What if we told you that Google might not be as important a resource for local search as you think it is?
You’d probably think we’re crazy. Nobody can challenge Google when it comes to search supremacy.
Well, when it comes to local search, that might not be true.
We’re not talking about Bing or Yahoo or any traditional search engine. Instead, the search option that might overtake Google in local search isn’t a search engine at all.
The social media giant is undeniably a powerhouse when it comes to marketing small businesses. And given how likely consumers are to connect with local brands on social media, it should come as no surprise that Facebook searches are making inroads against Google.
Here’s what you need to know to take advantage of Facebook local search for your business.
#1: Facebook Is Using Location in New Ways
As recently as 2015, Facebook’s search function was quite ineffective for local search. People who searched for businesses near them got incomplete (and often inaccurate) results.
Today, in mid-2017, Facebook highlights the locations of businesses at the top of their home pages and on the “About” tab.
Facebook’s search function defaults now to local search. Before, if a user searched for a type of business, they might get results from their hometown – or from halfway around the world.
Today, the search returns only businesses located within a couple of miles of the searcher’s location. That’s a huge improvement.
Another key change is that Facebook now recognizes when to use location – and when to leave it alone.
For example, a search for a type of business or an attraction – such as a restaurant or a park – returns relevant local results showing Places first, and then, local businesses as appropriate.
When a user searches for something else, such as a celebrity or book, Facebook disregards locations and returns other results that are relevant to the search.
#2: Facebook Local Searches Return Helpful Information
One of Google’s big advantages in local search is their ability to show relevant information – such as hours, distances, and maps – in their search results.
And now, Facebook does that too.
In fact, when you search for a business on Facebook, you’ll see a ton of pertinent data in your list of search results, including:
- Profile picture and other photos
- The street address of the business
- The distance from you
- Whether the business is open or closed
- The average star rating from Facebook reviews
That’s a huge amount of information – and it can make a tremendous difference when it comes to attracting Facebook users to your business.
Everything they need to know is at their fingertips, and that means that you’ll get more clicks, calls, and visits as a result of a Facebook search.
#3: Facebook Is Crowdsourcing Its Databases
One of Facebook’s value propositions for businesses is that it’s a social media giant with a huge number of users. As of June 2017, that number has topped two billion!
Two billion people have a ton of collective knowledge, and Facebook is now putting that knowledge to work for local businesses.
When a user checks in at a local business on Facebook, they get a series of questions about the business – questions designed to help other users learn about it.
For example, they might be asked:
- Does this business have available parking?
- Does your map show the correct location of this business?
The benefit of this type of crowdsourcing is clear. It ensures that anybody who searches your business on Facebook will have access to accurate and detailed data about your business to help them decide whether to buy from you.
#4: Friend Posts and Local Search Are Integrated
Would you be more likely to frequent a local business if you knew your friends liked it?
If you’re like most people, the answer is yes. That’s because social proof is a huge driver of business in digital marketing.
Even reviews from strangers on sites like Yelp carry a lot of weight, with 88% of people saying they read reviews at least some of the time.
Facebook now uses Friend check-ins and posts in combination with local search.
What does that mean? When you search for a local business, you might see an announcement that the business was “visited by friends.”
You can click to see which friends have visited. And when you search for a business, you will also get Friend Posts in your search results so you can see what your friends have to say.
#5: Facebook Has Created City Guides
Which would you rather do when you visit a new city: go to a business that caters to tourists or visit one that the locals love?
If you’re like a lot of people, you’d choose the latter option. Now, Facebook local search makes it easy for people to find out what the locals say about your business – and for locals to get to know about your business in a new way.
In addition to displaying business information such as location, hours, and reviews, the city guides also show which friends have visited each business listed.
Make the Most of Your Facebook Profile
Want people to be able to find you on Facebook? Here are some quick steps you can take to make it easy for them.
- Fill out your profile completely. Make sure that your name, address, and phone number are listed properly and consistent with other online listings.
- When you put in your address, check to make sure that Facebook displays a map with a pin at the top of your profile. (It should show up automatically, but doesn’t always!)
- Answer as many questions as you can, even if it means simply answering “no” to questions that don’t apply to you. This eliminates the need for crowdsourcing and ensures accuracy.
- Activate Facebook buttons like “Call” and “Make an Appointment” to streamline the interaction process.
- Add additional business categories if they apply to you. You only need to provide one, but adding additional options can broaden the chances that people will find you.
Providing Facebook with the information needed to help searchers find you is easy – and can have a huge impact on your traffic.
Google Still Matters…
… But Facebook matters too when it comes to local search.
Take a few minutes to optimize your business description and page – and see the difference that local Facebook traffic can make to your business.
Learn more about digital marketing by visiting JVI Mobile Marketing or by contacting us!
Why Your Business Needs Video Marketing
Video marketing is a powerful way to connect with customers. A well-made video can be entertaining, informative and very engaging. It can allow you to provide valuable information to your customers. Video is one of the most shareable forms of online content, too, which makes it ideal for many businesses who know they can count on their customers to be brand ambassadors and share the video on social media.
