Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Archive for the social media Category

Your Small Business Reputation Management

Reputation management for your small business is important.

Reputation management for your small business is important.As a small business owner you can’t afford to ignore what people write about you online. Online reviews are reported to factor into 70% of buying decisions. Search Engine Land has found that 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from family and friends. Your small business reputation can have a direct impact on your bottom line. Positive reviews do drive business your way. And bad reviews can drive customers away.

Some quick facts from BrightLocal:

  • 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses
  • 95% of people ages 18 to 34 read local business reviews
  • 91% of 18-to-34-year-old consumers trust reviews online as much as recommendations from friends and family
  • 57% of consumers will only buy from a business that has 4 stars or more
  • Consumers read an average of 10 reviews online before they feel they can trust a business

It’s also been found that reviews produce an average 18% increase in sales.

How to establish and manage your small business reputation

There are four ways to ensure you have a good online reputation. And it’s important to pay attention to each of them.

Google values your authority.

Authority

Establish your expertise by creating content that’s not directly about you but provides useful information about your industry as a whole. For example, an accountant might publish easy to read explanations of recent changes in the law, explain how to file for government benefits during the current COVID-19 pandemic, or provide record-keeping tips for small businesses. You’ll see concrete examples of this kind of content in our own blog.

Prominence

Citations are mentions or listings of your business with at least your NAP — your Name, Address and Phone — on local search engines, directories, social media, maps and mobile apps. The more you have, the more prominent you are and the more easily your business can be found.

Prominence helps both your reputation and your rankings.So be sure you’re listed on as many of these platforms as possible. And claim your listings at places like Google My Business, Yelp, SuperPages, MerchantCircle, CitySearch and YP.com.

It’s also very important that your NAP be consistent across all of them. Nothing is more confusing than citations with different variations on your company name, old addresses, and inconsistent phone numbers. If some of your citations have a previous address or some have your toll-free number while others have your local number, customers (and Google) aren’t sure which is right.

Prominence also helps you show up better in local search. A recent survey found that nearly 60% percent of small businesses aren’t optimized for local search, which is surprising when you consider that 45% of searches are for local businesses.

Shameless plug: Our PowerListings service will get you listed on about six dozen of these sites and lock in your information to ensure perfect NAP consistency among them all. You can learn more on our Local SEO page.

Social media

Social Media can help or hurt your small business reputation.Be active on social media. GlobalWebIndex reports that there’s a growing role of social media to research products that can be leveraged beyond mere brand recognition to enhancing your reputation. They report that 40 percent of consumers use social media to look up businesses and products. Beyond that, Statista research showed that more than half of consumers have a more favorable view of businesses that use social media to engage with customer complaints and questions.

You can use social media to enhance your authority by leveraging the content creation described above. Every new piece of content you add to your website  should be promoted on all of your social media accounts with a link back to that content on your website.

Online reviews

9 of 10 people trust online reviews.

Small businesses can live or die based on their online reviews. If you haven’t been paying attention to your online reviews, now’s the time to start. When someone passes along a word of mouth referral for you, the person they refer is more likely than not to look you up before calling you. More than your own website is going to show up when they do that. Your listings on Google My Business, LinkedIn, Yelp, and elsewhere will populate most of the results. Any of those sites that host reviews about you will show the average review stars in the search results. Those stars jump off the page and capture attention. And if they are not universally good or excellent, that’s a significant dent in your reputation.

It’s important that you monitor your reviews online. If you don’t have any on a particular platform, it’s relatively easy to get one: ask a delighted customer to write one for you (just don’t tell them what to say about you). If a mediocre or negative review is written, it’s critical for you to respond promptly to that. A good response can turn a negative review into a positive experience for the person who reads it.

A survey found that more than 90% of consumers will avoid a business because of a negative review. But if you respond to it positively and act on it, that can enhance your reputation. Responding to negative reviews makes it more likely for 45 percent of people to give you the benefit of the doubt.

Shameless plug: To help our clients stay on top of this, our PowerListings service alerts them as soon as a new review appears on any of dozens of online review sites. You can learn about that on our Local SEO page.

