Is your Local Business Getting the Most Out of Social Media?
Guest blog written by: Dean Richard of Compass SEO
We are excited to share with you the following blog post that was written by Dean Richard, Owner & Founder of Compass SEO. You can view more of Dean’s work on his site here and on twitter – @deanfortythree
It seems somewhat contradictory on the surface to say your local business should be marketing on the world wide web. But why should you use social media to promote your small business, and how can you get the most out of those avenues?
If you’ve been to the multimedia page, you may have watched this video (if you haven’t, you should- it’s excellent). Make no mistake, social media is here to stay. I’d venture to say that if you’re reading this, you already use social media personally. So while it connects people all around the globe, why do you need it for you local business?
Actually, you need it because you are a local business. One of the great things about social media is that it works every bit as well- or even better- on a small scale as it does on a large one. Take, for example, the brand that everyone associates with our lovely city of Seattle- Starbucks. Their Twitter is approaching 900,000 followers- and their feed is littered with replies to customers. Your business probably does not have 900,000 people following it- so take advantage of that. Reply to everyone you possibly can. Interact with them, get to know them- that’s part of being a local business, right? Giving your customers that personal attention online will let them know they’ll get personal attention off-line.
The best part of using Twitter to promote your local business is you can be instantly referred. With a couple clicks, a satisfied customer can tell everyone they know about you. And when they do that, thank them for it on Twitter! A common response I hear a lot is “Isn’t the opposite true? Can’t someone say how much they hated it just as easily?” The answer is yes- and that’s a good thing! How so? Let’s pretend you see this tweet:
“Had a horrible time @yourlocalbusiness.”
Ouch. Pretty damaging, right? Wrong. Reply with this:
“@unsatisfiedcustomer: sorry you had a lousy time. We’d like to make it up to you. Please come in for a free #whatever.”
And with that you have probably turned an unsatisfied customer into a satisfied- and possibly repeat- customer, who hopefully will give you feedback so you can improve. Oh, and the whole world saw you make it right. Not bad for a complaint, huh?
Another excellent avenue to explore is having a blog for your business. Twitter only allows you 140 characters- with a blog, you can talk as much as you like! What should you blog about, though? Trust me when I say this: you can blog about anything. You want to frequently connect it to your business, but your customers want to know you- so give it to them. Talk about your dog, your family, your hobbies- what makes you, you. And, as I said before, social media works better on a small scale, and that’s certainly true of your local business. Why do you live in Seattle? Why is your business in Seattle? Your fellow Seattleites will eat it up- it’s what we want and what we love.
In the video I referenced earlier (did you catch that youTube is social media too?), my favorite statistic is that 78% of people trust peer reccomendations, while only 14% trust advertising- and word of mouth is basically free. A well written, regularly updated blog goes a long way for that word of mouth. So pick a schedule, pick some topics and get writing (I write blogs about writing blogs- it’s a vicious cycle).
So if you haven’t already, fire up a twitter account and a blog for your business. Email links to them to everyone you know, local or not. Put up signs in your business and get it printed on cards. It’s the best marketing you can possibly do. If you ever get stuck, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @deanfortythree and I’ll be happy to help out.
Dean Richard is a SEO Specialist and blogger for Bellingham-based Compass SEO, which specializes in marketing. He has lived in Western Washington his whole life, and loves all things Seattle – Well, most, anyway.