When the Downtown South Boston organization asked if we could work on their existing web site to keep it updated, we didn’t even hesitate to say yes. Since we were new to the area, having such a vital organization for the area on board meant we could help grow the area in a really professional manner.
September is a big month for the small town of South Boston, VA. Downtown is the host of the annual South Boston Harvest Festival, a gathering of vendors, artists, musicians, dancers and local businesses sharing their talents and offerings with the community.
We have been hard at work updating the schedule and performers pages the last few weeks and the folks we work with there have been spectacular to work with!
What’s New with Social Media in the Past Few Months
We all know that keeping up with social media is a job, and the constant updates that may slip by unnoticed may well be something that could really help your small business.
Whether it’s a new way to publish content, publicize your wares, or network with your audience, social platforms change constantly, and many times for the better.
To help with this, here are some of the latest social media changes to come down the pike in the last couple of months, what they are, and how they can help your small business!
5 Of the Latest Social Media Updates that You Can Use in Your Small Business
Facebook Instant Articles – A great new change for those publishing and spreading information on mobile devices is the introduction of Facebook Instant Articles, which is a wildly interactive and innovative platform that allows users to zoom in, comment on, listen to audio and more directly on the page itself.
Twitter to expand Characters in Direct Messages – Twitter is listening and beginning in July 2015 they have pumped up the character limit on direct messages (not Tweets!) to 10,000 characters. I’m already imagining the possibilities!
More Social Results in Google Search – At least for mobile (desktop later) Google has begun displaying Tweets as social results in a web search. Simply search for your interest on the Google App and see what’s being talked about in real time on Twitter about your search subject.
Twitter’s New Search Results Page – More on Twitter, as they’ve introduced a new search results page, sporting a much cleaner and usable interface, combined with the ability to exhaustively filter the results and come up with exactly what interests you.
Better LinkedIn Reporting from Simply Measured – If you’ve been using the social analytics company Simply Measured you might have noticed a new report for LinkedIn publishers that offers a much deeper dive into their analytics. There is a ton of metrics to analyze, and also an updated cross channel social performance report feature that covers 8 of the most popular social networks, including LinkedIn.
Social media is in a constant state of change! Keeping up with some of the shifts will help keep your social efforts productive.
As a small business owner, you understand the importance of establishing an online presence. Without and well-built website and a presence on social media, your potential customers are driven to your competitors. But how can you be sure that you are reaching a local audience? That’s where Google My Business comes into play.
So What Is It?
Google My Business is a reinvented tool for small business owners. It has been an evolving product under several names for years, but I think it finally hit its mark with this “reincarnation”. All of Google’s tools are located in one, easy to use location. Even better, the service is free. This means that you now have a way to control your business in the virtual world at absolutely no cost to you. Here’s what you can do with Google My Business:
- Google + – Maintain your presence on social media site Google +. You can update your status, share messages, link to other sites, and post media all from your business page.
- Reviews – You can manage your page ranking and reviews from one main page.
- Maps – Take control of your business’s location and contact information as it appears to your customers on Google Maps.
- Hangouts – If you choose, you can hold video chats with colleagues or customers.
These are just a handful of the things that you can do with Google My Business. But more than what you can do, what is important is how it helps you.
What It Does For You
With Google My Business, you can respond to negative reviews about your company. You can use Hangouts to provide customer service and resolve issues. You can even see how what effect these negative reviews have on web traffic.
You can combine your brand page, social media marketing campaigns, reviews, information, and maps on one platform. This allows you to be sure you aren’t forgetting to keep up with any aspect of your virtual presence.
As a small business owner on Google My Business, you can see where your customers are located and what their needs are. You can use this information to design a better ad campaign. You can control your ad campaign on Google or from your mobile device.
The nice thing about Google My Business is that you probably already use many of its individual components. This means that there is virtually no learning curve. You can get started with the platform almost immediately. As a small business owner, you will find the platform to be not only a benefit to your business, but you will find it to be an extreme time saver.