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Email Marketing and Social Media: What happens when they’re combined with SEO?

Digital marketingDigital Marketing

What is digital marketing? How can some digital channels be combined and have SEO baked in? How can you make this scheme actually work?

You already know that social media contributes to your SEO efforts. Well, so does email marketing! In fact, email marketing and marketing automation is one of social media’s predecessors — one that can be quite profitable.

Hence the need for various email marketing and marketing automation platforms, such as Moosend and MailChimp, two of the best free email marketing services-and various marketing tactics.

But how do these tactics work together? What kind of impact do they have on each other?

Let’s go ahead and see…

Why combine them?

First of all, let’s clarify a very basic thing: the marketing approach email marketing uses is very different from the one social media marketing does.

The two media are quite different, but this doesn’t mean you can’t make them work together. Especially since email marketing provides measurable ROI — up to  4400% to be exact — and social media’s ROI can’t be easily measured.

Email marketing is used to entice, engage and keep an open dialogue between people who opted to sign up. In short, it’s not like you’re going to send a newsletter and your work is done. You need to maintain a profile that will gently nudge the user into interacting with you.

On the contrary, social media can be used to actually draw attention and help a brand go viral. A clever punchline and a well-made visual, perhaps a post with a sneaky QR code that people will have to scan to get special prizes -kind of like a treasure hunt game- will draw more attention and reach a larger audience.

Social media and email markewting can work togetherTo reach more people

Combining the two media will help get rid of an obstacle or two.

Let’s say you’ve already got a mailing list and you’ve just created your first social media profile. Try uploading your email list on your social media profile.

Just click on the “Find people you know” button for Twitter, “Add connections” for LinkedIn and so on, and click on the email option each social media platform will give you. This way, you’ll create a followers’ count without even trying, simply by following your subscribers.

Urge your followers to share your posts around and incentivize the offer. That way, you’ll get more brownie points when it comes to referrals and you’ll grow your reach through affiliate marketing.

Let’s assume that you’re a company like Amazon or eBay. Your product is a service. And let’s assume that you want to use affiliates and referrals to grow your prospects’ base.

You can have your prospects share your posts or your email. Every person clicking on the post will be redirected to a landing page with one simple purpose: to get your prospects to sign up and earn either some kind of discount code or an incentive like free shipping.

Incentivise sharing your content.But here’s the thing: you need to incentivize the process for those who are going to share the post around, otherwise why would someone share your post in the first place?

Perhaps, the more people they get to sign up to your website and services, the better their chances at a huge discount.

That way, you incentivize both ways and people are eager to share your social media posts around and have more people sign up.

Not to mention that the more people to see your ad, post or anything your followers decided to check out, the better when it comes to being viral and generating more traffic and, ultimately, more conversion.

To get new followers and — in the end — buyers

It’s a shame to have just a selected few see your email marketing campaigns, as you’ve invested a lot of effort there.

And despite its cost, it’s also a shame to not spread the word when it comes to your email marketing efforts through your social media channels as well.

Include one of the stunning visuals you’re going to use in your next email campaign in one of your posts and spice things up with a headline promoting a discount or a customer loyalty program.

Then create a landing page — optimized for conversion, of course! — and link the landing page to your post. Urge them to subscribe and give them a little extra if they share your landing page with their loved ones.

A prospect won’t convert to a customer just because you asked nicely. You’ll need to include multiple touch-points into your strategy, and this means leveraging social media to your advantage.

But your efforts won’t be enough without the use of some good  SEO tactics.

How is that even possible?

It may sound a little strange and the two media may seem to be quite different from each other, but in reality they’re not, as you can always use one to promote the other and vice versa.

Email marketing in social media

First of all, you can add a subscription form or a little subscribe button to your Facebook page and encourage people to subscribe.

Secondly, repurpose content from your emails. Turn them into posts and ask for feedback. If people love these, urge them to subscribe to get more content like that.

Create a contest that will be urging people to subscribe to your mailing list for better chances at winning, or maybe to know more.

social media marketingSocial media in email marketing

Of course, this goes vice-versa as well.

