by Erin Myers
So, you own a business. The question is, how to grow it? Today, there are more ways than ever for customers to engage with your business, and traditional marketing is only part of the equation — increasingly, harnessing the power of social media and data is crucial to your growth strategy.
That’s why we’re teaming up with Square to present a webinar that shows you how to lay the groundwork for success.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
As an example, check out how this business owner used online marketing to spread word of mouth about her gourmet taco shop.
Ready to learn how you can put these same things into action for your business? Tune in to this free recording of our recent webinar with Square:
Remember yearbook photos and how important it was to make sure your hair was just right before the flash of the camera? That photo represented you, for that whole school year, and you couldn’t change it. No editing, filtering, or cropping allowed.
So, if your business were to have a yearbook photo, what are the most important aspects of your business that your customers expect to see?
Those are the things that you want to keep consistent, across all of your social media platforms. For example, don’t risk potential customers feeling confused because you didn’t coordinate your cover photo on Facebook and Twitter.
A good thing to keep in mind when trying to make your profiles visually consistent across the board: Use clear and relevant pictures.
If your restaurant is known for its pizza, post pictures of those pizzas. If you’re a hair salon, why do you have a picture of flowers as your cover photo? Instead, change it to one of your customer’s new hair dos.
People have certain expectations about what they will see when they visit your pages, and you want to impress them. Don’t confuse customers or give them a reason to think that they found the wrong business or that you don’t take what you do seriously.
Unlike year book photos, you can edit your photos for your social media profiles. Changing profile pictures and cover photos and creating photos for Twitter and Facebook are great ways to keep your audience engaged. Just make sure to use relevant photos and highlight your expertise.
Help them remember who you are and what you do. Find the right approach for your business, then have fun experimenting with your image; just make sure you keep it consistent!
by Erin Myers
For every new customer who steps into your business, a unique journey has led him or her to that point. If you could rewind to gain some insight on what path they took to find your local business, then you would know exactly what you’re doing right.
The great news is, with the right tools and expertise, you have an opportunity to do just that! Today, there are more ways than ever for customers to find your business. You can follow the interactions that your customers have with your business online to better understand their wants and needs.
For example, it’s possible to connect with people nearby who are talking about things that are relevant to your business. You can see how this burger joint started a conversation with Jimmy who was tweeting about his recent #GreatBeer discovery to do just that.
In addition to starting conversations on Twitter, you can set up merchant pages with Groupon to help new customers discover your business by setting up deals and gathering the positive word of mouth and tips being shared about your business in one place.
In our recent webinar with Groupon we discussed how you can leverage these online tools to fill your marketing funnel. Our goal is to help you develop a strategy that works for your business, regardless of what industry you work in. So, if you’re interested in learning more, be sure to check this free recording of the topics we covered:
by Erin Myers
A customer who reaches out online is no different from a customer who approaches you in your shop. Listen, respond, and be conversational. Today, people can interact with your brand from wherever they may be — and they do! The example that follows is, dare we say, “fan-freakin-tastic” proof.
To preface, Yelper, Mike M. stopped by The Babalu and wrote a five-star review about his meal. Read on for a sweet shout out from Mike that is a testament to the power of cross promoting your pages and engaging with customers on the platforms they use most often.
And there you have it. Mike said himself that posts like this
had his mouth watering and led him to the glorious discovery that is The Babalu’s Godfather Burger. Need we say more? Nah. We’ll let the pictures do the talking!
By: Sarah Boutwell
Social media is heavy on the visuals. Even the text you type out on your screen is a visual that can trigger emotions in a customer. It’s called Visual Brand Language.
Let’s say you own a dive bar, and everyone who works there is friendly and laid back. You might be a bit more casual when talking to potential customers online. If you’re a dentist, you wouldn’t be so casual when talking to a potential customer about the condition of their teeth. A more professional tone would benefit your business.
A key point to keep in mind: The language you use depends on who your audience is. Likewise, the content you put on your Facebook business page or Twitter account will express the personality of your business.
Here are a few examples:
IF I TYPED A MESSAGE TO YOU LIKE THIS, would you feel SHOCKED or IRRITATED?
If I told you. . . the way you use punctuation. . .can change the way someone absorbs your sentence online. . . Would. You. Get. Really. Excited!!!!!???!!!!!
and if u read sum txt like this how srsly wuld u take it? b hnst.
How do you know if you’re using the right voice for your audience? If it suits how you believe your business makes your customers feel, then it’s probably the right tone.
To see this in action, let’s take a look at some examples of text only posts from three very different industries: dental, pet, and pizza restaurant.
These business owners have carefully considered everything down to the style of their business name and how it displays when they post.
So, ask yourself: How would I greet a regular who walks into my shop? When a new customer stops by for the first time, what kind of feeling do they get? What kind of music is playing in the background? All of these things should be reflected in the voice you use on your website, reviews, and social media pages.
by Erin Myers
–Gary & Chris Schaller
The Car Doctor, Mountain View, CA
Back in 2009, brothers Gary and Chris Schaller wanted to show the automotive industry something different. The company started with no customers, and one goal — to give car owners the value that they deserved; education, hands on understanding and preventive maintenance. Within a year of starting The Car Doctor, The Mountain View Voice awarded Gary and Chris Runner Up in the Best New Business Category. Realizing that their approach was resonating with customers, Gary and Chris knew that the logical next step was to explore ways to get the word out. That’s where Main Street Hub entered the picture.
The Car Doctor began its partnership with Main Street Hub in March 2010. Immediately our team began working with Gary and Chris to learn more about their business goals and values. The next step was to make the most of The Car Doctor’s good reputation by connecting with its happy customers to spread the word.