Like everything else online, the world of video marketing is evolving. While you can still upload videos to your YouTube channel and share them online, there’s also a new kid in town – live video. One of the most accessible options, which allows companies to fully integrate video marketing into their Facebook marketing, is Facebook Live.
What Is Facebook Live?
Facebook Live is a video streaming option that Facebook began rolling out in select markets in 2015. First available to businesses and people with verified accounts, as of early 2016 it is available to anybody who has the Facebook iOS app.
While there are other live streaming options available, such as Meerkat and Periscope, Facebook Live does have some things that make it unique:
- Unlike Periscope videos, the video is saved and will be available to you and your customers as long as you leave it on your page.
- It’s very easy to use – all you need to do is click the video icon at the top of your page and start recording.
- As you record, you can see a count of how many people are watching as well as comments from viewers, making it truly interactive.
- After you are done streaming, you can share the video on your website, blog, or even on other social media accounts.
Perhaps the most important benefit of Facebook Live is that it is free. Because it lends itself to “talking head” videos, you don’t need to spend much on production.
Creative Ideas for Using Facebook Live
As you might imagine, there are dozens of ways that you can use Facebook Live to engage your customers. Here are some that you may want to consider.
- Unveil a new product. Do you create your own products? Are you getting a much-anticipated product in your store? A great way to build buzz and show what you have to offer is to launch a live video and show people instead of telling them. For example, if you have a boxed product, you might choose to do an unboxing video. An apparel store might reveal a new item of clothing and then have a model come out to show viewers what it looks like on a real person.
- Do a product demonstration. This is an especially good option if your product has multiple potential uses. For example, the owner of a craft supply store might decide to do a demo showing five different ways to use a particular product. It’s a good way to sell products by showing people their versatility.
- Are you offering an in-store class or event? Consider streaming it live so that people who are unable to attend in person can see it online. You can even create an event page on Facebook and invite people to sign up to attend. Facebook will send reminders about the event to increase the chances that people will remember to watch when the time comes.
- If you are speaking at a conference or event, ask the event’s organizers if you can film your speech. If they agree, all you need to do is mount your phone nearby or ask someone to use your phone to film you. As long as your speech is less than 90 minutes, you can stream it on Facebook.
- Have a Q & A session with your customers. One thing that consumers crave is personal attention from the businesses they patronize. Why not use live video to encourage questions and comments? This can be especially helpful if you offer a service because it gives you an opportunity to provide valuable information that might help a customer who’s on the fence make the decision to buy.
- Take a customer poll. Are you wondering what people think of your products, or what kind of content readers want to see on your blog? Instead of guessing, ask them. Go live on Facebook and ask direct questions of your viewers. They can post their responses in the comments, giving you the opportunity to have a real give-and-take with them – and ideas for future blog posts and videos.
- Are you an artisan? Do you make your own products? If you do, Facebook Live is the perfect medium to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at what you do and how you do it. Even if your process is too long or involved to demonstrate in a single video, you can show different stages of production or talk about your creative process. When people understand what goes into making a product, they may have a greater interest in buying it than they did before.
- If you have posted a particularly provocative or controversial blog post, use Facebook Live to read it out loud and get people to talk to you about it. You can encourage people to leave comments on the video and respond on air as you see fit.
- Do an interview with someone interesting in your industry. For example, if you own a book store and you have an author in your store, why not ask if you can film a short interview and stream it on Facebook? You can also have someone interview you if you prefer.
As you can see, Facebook Live is incredibly versatile for video marketing. It’s a way of making customers feel that they are personally connected with you even when you are miles away. It can help build brand loyalty and increase sales. Best of all, it’s a free form of marketing and one that – in the end – requires very little of your time and offers the potential to help your business to grow.
Learn more about digital marketing by visiting JVI Mobile Marketing or by contacting us!
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Put These Hidden Facebook Features To Use TODAY!
If you’re managing a Facebook page for your business, the chances are good that you are missing out on some great tools and features. While setting up a page for your business is easy, Facebook doesn’t offer a ton of guidance about some of the things you can do with a business page. Some of the tools they offer can help make managing your page easier, while others can be used to make your ads more effective.
- Importing Email Contacts
This feature provides a quick and easy way to let your existing customers know about your Facebook page. If you have an email list or client database, you can import it into Facebook and send invitations to everyone on your list asking them to “Like” your page. To use this feature, all you need to do is click on the ellipsis that appears next to the SHARE button at the top of your Facebook Timeline.
Then click the “Invite Friends” option and it will give you the opportunity to import your email list from a variety of places, including:
-Autoresponder sites like Constant Contact and MailChimp
-Email providers like Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo
–Google Hangouts or Facebook Messenger
It is important to note that you are limited to importing 5,000 addresses per day. If you have a huge database you may need to do it in batches. You can select specific names from a list or choose the whole group. That means it’s easy to eliminate clients who have already liked your page and focus on those who have not.