The buttons of your social media pages need to appear down at the bottom of every email newsletter you send. This way you can spark curiosity and have your prospects connect with you using different methods.

Another benefit of using social media buttons on your email campaigns is the credibility those add to your brand overall.

Your brand’s social media pages are the place for your prospects to communicate with you in real-time, which is increasingly important in 2020.

Time for some SEO

I’ll bet most of you wonder what SEO has to do with these two mediums — especially with email marketing. Well, there’s a strong relation, even though it may not seem obvious.

It all comes down to the content you decide to use for each campaign and each post.

A high bounce rate represents lost business.Email marketing boosts SEO efforts

One thing SERPs are affected by is the time spent on a website and the bounce rate. You could have excellent SEO and it still wouldn’t work well if too many people bounce from your website.

Linking your website from your email marketing campaigns is one way to get quality traffic — in other words, control the quality of people who visit your website.

Remember that those are the people who’ve already subscribed to your email list and they’re, by extension, already engaged and eager to receive your content.

Also, by making your content shareable to social media, you can easily engage people outside the realm of your email marketing campaigns… However, this content practically demands some SEO optimization, as social media have a direct link to SEO.

Social media platforms are mini-search engines

Don’t tell me you’d never thought of that…

Social media platforms have those little search bars and those search bars work in the exact same way as a search engine. In other words, they look for keywords.

Hashtags are keywords tooSo, in order for your content to pop up first, you need to work with keywords, to show that it’s interesting and up-to-date.

And hashtags are keywords as well.

So, optimize your content for the keywords you’re trying to target each time and then post it on social media with captions that contain spot-on hashtags.

Now, of course the links you receive from social media do not affect your SERP efforts. Directly. But indirectly, there is much at stake if you don’t optimize for SEO and don’t get links from social media shares.

Keywords will mean that your content will pop up first, which means more traffic, which means more brand awareness and buzz around your name.

And who doesn’t need some buzz?

Content always needs optimization

Content is always critical.Last but not least, we’ve got content. And content needs to be aligned with your SEO efforts, whether it’s on your website or in a documents file somewhere in your computer.

Using keywords and SEO optimization, you can create content that will be segmented, making your life easier when it comes to going for some serious targeting.

After all, well-written and valuable content can always appeal to a wider audience and feel tailor-made and specific.

And if you’ve no idea what type of content your audience would love, just ask them through a poll or a survey.

Another reason you should optimize everything for SEO is that you can always repurpose your old content, be it from your emails or an older social media post and turn it into a blog post, a roundup post or website content.

Of course, this goes vice versa since you can repurpose old web pages and blog content and create fantastic social media posts. Especially if it’s video content, which is always short, bite-sized and easily comprehensible — therefore, full of keywords and SEO optimized, provided the content is valuable, of course.

Takeaway

Combining email marketing and social media is no easy task, but it’s one of the most beneficial things you can do, as it shows brand consistency and can easily create more buzz around your name.

What’s more, it can make you go viral, increase your reach and satisfy your already existing prospects.

By combining social media and email marketing and creating content based on SEO principles, you’re aiming for high engagement and, in the end, conversion. You’re also creating content your prospects will find valuable and will spend time on, as they’re the ones creating trends and — by extension — keywords.

About our guest blogger

Téa Liarokapi

Téa Liarokapi is a content writer working for WriterZone, email marketing software company Moosend and an obsessive writer in general. In her free time, she tries to find new ways to stuff more books in her bookcase and content ideas — and cats — to play with.

 

 

 

Note from Rank Magic:

If you struggle with this, we can help. We can help personally with your SEO issues, and can recommend strategic partners who specialize in email marketing and social media. Reach out to us!

7 Trends for Successful Digital Marketing (Infographic)

There’s a lot going on in digital marketing lately. For your small business to compete successfully, you need to be aware of and respond to current trends and changes in internet marketing and digital marketing more broadly. Here are the 7 top trends to be aware of:

  • SEO
  • Social media
  • Video
  • Email marketing
  • Paid advertising
  • Lead generation
  • Content marketing

Below is an excellent overview of the most important trends in digital marketing you need to watch. Thanks to the folks at Serpwatch for all their hard work on this.

