With the majority of offline purchases being influenced by online research, local businesses better take care of their online presence. Consumers recommend businesses to each other via social networks, use local websites and mobile apps to see how others review a business, and use search engines to get the business’ contact information.
As a local business owner you might get overwhelmed if you look at the multitude of online networks, websites and mobile apps where you have to update your business details. While there may be over a hundred, only a few really matter.
Working with thousands of local business owners over the years we’ve learned that three services have the largest impact: Google+, Facebook and Yelp. Claiming and setting up a local listing for your business on these sites will drastically increase your visibility.
Benefits of a Google+ Page For Your Local Business
Google+ is Google’s social network. Google+ integrates closely with Google services like Search and Maps. Google presents consumers with the contact details listed on your Google+ listing, so updating it is crucial if you don’t want to miss out on new customers. Especially given that Google is one of the most prominent sites that consumers use to find local businesses.
For example, 35% of consumers use Google as their first choice for online business searches, so claiming your Google+ page is the cheapest way to increase customer awareness and interest in your business. Additionally, your Google+ account will connect you with over 300 million active users.
Recently, Google introduced a new Google Maps interface which is tailored to a user’s interactions. Based on a search query on the web or a mobile device, Google automatically selects the most relevant businesses and displays their Google+ listing address and contact information alongside pictures and ratings underneath the search bar. This increases the importance of updating your Google+ information with the latest details and images of your business.
Benefits of a Facebook Page For Your Local Business
Facebook is an online social networking website with a user base of 1.2 billion people. Facebook is a valuable tool in for attracting customers since 92% of business searches on social media happen on Facebook.
The social network collects massive amounts of data from its users. The majority of this data is not shared outside of Facebook, so for users to get relevant local recommendations for businesses, they search within their feed or use the Facebook search box. This means your business should be present and up to date on Facebook.
Facebook is increasingly looking to put all their local data front and center, and has introduced Facebook Local Search on mobile. Instead of simply providing business details, Facebook Local Search will show you if and how your friends liked a business. Another related initiative by Facebook is Graph Search which lets users ask for “Hair salons my friends like”, and Facebook will respond with salons that your friends would recommend.
Benefits of a Yelp Page For Your Local Business
Yelp is an online business review guide that helps consumers connect with local businesses. Yelp had an average of 132 million visitors during the first quarter of 2014, and is an important source for local business information.
According to data from Nielsen, 44% of Yelp users visit a local business after viewing their Yelp page, and 41% make a purchase.
Business information from your Yelp page shows up in Google search results, and consumers can now also find this business information on other services. Recently, Yelp partnered with Yahoo! and Mapquest. Yelp now fuels searches across these sites with local business reviews and listings. Claiming and updating the Yelp page for your local business widens your reach to potential new local customers.
Make Sure Your Local Business Gets Found on Google+, Facebook and Yelp
Consumers are using the web to find, research and interact with local businesses around them. Make sure you are one of these local businesses. Control your information by claiming and setting up your online presence across the most important networks, sites and mobile apps.
Once you have updated and verified your business information online, consumers can find and contact you. From there you want to make sure you’re able to build long-term relationships, but getting found is an essential first step. With updated local listings for your business across Google+, Facebook and Yelp you make a great first impression.