The Basics of Managing Your Digital Presence
In today’s digital world, businesses live and die by the phone. If you own a business and you are not managing your online presence you are taking a risk you cannot afford to take. This is especially true of any consumer-facing businesses such as restaurants and retail shops.
Eighty percent of purchases start on the phone. Today’s consumer is educated. They seldom make a move without first consulting their phone. Consider the last time you went out to eat at a new restaurant. What was the first thing you did? Most likely, you grabbed your phone and checked the reviews. You may have checked the website to look at the menu or checked out their social media presence to see their daily specials. It’s the way of the world today and as a business owner, you need to take advantage of it.
Social media marketing is more than an opportunity to shout about your business online. It’s the opportunity to build and nurture relationships. It’s the opportunity to identify your best and most engaged audience and turn that audience into brand evangelists.
But how do you do it? What does it really mean to manage your digital presence?
Manage Your Digital Presence - The Basics
Google My Business -
Seventy-five percent of the business owners I meet don’t know what Google My Business is. They have never verified their account. They have never added their business information and if they have, they did it when they first opened but have no idea how to get back to it.
Google my business is your business listing online but it is so much more than that. It is where you will change your address when you move, where you will update your seasonal offerings, create events and sell tickets, and most importantly it’s where you can respond to your online reviews.
For our clients, we review their Google My Business page weekly. We change their opening and closing times during snow storms and for holidays. We monitor their insights and are able to tell them when they receive the most calls, when people are most likely to check in at their location and where they go once they find their listing online. We add photos and their latest specials and of course, we monitor and manage their reviews.
Your company’s reputation depends on your online reviews. When was the last time you looked at your online reviews?
I recently asked a client about his reviews and his answer was, “I don’t look at them. I don’t care what people say about us.”
We looked at them together and he was lucky. His reviews were almost all positive but that’s not a guarantee. But after thirty years of being in business he had a grand total of 13 reviews.
Often small business owners are surprised to learn that their average rating is below 2-stars. Consider your own reaction when you are heading out to dinner for the evening. When you look at a restaurant’s reviews, how likely are you to go if you see that they have a 2-star rating?
Taking Charge Of Your Reviews
Okay, so now you understand that your reviews are important. But what can you do about it? How can you take charge of them? For our clients we:
Help clients receive more reviews by helping to train their staff to ask for reviews. In addition, we send out post-sale requests, specifically designed to generate good reviews online and have bad reviews emailed to the owner or manager of the business;
Monitor reviews daily;
Respond to good and bad reviews. Responding to a good review shows that you value your customers. It’s an opportunity to thank the customer for their loyalty and have others see that you care. On the other hand, if you handle it well, a bad review doesn’t have to be the end of the world. People understand that bad reviews happen but they need to see you care enough to respond;
Share the good reviews on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. This is another opportunity to thank your customers and show the world that you love your customers and they love you.
Social Media Management
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn should be used for more than talking about your latest offerings. They should be used to give back to your customer base. This is your opportunity to help your customers see what you stand for. It’s your chance show them you care.
A well planned social media campaign will let your customers know about your latest products, services and events while at the same time helping your customer become more attached to your brand.
Great examples of this are the running shoe store that shares the latest photos of their runners coming back to the store after a group run, sharing their runners’ successes and wishing their groups luck on their latest race. This campaign will include helpful information on training for a run, eating right and not chafing. It will include inspiration to lace up your shoes and get out the door.
Restaurants may do it differently. Yes, they will have photos of their food and drinks, but their most engaging posts will connect with their community. They will share the photos their customers share upon check-in. They will create graphics with their best reviews and thank their customers for helping them make the restaurant a success. They will create events on Facebook and engage their best customers before the event. They are creating a community around their restaurant because people crave community.
Small business owners who want to elevate their business to become the expert in their field or the place to turn to when in need, use content creation as a foundation of everything they do.
If you are in a saturated field, your content will help you stand out. Home service companies can benefit from content creation by creating blogs and videos helping their customers understand the many things that go wrong in their homes. Why is my air conditioner making that sound? Do I need to call a plumber for a dripping faucet or can I fix that myself? Why exactly does a loose outlet pose a danger to my family?
Content creation can include blogs, vlogs, live video, photography, graphic design or video production. While this can be overwhelming when looked at as a whole, creating a plan and taking it one step at a time, and hiring professionals can help.
In this digital age, having an online presence is a must. Your customers depend on their phone to tell them where to go, what to eat and what new businesses are worth the visit. What does your business look like online. Will they find you? And if they do, will they be encouraged to give you a try?