Best Practices on Social Media for Business
Navigating the Major Social Platforms
Today’s businesses are no stranger to social media; it is one of the first channels many turn to for promoting their brands and creating a presence online. However, when brick-and-mortar businesses learn to navigate the top social channels – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – with a Local SEO mindset, social media then becomes a powerful platform for building engagement, increasing your local search rankings, and driving customers into your stores.
¼ of mobile searches for a local business are done on Facebook. Operating as a sort of hybrid between a social media channel and a local search site, Facebook has over 2 billion users and is one of the only growing local search platforms that could conceivably compete with industry leading search sites like Google and Yelp.
For physical location and service area businesses, creating and managing your presence on Facebook is a must. For those that haven’t yet created a business page (and even if you have), it’s quite possible that Facebook took the liberty of creating one for you. In which case, be sure to start by claiming, merging or deleting that business page. Failing to remove duplicate pages can cause confusion with the customer, this will break up your reviews and lower your overall rankings. According to the Chatmeter dashboard, Facebook has the most duplicate listings out of any other search directory, so be sure to find and merge any duplicates.
Managing Store Pages and the “Parent/Child” relationship: It’s likely that you have set up a corporate page, maybe you even have some individual pages for each of your locations. Regardless of what you have now, you’ll want to set up a Parent/Child relationship across all of your pages.
What this means is that every brand with multiple locations will need to first set up a corporate/brand page, also known as the Parent page. From there, bands then set up or claim their unique store, or Child pages and link them with the Parent page.
Facebook User Generated Content: After you’ve created both corporate and individual pages, Facebook users will then be able to write posts, leave comments and reviews, and add photos or videos to any and all of your pages. As customers search Facebook for local businesses, this is the exact type of content they are looking for to help them make their decision.
Whether it’s done on a corporate level for all locations or its delegated to the individual store managers and employee’s, all of this user-generated content needs to be monitored and managed on a daily basis.
With 800 million users and 500 million daily active users, Instagram is one of the largest and fastest growing social media platforms of
the 2000’s. While there are some searching capabilities built into this platform, Instagram will be mostly used by current customers looking to engage or potential customers who have found your location through a Google search and are looking to do a little more research.
Being primarily focused on photos and short videos, Instagram is a great tool for creating a visual appeal around your brand and locations. When customers search through your Instagram account, they are looking for images that give them a better idea of the vibe and what the experience will be like if they actually visit your location.
Managing Local Content without local pages: Where Facebook allows businesses to create and manage pages for each of its locations, Instagram only offers one corporate page for the entire brand.
The biggest issue that this presents for businesses is that while there may not be unique store pages on Instagram, users still have the ability to tag content to unique store locations. This means that your customers can add a geographic pin, or tag of your store without having to @mention the actual corporate location.
When customers add this location tag to an image, other users can see and identify which exact store location they were at, but the business will never receive an alert or update notifying them that a user has posted a photo at one of their stores.
Additionally, the location tags tie these pictures to that physical location, so when customers do search Instagram for that specific location, all the photos that have been tied to that location will show up.
Where businesses would previously have to search each location one by one to find these images, geographic photo tracking, and aggregation tools allow businesses to easily locate all of these previously unseen images. These tools automatically collect these images as they are posted and then aggregate them into one centralized location.
With 500 million tweets being sent every day and the average lifetime of a tweet only lasting about 18 minutes, brands face a huge hurdle when trying to sift through all of the junk to uncover relevant content, as well as trying to stay relevant themselves.
While most customers aren’t actively using Twitter to search for new businesses in their local area, it’s still a powerful platform that brands can use to engage with customers. 47% of marketers agree that Twitter is the best social media channel for customer engagement.
Customers are constantly looking to engage with brands on Twitter and frequently use it as a medium to resolve customer service issues. 71% of Twitter users even expect a brand to respond to their query within an hour of tweeting and will only wait as long as 4 hours, meaning that businesses need to be active and ready to engage at any moment.
Brands can also leverage Twitter to improve their local search rankings. Posting tweets and retweeting, using relevant hashtags, building your follower count and getting other users to post your links all send positive signals to search engines that boost your local search rankings.
Geofencing – Filtering Through the Junk: When you have multiple locations scattered across the nation or even multiple locations spread throughout a single state, it’s important to locate the most relevant tweets and social content. Using a Geofencing social media monitoring tool allows brands to filter posts by specific geographic areas, such as a certain state, city or even down to a few blocks radius from each of your locations.
This highly targeted social listening ensures that you’re only reading the posts that are actually talking about your specific locations and gives you the opportunity to engage with the customers that are nearest to your locations. These are the customers that are literally in a position to buy from you and those most likely to visit your store.
Engaging with these customers and targeting these customers with relevant promotions, deals and coupons is an effective strategy for improving online-to-offline conversions.