded visually interesting photos that make your prospective guests want to visit you? What photos have your competitors uploaded? Web users are often visually engaged so you want to provide them with high-quality photos highlighting features that make your business stand out from the competition.

A restaurant should have photos of top dishes and hotels should have photos of rooms and atmosphere that accurately reflect the accommodations. Google has made quality photos a necessity with the introduction of the Google+ Carousel photo feature. This will pit your photos against competitors in a side-by-side fashion, making it even more important that you outshine them. The review sites in particular offer plenty of opportunity to show off what makes you the best choice, and almost 70 percent of people use these sites as the first stop in their research.

If you plan to woo potential travelers with deals and specials, your staff should be properly trained and informed of what you’re offering. A situation can quickly turn from positive to negative by not allowing a customer the ability to easily redeem an offer that encouraged them to choose your business. This could even result in an online complaint or poor review, which leaves you having to deal with damage control.

Excite your current fan base


Now is the moment to share photos on Facebook and Twitter, reminding people why they should visit your establishment. Not only can this create excitement among your fans, it shows new visitors to your pages just how excited people get about what you offer.

Since we’re thinking about seasonal travel, try to post any photos you have from previous summer seasons. Get potential customers enthused about the atmosphere you have during this delightful time of year, and show them what kind of activities await them. On that note, if you have something special planned, use social media to reward your fans with insider information or sneak peeks. Everyone loves a behind-the-scenes look, as well as a reason to remain engaged with your page. This also gives them incentive to share your page or your updates in order to get their friends “in the know.”

Generating positive word of mouth is a goal for every business. One great way to quickly spread word of mouth on social media is to pose questions to your fans and followers. People love to discuss and share their personal experiences — all you have to do is ask them, as in the below example:

Want to simultaneously drive more traffic to your review page while showing off the great things people say about you? Share a positive review on your social media pages. This provides you with an opportunity to thank the reviewer publicly, link to your review page and encourages others to stop by themselves. A word to the wise: When considering tactics to encourage customers to leave reviews, follow each review site’s terms of service. Violating these terms could cause you unnecessary grief in the long run so it’s best to stay within the guidelines. Simply directing people to your page can pick up a few more rave reviews, which is exactly what you should be looking for.

Seek out opportunities to start conversations

People love to talk about the plans they’re making. This offers you the unique opportunity to start conversations with them online. Just make sure that’s what you’re starting – conversations, not sales pitches.

It’s important to understand the conversational nature of social media platforms, especially Twitter. The last thing you want is to be marked as spam so you need to approach each situation as you would if you were speaking with someone in person. Ask questions and be genuinely interested in their input. Then, if and when it feels appropriate, you can offer your product or service.

Use of a local hashtag can make you look locally savvy, as well as social media savvy. Though, it’s important to do your research. In bigger cities, many neighborhoods have their own hashtags, which can help people better know where to find you.

For example, if you’re in San Francisco, #SF is preferable to #SanFran or #SanFrancisco. To localize it, you can use hashtags like #FishermansWharf or #MissionSF, not simply #Mission, which isn’t local. In New York City, #NYC is acceptable, but you can really narrow it down with #UWS (Upper West Side) or #WestVillage. Take the time to do a little research though, because it’s worth it!

Maintaining an effective social media presence and starting friendly conversations online can be a bit overwhelming to manage, but will really pay off when done right. Your fans will know they’re appreciated and prospective visitors will know you’re interested in providing them with a great experience. If you’re struggling to keep up with your social media presence, Main Street Hub does all of this for you and more. That way, you can focus on what you do best – taking exceptional care of your customers and guests.

Top 10 Twitter Tips for Small Businesses

| May 13, 2014 | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments »

by

Few tools are as powerful at connecting with people in real-time than Twitter. There are still numerous small and local businesses that have yet to take advantage of this tool, and many of them cite a lack of understanding of the platform as their reason for not doing so. To help overcome this, we’ve put together a list of ten tips to help you get the most out of using this platform to connect with current and potential customers.

1. Make your profile attractive


Twitter’s new profile design is a great opportunity for you to show off what makes your small business unique. Pick high quality photos for your cover (or banner) photo. The image should be 1500 x 500 pixels. Use a high quality logo for your profile image to help identify your business.

2. Create a recognizable handle


Make it easy for people to find you on Twitter by making sure your handle (or username) is as close to your business name as you can. You also want your handle to be as short as possible, so you may have to get creative, but be sure not to venture too far from something people will recognize.