- Using Free Stock Photographs in Facebook Ads
If you have ever gone looking for stock photographs to use for your business, you know that they can sometimes be expensive. One nice perk that Facebook offers advertisers is free access to a huge database of stock photographs courtesy of Shutterstock.
You can access this feature when you first setup your ad, or going to your Manage Ads page and clicking “Edit Ad”. You will see three options for images:
-Choose Image from Library
You may already have images to use in your ads, but if you don’t this is a good way to make your ad more appealing. Research shows that people respond more strongly to images than they do to text alone, and a compelling picture can do a lot in terms of getting people to click on your ad. However, it is important to make sure that you check that the image you choose meets Facebook’s guidelines.
- Schedule Facebook Posts in Advance
Many companies use social media management tools like Hootsuite, Post Planner or our favorite, MySoPro to manage their social media content. However, you don’t need to pay for an online tool to schedule Facebook posts. The ability to do so is built right into your Facebook page.
Like many Facebook features, this one requires a little detective work to find. To access it, click the “Publishing Tools” tab at the very top of your Timeline. When you do, you will see a menu on the left with an option to schedule posts.
You can draft your posts and specify the date and time you want them published. You have all of the same options you would have when sharing a post in real time. That means you can include links to websites and articles, as well as embedding videos and photographs.
The nice thing about this feature is that it means you can be sure you will always have new content on your page, even on weekends or when you are on vacation.
- Check the Relevance of Your Ad
One of the nicest things about social media advertising is that you can get feedback, in real time, about how your ad is performing. With Facebook, you get a notification every time someone new follows your page, and you also get information about the number of people your posts reach. These are important things to know because they can help you identify the content that matters the most to your audience.
A relatively new thing that you can find on Facebook is a score that rates the relevance of your ad. It takes into account things like comments, video views, clicks, likes, and shares. If people are telling Facebook to hide your ad, that can decrease its relevance. You can access this feature from your Manage Ads page.
What’s the benefit of tracking your ad’s relevance? Sometimes companies don’t make adequate use of Facebook’s demographics and psychographics when targeting their ads. If a large number of people are telling Facebook that your ad is not relevant to them, it may be time to take a look at who is seeing it. Your ad spending won’t do you any good if you’re wasting it on people who aren’t interested.
- Add Pages to Watch
Every skilled marketer knows the importance of monitoring the competition. Regardless of your industry, there are other companies online who are in direct competition with you. Many of them undoubtedly maintain a presence on Facebook. Facebook gives you an easy- and free- way to monitor the competition’s social media activity. To access it, all you need to do is go to the Facebook Insights page and scroll down to the bottom. You can add up to five pages and track things such as the number of likes they get or how often they post new content. These are helpful things to know. If your competition is posting new content twice a day and you’re only posting a few times a week, you may need to increase the frequency of your posts to keep up with them.
All the above tools are free and very easy to use. Facebook is constantly adding new tools and features, and keeping up with them can be tricky. The features mentioned here are ones you would be unlikely to stumble upon unless you made the effort to scroll through all of your ad management tools to see what you had missed. Using them is a good way to make sure you are getting the most bang for your Facebook advertising buck.
Do you own a small local business but don’t know where to start online? Learn more about digital marketing by visiting JVI Mobile Marketing or by contacting us!
Facebook advertising gets a bad rap at times, though perhaps only part of that reputation is deserved. You don’t even need all the figures to realize that an investment in Facebook advertising is a must-do to grow in today’s world.
Kyle Taylor, the owner of The Penny Hoarder, recently shared the secret to his success in this channel in a recent post for Entrepreneur.com. You can get the full article here, but we’ve summarized his insights below. We couldn’t agree more!
- Facebook advertising can be challenging with changing interfaces and options. It takes some time to learn and master.
- Focus on sending traffic to your site, not on growing your Facebook page.
- Boosted posts, though at a higher cost, can dramatically drive more visitors to your site. You’ll still get likes along the way. Not only do boosted posts go live faster, but they also feel less “salesy”.
- You don’t have to spend a lot to see a good return. Between effective segmentation and watching the analytics, you can get clicks for pennies.
Social Media Retargeting
If you’re already spending on Facebook, you’ve got to consider social media retargeting as well. Social media retargeting is where the vacation you were just looking at online suddenly appears in your Facebook feed.
As Mary Long recently shared over at AdWeek:
“26 percent of customers will return to a site through retargeting. This is up from 8 percent of customers who return to a site without retargeting.”
And in regards specifically to Facebook retargeting that:
“When adding Facebook to an existing display retargeting campaign, advertisers saw a 92 percent increase in impression reach, 9 percent drop in cost per thousand impressions (CPM), and 27 percent decrease in cost per click (CPC).”
With results like that, how can you not get in the retargeting pool!
Here at JVI mobile, we specialize in unique programs in both Facebook advertising and retargeting geared to YOUR unique needs. Just ask us how we can help!