Social media – two words that can strike terror into the hearts of some small business owners. If you have been in business for more than a decade, you probably grew your business in much different ways prior to the advent of social media. Your listing in the Yellow Pages phone book and maybe an ad to go with it if you had the funds. That was a minimum, and often enough to get you going. It had the added advantage of only needing attention once per year or so. If you were ambitious and something of an over-achiever, you might have engaged in direct marketing with flyers, mailers, or autofax campaigns.
Those efforts aren’t gone forever, but they are definitely on the decline. Social media and local SEO (search engine optimization) is on the rise and is likely to hold court for some time to come. The way social media and SEO work together is something that definitely needs attention, and deservedly so as you can exponentially grow your business from their results. If you have social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter, they will almost always show up on the first page of Google searches for your company name.
The more content you have that is fresh and informative with interesting tips and external links, the higher your website will rise in the rankings of Google searches as well. Google has recently done some modifications to their search algorithms that look less for clever keyword groupings and more for smarter high-quality content. This makes it incumbent on the small business owner to make sure they make modifications as well to stay current.
Don’t create a website then let it sit and think it will bring you business. You have to put in some time and effort – update your information, add informative content that adds value for your potential customers, write blogs with attached comment forums that generate conversations and spark sharing. Don’t forget to add excellent images and photos – the more shareable the better. These bits that get picked up for sharing on social media channels like Facebook and Pinterest can drive traffic to your sight quickly, and will help you rise in the SEO rankings as well.
And speaking of local SEO, it’s important to note that research shows potential customers rarely make it past the first page of search results. Since it takes more than lots of clever keywords sprinkled throughout your website content to get the rise in rankings that make it to the first page or results now, you’ll have to get creative. Check out Google Places for Business which operates somewhat like an online phone book but is much more than that. The listings for Google Places give an Internet user access to your company’s website, some content, photos and more unique information that can help them make an instant decision that your site is the one for them.
You also get automatically added to Google Maps which shows users a local map with a ping for your business that they can relate to more easily. All in all, utilizing local SEO and social media is here to stay, and your best bet for future growth – you just have to have a plan.