To sign up with Google My Business, simply navigate to the platform and click Get on Google. The site will take you through the registration process. Follow all of the prompts, enter the required information, and your Google My Business account is up and running. It really is that simple.
If you want to increase your company’s presence online, signing up with Google My Business is a no brainer. Get started today for free. It will be the best money you’ve never spent!
Tips for Using Google My Business Right Now
As you have read, Google My Business is not a difficult platform to use. The key is this: You’ve got to use it! So what four things can you do right now, right from the comfort of your desk? These:
- Set Up Your Profile
Take the time right now, while you are thinking about it, to set up your small business profile. Claim your space on Google by simply clicking on the “Get On Google” tab on the https://www.googlemybusiness.com site.
- Add Images
Add images to your profile. The images you choose should showcase your business. Be sure to include keyword-optimized filenames to boost search results. Not sure what to include? Try any of these images: the inside of your store, you and your team, before-and-after photos, or your staff on the job.
- Manage Reviews
You can monitor and manage your reviews right from your Google My Business dashboard. One of the coolest things about this platform is the ability it gives the small business owner to manage reviews found across the web. You can see how many reviews you have, and you can respond to any that you choose.
- Leverage Insights
Take a look at the insights section. You will discover how people are finding you on the web and how often they are clicking on your site’s link from a Google search. You will also see the amount of activity on your Google + page and the demographic details of your audience.
What Local Search Experts Have to Say – Do You Agree?
As with anything, everyone has an opinion. Now that Google My Business has had time to sink in to the minds of the masses, local search experts are offering their opinions. Here’s how some of the experts are weighing in:
Street Fight: According to Street Fight, GMB is a step forward, but more dedication to simplicity is necessary.
SIM Partners: Google has shown that it is committed to local business space. A bulk upload process would be helpful, but Google has shown its interest in serving the needs of the small business owner. https://www.simpartners.com/google-my-business/
Mike Blumenthal: While Google My Business is a strong step forward in the service of the SMB, users may be left wishing for specific upgrades.
The Benefits of Google My Business Are Too Good to Ignore
Think that you can’t carve out 10 minutes a day to keep your GMB account updated? Think again. The benefits of utilizing the platform are too good to ignore:
- Search Engine Recognition
There are more than 500 million users registered with Google +. If you choose to ignore Google My Business, consider how many potential customers are being driven to your competition that has chose to utilize the platform. With its ease of use and incredibly flexibility, Google My Business is a platform that every small business owner should be making the most of.
5 Reasons You’ll Want to Publish on LinkedIn
Okay, all of you who have published on LinkedIn raise your virtual hands…
That’s what I thought. Not many consider LinkedIn when choosing where to publish content, and in point of fact, that’s a big mistake.
Now that it is open to the all LinkedIn users, it’s still something of an afterthought among content marketers. This is a shame, because publishing on LinkedIn is pay dirt for content marketers who know how to use it effectively. Let’s check out a few of the reasons why you need to be putting great content onto this platform!
5 Reasons LinkedIn needs to be your content choice!
To establish authority – Publishing before a community of professionals is an excellent way of becoming the thought leader you are seeking to be. This can help you in many ways, not only on LinkedIn in terms of added connections and influence, but in your industry and Google as well.
Syndicating your content – Being able to post content that you may have used on your blog a while ago is a good way to find a new readership. Many times the audience on LinkedIn will not have seen your content, and could be more inclined to give it a serious read, given the nature of the platform.
Publish your content before a serious audience – You will be able to find a more serious approach to your content on this platform. There’s not a lot of fluff traffic to be found here. You can also find gold by publishing to LinkedIn groups as well.
Killer engagement – People active on LinkedIn are highly engaged, and likely to comment and contact you if they see something that appeals to them.
Possible virality – If you publish something truly good that’s getting noticed, you might get a little help from LinkedIn itself in the form of making your content available on one of the Pulse category pages, or on the Home page of LinkedIn itself. This is where the traffic really begins to flood in!
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