3. Use hashtags and images


Formerly known as the pound symbol (#), hashtags are used to ‘tag’ important words to help people follow certain subjects (like #socialmedia). Studies have shown that using one or two hashtags in a tweet can increase the interaction with that tweet by 21%. Keep the hashtags relevant to the topic of your tweet to avoid being labeled a hashtag spammer. Adding an image is also shown to double interaction, so occasionally add an image in to spice up your content.

4. Follow people of actual interest


Sure, following celebrity accounts can be fun, but you’ll get the most value (and best content to share with your followers) if you follow people and businesses that are relevant to your industry. Aligning yourself with these industry leaders lends to your own credibility, and can turn your account into a go-to source for followers to get the latest and most important info.

5. Create Twitter lists


Once you’ve started following a decent number of other accounts, your feed can become a bit daunting. Organize those you follow into relevant lists to help focus your attention. For example, if you’re an auto repair shop, you could create lists around specific automotive brands, foreign vs domestic, locally competitive auto shops, etc. This will reduce the noise and help you focus on the important info you want.

6. Search for nearby people and start conversations (not sales pitches)


You can use Twitter’s advanced search to find people tweeting nearby. Use this opportunity to start conversations with them, and eventually invite them to visit your business. This type of technology is built into our proprietary HubTargeter technology, using a combination of proven keywords and location-based search to find the perfect potential customers for local businesses.

7. Thank people for retweets and mentions


When someone retweets (or shares) your tweets, they are endorsing it to all of their followers. When they mention your business’s handle in one of their tweets, they are putting your name in front of everyone. Isn’t that something you should let them know you appreciate? Not only that, doing so can spark a deeper conversation, and it shows others that you appreciate your fans.

8. Space out timing of posts so you don’t flood followers’ newsfeeds


Twitter works in real-time. One of the top reasons people unfollow businesses is that they tweet too much, especially when it’s all in one big block of tweets. Spreading your tweets out throughout the day not only makes sure you don’t overload your followers with a barrage of tweets, it can increases visibility to different audiences that may be on at different times of the day.

9. Participate in trending topics when appropriate


A lot of conversation on Twitter is around what’s happening right now. Popular topics begin ‘Trending’ and will show up in a box to the left of your screen (or with a swipe right on mobile). Jumping on these trends can be a great way to join in a conversation, but don’t do it just for the sake of doing it. For example, during the NFL Draft, it’s completely appropriate for a sports bar or sports supply store to jump in on the topic to tie it back to their business. Being a “me too” business jumping on a hashtag for no good reason can be seen as spammy and can annoy followers.

10. Keep it concise


One of the most unique aspects of Twitter is its 140-character limit. Because of this, people expect your tweets to be short, snappy, and to the point. Studies have found that tweets containing links should be between 120-130 (100-120 of text) characters to perform the best, so aim for that sweet spot. Don’t worry, Twitter keeps track of it as you type to let you know how many characters you have left.

There you go! This gives you an introduction to some aspects of Twitter and how to approach them. If you have any questions, feel free to put them in the comments section below.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a professional writer and professional profile designer at your fingertips? You can! Find out how we can help you find success connecting with your local community on Twitter (and more) by clicking below.

Designing a Workspace That Reflects Your Company Culture

| May 7, 2014 | | Leave a comment »

Guest post by Tony Ciampa, Product Analyst

Our company’s headquarters is located in the heart of Austin, TX. With plans to add 300 more people in 2014, we’re the city’s fastest growing startup. One key to thriving in such a creative industry is fostering an environment where creativity, collaboration and communication reign supreme. From our open office layout, to the floor to ceiling windows that burst with natural light, to the ping-pong table where employees swap ideas, Main Street Hub’s top-level workspace in the Perry Brooks Building was designed to further grow a culture that reflects company values.

I sat own with our Co-CEO Andrew Allison to discuss Main Street Hub’s unique approach to workplace design and how that helps the company attract talented people who focus on customer success.

How did you design this workspace to be functional to your needs?

AA: We involved the team at every step in the process. First, we spent time with our architects in our former office, so they could understand our culture and see how each team works. We then invited comment from our colleagues on the look and feel of the options the architects presented to us. And finally, we asked leaders throughout the organization to weigh in as we finalized the layout. Through considering multiple viewpoints, we created a space that is responsive to how we work.

In what ways do you feel your workspace has impacted company culture?