In addition to setting up their Facebook Business page and creating engaging messages for their customers to interact with, Main Street Hub worked with Gary and Chris to craft responses to every review left on their Yelp and Google+ Local page to continue building lasting relationships with loyal customers. In order to reach as broad of an audience as possible, Main Street Hub also optimized The Car Doctor’s Twitter page and posted engaging content regularly to promote interaction.
Nearly 5 years later, The Car Doctor’s Facebook Page has gone from having a network reach of zero people to nearly 40,000. They also have a perfect 5-star Rating on Yelp with over 150 reviews, each having received a thoughtful and personal response, thanking them for their feedback.
Most importantly, current and potential customers are now interacting with The Car Doctor several times a week, instead of only a couple of times a year. This engagement keeps The Car Doctor top of mind and has made a significant impact on the bottom line. In fact, Gary and Chris attribute a 20-30% increase in revenue to the work Main Street Hub is doing.
Creating an online presence also distinguishes The Car Doctor from its surrounding competitors who do not manage their social media. A tweet from a (now loyal) customer pretty much sums it up:
As a result of their explosive growth, The Car Doctor has been able to expand. Originally starting with just 1,200 square feet, Gary and Chris have recently moved into a facility over 5x that size. With this growth will come increased investment in various marketing vehicles. As The Car Doctor adds radio and television to their marketing mix, Main Street Hub will be there right along with them to help integrate online marketing and maximize the return on all of their other marketing spend.
by Erin Myers
For a local business owner, there’s nothing like waking up to see this notification on your Yelp page:
Do a happy dance and ask yourself, “What am I doing right?” Apparently, a number of things. Way to go!
The next thing you’ll probably wonder is, “Are there things I could be doing to get more positive reviews?” There are! To name a few, cross promote your pages, actively request and listen to feedback, and respond genuinely to everyone who takes the time to leave a review for your business.
Even if you’re doing all of those things consistently, the truth is, there’s no formula to get those coveted 5-star reviews on your Yelp business page. In fact, when a happy customer decides to leave a glowing review, it’s probably a number of things prompting that person to do so. So, are you losing sleep wondering what would have made that 4-star review a 5? Sometimes, you just have to ask.
When a Yelper’s star rating doesn’t reflect their praises, it never hurts to ask for more details. It gives that person a chance to consider what prompted them to leave that rating and often, the results are pretty sweet. Want to learn more about how our team at Main Street Hub can do this for you?
by Erin Myers
Social media and review sites have a huge impact on every industry, and travel is no exception. We ask friends on Facebook for suggestions on what to see in a new city, search Trip Advisor to determine the best place to stay, tweet updates and check in at landmarks along the way, and share photos to capture our adventures on various social media networks. The technology embracing traveler leaves a digital trail of all that they do, including their opinions of the places they go. So, aside from the obvious reasons, why is it important for a business owner to engage on the most popular social media and review sites? Here are five compelling statistics that help answer that question:
From research to booking to checkout, the experience a guest has with your hotel is complex, with multiple touch points and opportunities delight your guests. As a hotel owner, how can you appeal to both the millennial traveler looking for a unique experience as well as the baby boomer looking for a great deal? Once your guests are on property, how do you customize the guest experience to please your diverse guests?
We recently got together with marketing experts at Revinate, a SaaS company focused on hospitality and restaurants, to discuss industry trends and innovative yet simple solutions for driving revenue through guest engagement. In case you missed our webinar, here’s a recording for your listening pleasure: How to Deliver the Perfect Guest Experience.
Did you find this webinar to be useful or have additional questions? We’d love to hear your feedback and start a conversation in the comments below.
by Erin Myers
Our post-Thanksgiving food comas may be in the rearview mirror, but the holiday shopping season has only just begun! Small businesses across the country felt love from the 88 million consumers who shopped small over the weekend. This year, more than two-thirds of Americans were aware of the occasion and according to the National Federation of Independent Business, a reported $14.3 billion was spent with independent retailers and restaurants on that day.
The weeks leading up to Christmas and through the New Year are prime time for retail, restaurant and travel industries. Does your business have a game plan to reach more customers this year? We’d love to hear what’s working for you. Haven’t thought much about it yet? Don’t fret. We’ve put together some simple yet effective tips to work into your holiday social media strategy.
Double check that your business information on social pages is up to date and accurate for holiday shoppers. While you’re updating your pages, spend some time getting in the holiday spirit by updating your profile photos and/or cover photos with a festive look. Your Facebook cover photo can even highlight some of your best products and help give shoppers ideas:
You can search key phrases that are relevant to your business and start light hearted conversations with holiday shoppers. Make it fun! Don’t just talk about your business. Ask fans about their favorite holiday songs, music, or treats and share yours, too. When it seems natural to do so, loop the conversation back to your business. Invite the person in or mention a product you offer.
An active page is an interesting page. Posting varied content a few times per week will make you stand out to potential customers. Did you decorate? Help your fans and followers get in the holiday spirit by showing them how your business is celebrating the season.
Cross promote your social pages by doing something as simple as including a link to ‘Like’ your Facebook page in any emails or private review responses that you write. Remember, it’s okay to be as straightforward as creating a post on your Facebook page that directs customers to your Twitter or Instagram handle, like so:
Another way to cross promote your pages and encourage your fans to leave reviews, is by taking a moment to share a simple thanks for a positive review that someone has left for your business. Not only will your customers appreciate the recognition, but you will also open a door that fosters positive conversation and directs traffic to your reviews pages. It could look something like this:
by Erin Myers
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!