7 trends in digital marketing for small businesses to be aware of.

Get Rid of a Bad Online Review (Infographic)

Ron Dod of Visiture designed the infographic below to deal with bad reviews on Google. It applies equally to a bad online review on other sites as well, like Facebook and Yelp.

This infographic is a companion to our blog post How to Get Rid of a Bad Online Review.

Infographic on how to get rid of a bad online review.

Online reputation management can be a daunting prospect to deal with on your own. We can help! Ask me about our PowerListings Ultimate service that can help generate positive reviews and focus them where you want, even on your own website.

Think we can benefit with your experience with bad online reviews? Please share in the comments below.

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How to Get Rid of a Bad Online Review

Oh, No! You got a bad review on Google!

Google's G logoWe’ve got good news and bad news when it comes to removing negative Google reviews. Let’s start with the bad news. The bad news is that you can’t actually “get rid” of a bad online review.

Don’t stop reading!

The good news is there are ways that you can combat any negative online reviews you get — on Google and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the truth is, Google doesn’t care about your business or your reputation. They just want to give customers what they are looking for so that Google stays the top search engine. All so they can continue to have people pay them to advertise on their network. At the end of the day, they aren’t going to care if you got a review that makes you look bad when you didn’t do anything wrong. There is nothing they can do about it, or, we should say … there’s nothing that they will do about it.

But, wait. Should you even care if you have negative reviews? Absolutely! Online reviews are very important in today’s market. More and more people are turning to reviews to help decide their purchases. In fact, 93% of Millennials say that they read reviews before they purchase something.

A negative online review isn't the end of the world.

Think about it—wouldn’t you trust what your friend said about a new restaurant over what the restaurant says about themselves? Just because they say they have the best burritos in the city doesn’t mean they’re worth trying. They might be awful. That’s why you ask around, to see if anyone you know has been there before you go. This is what online reviews do for consumers. They allow them to get information from a third party before they spend their money.

As a business, you want online reviews. You want your happy customers to tell others about your company and your products/services. But what happens when you get a not so nice review? Well, you need to address it! Having a negative review about your company floating around out there can turn away potential customers. So, how do you combat these reviews if you can’t just get rid of them?

Here are seven tactics you can try.

7 ways to handle bad online reviews.

Look internally

The first thing that we would recommend you do when you get a bad online review is to seriously consider what the review is saying. Put yourself in the shoes of the reviewer. Maybe they’re just being unreasonable, but they just might be showing you a real problem with your service.

Take a hard look at your company. You want to try to see things from the other side, not through your own rose-colored glasses. Maybe it’s time to rethink some of your processes or your customer service.

Contact the reviewer ASAP

After getting a bad online review, you want to contact that person as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter who’s wrong in the situation. You need to reach out to them. Even if they’re wrong, you want to do everything in your power to make it right somehow. The more you do to make it right, the more they’ll appreciate it and rethink their review.

Think of this as an investment into your reputation. Just reaching out can do a lot to repair relationships and help them view you more favorably. Even if you can’t make things right with them, reaching out and trying to make things right will show other potential customers that you care.

Ask for a revision of the bad review

After you reach out to the reviewer and try to make things right, consider thinking about asking them to revise their review. A customer can revise their review, remove the review or even post a follow-up. Now, this would be ideal if you made the situation better for them and they were genuinely happy with your response. However, if they don’t seem happy even after you reach out, it might be not ideal to ask them. They might just write something worse or something else that could further damage your online reputation.

Google online review stars

Acknowledge the problem

We’ve already told you that you need to reach out to the reviewer and try to make things right with them. However, there are times when you just can’t make it up to them. It might be that it was a time-sensitive situation and you just can’t make that situation right.

You still need to acknowledge what happened. Make sure you apologize for the experience they had and try to do everything you can to assure them it won’t happen again. Tell them that you are going to review your policies and maybe even ask for a second chance to make it up to them.