AA: We wanted the space to amplify the culture and values of the company, particularly our focus on transparency, speaking up, and feedback. With everyone sitting on an open floor, not having any private offices, the company is able to make sure that our culture remains strong as we grow.

When showing a visitor around your space, what do you show them first?

AA: The people. At Netflix, they say that what defines a great workplace is “stunning colleagues.” We could first show off our view, our ping-pong table, our kegerators, or our pantry, but the highlight of the space is the outstanding group of people who work there. And when a visitor sees our team — particularly the energy, passion, and camaraderie — they can better understand what Main Street Hub is all about.

What factors do you prioritize when searching for office space?

AA: We want to understand if a potential new office will help us better serve our customers. Will it enable each team to work swiftly, effectively, and collaboratively? Great. Will it help us to attract and retain outstanding individuals? Excellent. But an expensive building, or a marquee address, does not do anything for our customers, so we look for every opportunity to be frugal. Every extra dollar we would pay for extravagances would be a dollar that we wouldn’t be investing in our customers.

Three of our community managers collaborating and sharing ideas.

Three of our community managers collaborating and sharing ideas.

As the company continues to grow, how do you envision the workspace will grow with it?

AA: We’re growing fast, and our workspace helps us do that, with its openness facilitating the introduction of new employees to their colleagues. But aside from simply growing our workspace in size along with our company, we will need to make sure that it remains flexible to the cultural and operational needs of the team. Existing needs will change, and new ones will arise. Through observation, feedback, and constant communication with the team, we’ll make sure that our workspace continues to be an asset to the culture and the mission of the company.

Does this sound like a company culture you’d like to be a part of? We’re adding new people to our teams in Austin, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York! Check out our Careers Page to find out what opportunities await you in the #hublife.

Social Media Spring Cleaning Tips

| April 28, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment »

by

Spring has finally sprung all across the country. What better time to freshen up your social media pages? Not sure where to begin? Check out these three actionable items to get you started, and some valuable links to help you make quick work of your social media spring cleaning!

Pull the weeds

One of the most important things you can do for your online presence is take some time to search for duplicate, user-created pages of your business. People can create pages on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Foursquare, even if that person is not an official representative of the company. Doing a seasonal check on your business’s name (including common misspellings) can help you find and consolidate these pages to maximize control of your online presence and keep your audience going to where you provide the message.

Each platform offers a way to report duplicate pages:
Facebook has a “Report” button under the cover photo that looks like this.

Yelp allows you to identify a duplicate page through their Contact Us page, in the drop down menu, like below.

You can report Foursquare duplicate pages via mobile device, or by clicking “Suggest an edit” on a listing, then choosing the “Problem with this place” tab, and clicking “A duplicate.”

On Twitter, their support page offers many forms for reporting account issues, including “Impersonation” of a company or brand name.

Put on a fresh face

A new season is a great time to spruce up your online look. Updating your profile photos and cover photos can reinvigorate your social pages. Not only that, updating your cover photo on Facebook will tell your fans that you’ve done so, sparking conversation and spreading word of mouth. Use your cover photo to highlight your products or services, especially if you’re changing anything up for the season.

Check out the reaction to this cover photo update: 70 Likes and 22 comments!

Check out the reaction to this cover photo update: 70 Likes and 22 comments!

Spread your roots

Take a little time to connect with new people and businesses on social platforms. One of the great things about being a local business is that you already have a strong, established community. Connect with other businesses around town (perhaps a few of your own favorites) and start conversations with them as your own page. To do this: when viewing your Facebook page, click “Edit Page” and choose “Use Facebook as page.” You can then start browsing Facebook as your business, commenting on other pages, and connecting with new people. This helps spread visibility too, and can get you some new fans if they like what you’re saying on other pages they visit. They may not have even realized your business was online!

Try following some new Twitter accounts, and make sure you’re starting conversations there, too. The best experience on Twitter comes from the vibrant, real-time conversation that’s happening there. Check what’s trending (in the Trends box on the left of your Twitter page) and jump in on any conversations that are relevant to your business. You can also use Twitter’s search to find people who need your product and service right now, and start conversations with them, turning them into new customers.

Whether you implement some or all of these suggestions, make sure you take the time to spruce things up online. Your fans will appreciate it, and so may your bottom line.

Have something to add? Did you find and report any duplicate pages in your search? Share below in the comments section!

2014 Will Be a Great Year for Small Businesses

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

by

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 »

by

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!

For a Free Assessment
Call: 888.900.0920