If you stop to think about all of the posts, tweets, mentions, like, adds, +1s, uploads, shares, hashtags, and bamboozles an average person online these days makes in a lifetime, your head will spin.
How did Twitter get me to read the news on a daily basis while a traditional newspaper could not? Because Twitter is my own personal newspaper. I told Twitter what my interests were by following the people/business I was interested in. Every day I read my news, my sports teams, my weather, my celebrity gossip and my industry news. I control exactly what information I want fed to me, it is delivered to my electronic devise and I can read it at any time that is convenient for me. I fell in love.
Timing isnt everything but its a lot of things. When I took the leap from “interruptive marketing” to On Line Social Media Marketing, Rob Rance, Managing Partner of Turn the Page On Line Marketing told me that I would probably never feel comfortable with my level of knowledge as the field of SEO is constantly changing. I can tell you that he is 100% right. In the last month, search with Google Places and Local Search is changing and heating up. This can be good and bad news for business owners. First, let’s talk about the most recent changes to The King of the Jungle in search, Google – with 58% of the visits to local business websites. Most professional SEO people are looking and talking about these changes from the on-line users perspective. Here at Turn the Page, our orientation is to you- the business owner.
The Local Google Search page is changing (the layout is more organized and clean: information and photos have been rearranged ) and reflecting humanoids ever expanding desire for more information to use to evaluate, compare and judge before making in store purchasing decisions. This is good for you because your business will now be viewed by searchers using the feature Pegman (with a street view guide much like Google earth) of the neighborhood your business sits in, the facade of your establishment and the view inside your establishment as well (in some but not all locations in the U.S.) This might be bad for you if the food you serve or the offerings you have- rock in a really big way, but visually, you’re not as pleased with your physical space or it is not reflective of what searchers expect from an establishment similar to yours.
An example of a not-so-appealing restaurant. Or is it? You be the judge cause’ Local Google searchers are now!
The extraordinary copy you write in your description won’t solve that possible visual dilemma and I would guess that garnering additional awesome reviews will be even more important to attracting new customers and keeping your spot on the search list (you do have a spot on the list- right?) This is good for your business because a recent poll indicated that people are 60% more likely to patronize a local business when there were photos associated with the SERP; search engine results page. This is bad news if you do not have your business listed with Google places. Yet.
In some U.S. areas like Orange County, San Francisco, St. Petersburg, San Antonio and Phoenix (did anyone else besides me realize these are warmer destination cities in the U.S. ?) you can apply to have a Google Photographer come to your place of business and take the pictures for you! For now , as it may snow 2” tonight, Kansas City is not on that list.
I want it now!
Not only do our customers want more, they are getting it instantly. A Local Google search query (of my local Italian restaurants for example) will give me a list of results and those results can be evaluated, compared and judged by me using the instant preview feature. This feature is accessible to searchers by the >> symbol as you slide your mouse down the list next to each search result. According to my research above, if your business does not show up in search ranking A-G you don’t get an instant preview and the >> is therefore unattainable and un-instant use-able. Do not pass GO! Do not collect $200! At the top of the map you can also choose the ‘Directions’ tab which takes you right to Google Maps where you can email it to yourself and get it on your android phone. Decide and go. Cha Ching. Your customers can now make a decision to go to your restaurant, hotel, local business or landmark, (to spend their $) and will not have to go to your website to get the information they need to make a better, informed decision. Your customers will now have the new and improved Local Google Search engine.
I know. Good news- bad news- right?
Have you seen on Facebook, where a person’s name or business is highlighted or “tagged.” How users are doing this is when you are making status or making a comment you can put the @and than the person’s name or business. An example is shown below
One of the great ways for you to apply this to your business is by refering people you are doing business with. If you are a realtor and you use a certain company as a mortgage broker you could send a thank you with the company named tagged in it so that other people can see what a great job they did as well as click the link to their Facebook page. To be able to tag a person you do have to be friends with them and to tag a business you do have to like their business page.
Liking the businesses that you trust and would refer is great free advertisement. When KC had our recent hail storm many people tagged their favorite roofer in a status, if anyone was in need of that service all they had to do was click the link in the status which would take them directly to their Facebook page. I would encourage everyone to Like as many businesses as they can to get free products, information and deals. But also it’s a great tool to help share businesses with friends and family.
On Twitter; everyone has something to say. And you, as a business owner, you REALLY have a lot to tell the world. How are you getting your message out? How are you communicating with your clients and customers? Are you even…..tweeting???My favorite tool (that probably doesn’t get used enough anymore) is the dictionary. My weapon of choice is Merriam-Webster, m-w.com because who carries the book nowadays? The definition for ‘twitter’ is :: a light chattering. As a business owner, you need to know that ‘twitter’ is anything but light chatter these days.
With more than 100,000,000 active Twitter users who ‘Tweet’ more than 230,000,000 times a day, that’s a whole lot of chatter going on and your business should be right in the middle. There are some tricks to learn and it takes time to gather followers but if you start now, and keep it going, the more people are going to listen and hear what you have to say and what your business has to offer. That’s what you want after all, isn’t it?
I admit, I am new to Twitter myself. I am an avid Facebook user and have been for years now but I definitely was putting all my eggs in one basket. The plethora of information on Twitter is mind-boggling and the plus side I see so far? Much less ‘old acquaintance / FB friend’ traffic and their drama in my news feed. On Twitter, I get the information I am looking from businesses and people that I follow, without what they ate for breakfast.
Here are the terms that a newbie like me, and probably you, too, need to know to speak the Twitter language:
Your words/links/photos in a 140 character message body for your followers to read
Below a tweet posted by another user, this option allows you to post the same tweet to your followers. Incredibly handy if you see something you like and want to pass it on!
When you have an account, use the @ symbol before another user’s name to mention and link them in your feed
By affixing the symbol # to specific keywords in your Tweet, you are able to categorize subjects. If you are Tweeting about a new product or current event in your industry, use the # before keywords such as #googlemusic or #flu to join millions of others on that specific topic
Twitter can do so much for your business when utilized effectively and often. Post pictures of your location, staff and products so followers can gain a better knowledge of who you are and what you do. Use your Tweets as a way to advertise specials or deals to your followers. Retweet the important articles that interest you and share them; someone following your industry would love to see what you’re reading and vise versa. They might have something interesting you never thought about and by retweeting something from your followers, you’re showing them you are listening. Engage you followers and they will engage back by coming to you the next time they need your product or service!
Don’t have time to sit at the computer and Tweet all day? No more excuses now….Twitter is available on your mobile so get your account up and going and join the worldwide conversation about the topics you have something to say about!
If there has ever been a “jackpot” when it comes to marketing your business and gaining exposure, it’s social media. With the BOOM of popularity surrounding Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and now Google+, there’s a prime opportunity to connect with current and potential customers.