Not too long ago, getting found online meant getting found in Google. Today, Google is no longer the only place for local searches. Social networks, review sites, and mobile phones have changed how consumers search and shop for local businesses. Today, it’s necessary for your business to have a strong presence on social and review sites, so consumers can also find you there and get in touch with you. This post goes over six of the most important social and review sites for your business as well as tips on optimizing your profiles to get found more easily and reach more customers.
Related: Business Listings eBook (free download)
6 Most Important Social and Review Sites for Small Business
Google My Business
Consumers are using Google on their desktops and phones to find local businesses. As you know, Google data shows up in many places! Your business can be found in a typical web search or on Google maps. A complete Google My Business listing with your street address places your business precisely on a map and shows it to users for location-based searches. Also, the reviews for your business on Google help you win credibility and are visible whenever your business is shown. Did you know your Google reviews also show up on maps for Android devices?
For more information on your Google listing, check out the following posts:
- Why You Need a Google Listing
- How to Get on Google Maps
- How to Rank Higher on Google Maps
- How to Optimize Your Google Business Listing
Yelp is a major consumer site where customers go to search and research businesses like yours. Yelp is built on customer reviews which serve as a valuable research tool for consumers. These reviews not only show in Yelp itself, but are also widely distributed. For example, Yelp reviews are shown on Apple Maps to mobile users on their iPhones. These reviews are crucial in establishing credibility for your business. Did you know that Siri and Alexa also rely on Yelp information when looking up and suggesting local businesses?
Yelp gives small businesses the ability to personalize their Yelp listing and offers useful features and tools, making it easy to communicate with customers and advertise your business.
For more tips on your Yelp listing, head to these blog posts:
- How to Get More Customers from Yelp
- How to Use Yelp for Your Small Business
- 3 Steps to Get More Business than You Can Handle from Yelp
Facebook provides the perfect platform for customers to connect and interact with you. When you respond and interact with customers on Facebook, you’re working to build customer confidence and rapport. In fact, a recent social media update indicates that 79% of Internet users in America use Facebook (Source: Statista). That means your customers and prospective customers are likely using Facebook!
Customers may come across your business by seeing their friends check in or attending your events. They’ll form their opinion by the size of your Facebook audience, number of check-ins, and also your posts. Plus, you can be sure that they’ll check the reviews! Facebook is a very popular place for customers to leave reviews, as it’s a social network where consumers are actively engaged.
For more information on Facebook marketing and reviews, visit the following:
- Checklist for an Effective Facebook Business Page
- How to Get Your Facebook Business Page Noticed
- How to Add a Location to Facebook
- Free eBook: Examples of Facebook Marketing
- Free eBook: Facebook Marketing for Business Owners
Instagram is the visual social network where experiences are shared with photos. In fact, 32% of Internet users are now actively using Instagram (Source: Brandwatch). Instagram isn’t exactly a review site or directory, but it is used by consumers to find products and services near them and in line with their interests. Plus, engagement on Instagram is higher than on Facebook(Source: Forbes). This means a greater potential for viral marketing!
Plus, consumers love sharing their positive experiences through photos—the food they order, their favorite local shops, etc. When customers tag your business or location in their posts, they are marketing for you!
Skedaddle on over to these blog posts to get more tips on your Instagram profile:
- How to Set Up a Successful Instagram Business Profile
- 7 Best Practices for True Instagram Marketing Success
- How to Add a Location to Instagram
- Free eBook: Instagram Marketing for Business Owners
Twitter could very well be the most overlooked social network for small businesses. Twitter can be a powerful platform to promote specials and events, especially since posts are shown to all followers. If you need to get a time-sensitive message out to your audience, Twitter is the right platform. Having a presence on Twitter can also help you get found on Google, especially if your profile is optimized for local searches. Plus, Google started indexing tweets it considers valuable.
The customer support features offered by Twitter can be also used by small businesses as another means for connecting with customers in real time.
Here are some helpful posts for optimizing your Twitter marketing:
Foursquare distributes its business data to thousands of app developers and Apple! Foursquare’s Places technology powers location data for Apple, Uber, Twitter, Microsoft, Samsung, and 100,000 other developers. When your business is listed on Foursquare, it’s also automatically included in thousands of local apps and services.
Social and Review Site Best Practices
Know Your Target Audience
The most important consumer sites for local businesses are Google, Facebook, and Yelp. That’s where consumers spend the most time and can find important reviews to help make their decisions. The rest of the social and local review platforms your business uses will depend on your target audience and marketing strategies. If you cater to a younger audience, you should maintain a presence on Instagram. If your marketing strategy involves a lot of real-time engagement, consider getting active on Twitter.
Claim and Manage Your Listings
For many review sites, consumers can create a listing for you, but this does not grant you control over it. You need to claim your listings on Yelp, Google, and Foursquare in order to update and control the information shown about your business.
Keep an Eye on Consistency
Be sure that your basic business info— your name, address, phone number, website—is consistent. Not only will this build trust with potential customers, but it also helps with your Google ranking. The more consistent your information is across the web, the more Google will trust your business and the higher it will rank it.
Optimize for Search and Filters
For each listing or profile you have on social and review sites, make use of categories (for some sites you add multiple) and attributes (payment methods, parking information,e etc.) that help get your business included in searches and filters.
It is more important than ever to have a robust online presence—on search engines, social media sites, and business directories. Start with the six platforms above and work on optimizing them for quality and consistency, and then grow your presence from there.
For more tips and information on business listings and directories, download our free eBook below: