The Best Social Media Platforms For Local Businesses

The Best Social Media Platforms For Local Businesses

Social Media is not a new concept, but it is still underutilized by small and local businesses. There is a huge potential in social media to connect with your fans, and find new customers.

There are an overwhelming number of platforms available to brands right now, and it can be hard to figure out where to start. Our advice is simple: choose one or two, and do them well. It’s much better to do a good job on a couple social platforms, than it is to do many poorly.

With that said, here’s a look at the best social media platforms for small and local businesses:

Facebook

Using Facebook for local business

Facebook is an essential social media channel for local businesses.

Facebook is most likely the first platform that comes to your mind when someone mentions “social media.” If you fall into this category, you aren’t wrong. Globally, 1.18 billion people log onto Facebook daily (source). There isn’t any other social media network that even comes close to Facebook’s reach.

The sheer number of users is reason enough to have a brand page on Facebook. Setting up a Facebook business page is easy, and the benefits are immeasurable.

For starters, when you set up a Facebook fan page, you can add important information about your business like location, open hours, and more. Including this information allows your fans to easily

Facebook fan pages are also a great way to drive traffic back to your website. When your Facebook fans land on your site, you can convert them to leads, send follow-up email marketing messages, and eventually convert them into customers.

Having a brand page on Facebook also allows you to stay in touch with your audience, and present a more personable side of your company. Be sure that your content is solely related to sales. You want to be personable, engaging, and fun for your fans.

Instagram

Instagram for small and local businesses

Instagram helps small and local businesses engage their fans and find new customers.

Instagram is a photo and video-sharing app that is becoming increasingly valuable to businesses for marketing and engaging with their customers. With more than 500 million active monthly users, Instagram has a large and active user base.

The name of the game on Instagram is engagement. Here are some tips to maximize the number of likes and comments your posts receive:

  • Exclusive content: post images and videos that can only be seen on your Instagram account.
  • Beautiful content: Instagram users are savvy and creative, and know lackluster content when they see it. Don’t post a photo or video unless it has aesthetic appeal.
  • Personal content: post photos and videos that give your audience personal insight into the inner workings of your product or company. People want to feel like they are part of something—making them feel like an insider goes a long way!
  • Include your audience: find ways to feature your followers and promote them (with their permission of course). Including and acknowledging your fans will encourage them to continue to engage and share, and helps turn them into brand ambassadors.
  • Use hashtags: add multiple (relevant) hashtags to each of your posts to increase visibility and organic discovery of your content.

Twitter

Twitter accounts for local companies

While it doesn’t have as many users as Facebook, Twitter users are loyal and highly engaged with the brands they follow.

As of December 2015, Twitter had 320 million monthly active users, with 80% of them on mobile. Additionally, it drove 1 billion unique visits monthly to sites with embedded Tweets.

Just because it’s not the biggest social media platform, it has some serious influence. Twitter followers are loyal and highly engaged.

For instance, 60% of users made a purchase from a business because of content they saw on Twitter.

Being followed by users on Twitter is a strong signal of their affinity for your business. Your audience members are indicating an active interest in your brand, what you have to say, what you do, and are asking to hear more from you. Take advantage of that opportunity, but don’t exploit it.

A good rule of thumb to avoid being too spammy with your tweets is the “4-1-1 rule.” The 4-1-1 rule states that for every four early stage, light, and informative pieces of content you share, you can have one soft-sell offer and one hard-sell offer.

Avoid being pushy with too many sales offers, and instead, share content that is relevant to your products or services. Contribute to the Twitter community, and your fans will stay engaged!

LinkedIn

LinkedIn accounts to promote products and services

LinkedIn is a great place to promote your products and services to other professionals.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional network with more than 400 million members. Because of the professional nature of LinkedIn, the social media channel is especially useful for companies that sell professional and B2B services, but can be useful for companies that sell products as well.

Once you have created a personal LinkedIn account, you can set up a company profile. People can follow your company profile to learn more about your company. Use your company profile to showcase products, services, blog posts, events, and status updates. You can also share job openings when they become available.

Another useful feature to consider is LinkedIn Groups, which allow companies to locate potential customers. To find potential groups to join, simply make a list of keywords that relate to your prospects or the industries you target, and run a search for any LinkedIn Groups related to these keywords. Once you find the right groups, participate in discussions, ask questions, and make connections. Be sure to offer valuable input, rather than just promoting your services. The more knowledgeable and generous you appear, the more likely individuals will be to reach out about your offerings!

YouTube

YouTube as a marketing channel for your brand

YouTube is an excellent marketing channel for your brand.

YouTube is a behemoth in the social media world, but not one that often comes to mind when discussing social media platforms. YouTube has over a billion users—almost one-third of all people on the internet. And according to Alexa, it’s the second-largest search engine in the world (after its parent company, Google).

Use YouTube to upload videos that are informative and entertaining in nature. Since YouTube is often used as a search platform, your video titles should be customer-centric and descriptive so that users can easily find your content. Be sure to include two to three sentences that include targeted keywords in your video description. And always take advantage of the tagging feature, which is the way that YouTube determines the relevance of your asset and groups similar videos together. 5–7 tags are optimal and will ensure your video is associated with other videos that use the same tags so they can appear as a “related video” when users are browsing.

On all your video content, be sure to include calls-to-action, asking viewers to either subscribe or visit a link. You can direct them to your website to learn more or to a landing page to download a coupon register for an event, and more.

Conclusion

There you have it – our rundown of the best social media platforms for local businesses. While it’s not necessary to be on all of the platforms above, it is a good idea to choose one or two and start building your fanbase. It’s much better to participate in a couple of social media channels well, than it is to do multiple poorly. Your audience will appreciate the connection you offer them, and you’ll get new customers!

How is your social media outreach going? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Simple But Effective Ways to Improve Web Traffic for Your Local Business

5 Simple But Effective Ways to Improve Web Traffic for Your Local Business

In today’s increasingly tech-savvy world, the online presence of your business is of utmost importance. Without generating any web traffic, it’s nearly impossible for a local business to grow, let alone survive.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to improve web traffic for small businesses. With just a little bit of knowledge, you can spend an afternoon working on your website and see some drastic changes in incoming traffic over the next few months. Here are 5 simple but effective ways to improve web traffic for your local business:

#1 – Conduct a Simple SEO Audit

Making sure your website is on point from an SEO standpoint is the #1 way to drive organic traffic to your landing pages. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it essentially means making your web content easy for Google to understand and categorize. Your website consists of HTML, which search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing read.

There are several key elements search engines look for in your website markup that will give the strongest indications about your site’s content. Some of these elements include:

  • Page title – make sure the page title is specific to what your landing page is targeting.
  • Header tags (<h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc.) – place important keywords inside header tags to show search engines that these topics are the main point of your web page.
  • URL slug (the text in the url that comes after .com. For example: example.com/this-is-the-url-slug) – use keywords that indicate what the landing page is about. Do not use strings of numbers or symbols as they won’t help search engines understand what they can expect to find on your page.
  • Site navigation – your site navigation should be easy to follow, and break down into categories and sub-categories where appropriate.
  • Internal linking – it should be easy to get from one piece of content on your website to another. Search engines use internal links to understand how your pages and content are related, what the site hierarchy is, and general relevance for search queries.
  • Site performance and speed – this is a big one. If elements on your website or landing pages take long to load, Google and other search engines will view your site unfavorably (and so will your visitors… in fact, if a page on your site takes longer than one second to load, visitors are likely to leave before they even see the content).

These are just a few of the hundreds of factors that determine SEO performance. WP Hatch offers free SEO audits, which will show you specifically where your website excels with search engines, and where it could use some work. Contact us today for your free SEO audit.

#2 – Build Your Email List

Building an email or newsletter list is an important way to not only improve your web traffic, but also to get new sales and customers.

Having a robust email list is an easy way to drive traffic to your website, call attention to a new product or piece of content, and to make special offers to people who would otherwise most likely not be visiting your website regularly.

Creating an email list is easy. WP Hatch usually uses MailChimp, but there are dozens of other email service providers available at an affordable rate (including Campaign Monitor, EmmaConstant Contact, and many more).

Once you’ve created an account with an email service provider, you’ll want to implement an email capture tool on your website. Several new tech companies make this easy for you (we recommend HelloBar or SumoMe). These tools link to your ESP account and implement popups and on-screen messaging that encourages readers to join your email list.

As you grow your email list, you can send them friendly reminders about your services, products, web content, and special offers… all pointing back to your website, increasing your web traffic and sales.

Creating and connecting accounts with an email service provider and lead generation tool like HelloBar is simple, but if you just don’t have the time or have any questions, shoot us an email! We’re here to help 🙂

#3 – Make Sure Your Website Design is Responsive (Mobile-Friendly)

Did you know that the majority of Internet browsing is now done on smartphones? According to Smart Insights, 51% of digital media consumption is now done on mobile phones, compared to desktop computers (which comes in at just 42%). The crazy thing is that mobile phone Internet browsing is rising drastically, every single day.

What this means for you is that your website needs to not just work on mobile phones, but it needs to look great for your visitors. In fact, it’s so important that search engines like Google look at whether websites are mobile-friendly (or “responsive”) as a key SEO factor. If your website is not responsive, you’re missing out on some serious web traffic, and your search rankings are suffering!

Fortunately, Google has a great tool that will help you determine if your website is mobile-friendly called Mobile-Friendly Test (clever, huh?). Run the test to check whether your site works for mobile devices. If not, you should strongly consider updating your site to be mobile friendly. (Hint: if you don’t have access to a developer or web designer, WP Hatch can help!)

#4 – Use Explainer Videos

Slick landing pages are awesome, but a recent web trend for small businesses is to incorporate videos onto websites to describe offerings. You’ve probably seen some already—they’re often animated or sketched drawings that explain the core offerings from a business.

The key advantage of explainer videos is that they capture your visitor’s interest, and explain your product or service in a way that is easily digestible. Further, online video consumption is growing at a rapid pace, with many web surfers preferring to take info in the form of a video rather than text. If that’s not enough motivation, videos actually improve SEO for most websites.

WP Hatch offers affordable animated explainer videos. Our videos start at just $99 per minute, but act fast: prices are about to go up as demand increases.

#5 – Establish a Social Media Presence

Social Media is by no means a new trend, but the staggering amount of user engagement continues to surprise industry experts.

Social Media Statistics

Mind-boggling social media statistics from BrandWatch.com.

Establishing a social media presence is a great way to grow your business. It will allow you to engage with your existing customers and fans, turning them into repeat buyers. Having a strong social media following will also enable you to find a new audience, and convert them into loyal customers.

While having a strong social media presence is important for businesses of all sizes, it’s worth noting that not every social media platform makes sense for every business. It’s best to be selective and choose 2-3 social media channels to dive into, and do them well. If you aren’t sure which social media platform makes the most sense for your business, drop us a line! We’d love to help you figure out a social media strategy to grow your business.

Conclusion

The idea of making proactive changes to a website to increase performance and traffic can be daunting at first, but if you follow the steps above, you will notice significant changes in your web traffic in the following months. And this is just the tip of the iceberg—there are hundreds of more ways for you to improve search rankings, organic traffic, and online presence.

Are you on a mission to improve web traffic for your business? What’s working for you? What are your hangups? Let us know in the comments below!

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