Whatever you do, make sure you are always pleasant with the customer. There is no need to be rude or short with them; if you reply with iritation it’s counterproductive, especially if you respond that way online. Be nice and genuine with them. Sometimes, just acknowledging a problem can show them that you respect them and their experience.

Address false reviews

There are normal negative reviews, and then there are just false reviews. Maybe you have a testy former employee who is out for revenge or maybe a ruthless competitor is trying to steal your business. In situations like that, you need to address those reviews with the site they’re on.

If you find reviews that are just unreal, check out the site’s policies. If it’s allowed, contact them and request intervention. You can check out Google’s policies here.

Get Positive

As we’ve said, you can expect a few negative reviews. And, honestly, they aren’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, some people will find it a little fake if you only have glowing reviews. Most of the time, your potential customers are going to have the common sense to read a negative review and understand that some people are just grumpy or looking for attention.

9 of 10 people trust online reviews.

What can really help with this is having more positive reviews that will overshadow the negative ones. If you have a hundred positive reviews and two negative ones, most people will see that you are generally liked.

If you currently don’t have positive reviews, then you need to work on getting them ASAP. But how do you get positive reviews? There are ways that you can encourage your customers to review you:

  • Ask Them: You can always ask your customers to review you. However, you need to be careful. According to Google’s guidelines, you can’t offer any incentives for reviews.
  • POP Display: Create point of purchase displays that ask them to review you. Make sure you first identify the top places that your customers come in contact with you.
  • Email Them: You can use your email marketing to help you gain reviews. You can email them and ask by putting a link at the bottom of your email.
  • Frequent Flyers: Ask those who are repeat customers. If they keep coming back to you, chances are that they like you and will be glad to leave you a review.
  • Social Media: You can ask your followers on social media to review you, but you want to make sure that you don’t make it too easy to also leave negative reviews.

If you can’t beat them, outrank them

If you find that you have a negative review on just one site, you can work on outranking that site and pushing them down the SERPs. Obviously, for this to work, you need to have positive reviews on other sites. In order to make this work, link to the positive reviews on your website and social media. Then, start doing a little undercover promotion of these sites.

Even better  might be to outrank their review with new positive reviews on the same site. Those will appear above the bad review and if you get enough of them they might even push the negative review off the page.

Online Reputation Management

Handle online reviews well and see your business grow.Online reputation management is defined as “a strategy and process of monitoring, identifying, and influencing your digital reputation and credibility online.” By now I’m confident you understand that you need to know what people are saying about you online. Your reputation is everything, in today’s competitive market. With more and more people trusting reviews, you really need to be paying attention to what people are saying about you online.

Monitoring your digital reputation and what people are saying about you online idn’t just about combating the bad online reviews. While that’s a great part of it, you can also gain insightful information from online reputation management: it gives you the ability to understand and benefit from what people are saying about you.

Say you are a plumbing company in Atlanta who’s monitoring tweets with [Plumbing + Atlanta], and you see that people are complaining that no other company will service a certain area. You might realize it really wouldn’t take much to go to that area. Now you’ve tapped into a brand new market and outsmarted your competition.

Conclusion

Don’t think it’s the end of the world when you get a bad online review. One or two aren’t going to kill your business, but you do need to be mindful of the customer and the situation. Make sure you contact them and do everything you can to make it right. Sometimes, just showing you care can make all the difference.

Thanks to Ron Dod for this post and for his patience with my gentle editing. He’s a partner and CEO of Visiture, LLC. After founding Grey Umbrella Marketing, an internet marketing agency which focuses on SEO for eCommerce businesses, he merged with Visiture to create a full service search marketing offering including PPC for eCommerce businesses. He holds a Masters in the Science of Marketing from Florida State University and is certified in Google Adwords & Analytics.

We have a program specially designed for online review management of  local businesses. Call me and ask about it!

Find other posts on the subject of reviews here.

Think we can benefit with your experience with bad online reviews? Please share in the comments below.

Think others can benefit from the information here? Please share it with the buttons on the left. Or give us a +1 or a Like at the top of the page.