Tag Archives: Local

How to Go Local with Social Media

by Debbie A. Everson

Is there a place for a small neighborhood business like yours in global sites Twitter or Facebook? Business wise, is there an advantage? Of course, there is. The beauty of online marketing through social media is that it gets your sales pitch to everybody. This means that you can launch a local social media campaign to attract local customers, with the help of these global-catering sites.

Successful Local Social Media Stories

Here are a few of the entrepreneurial spirits that grew their business with the help of ingenious local social media campaigns:

1. Mars Cafe. They employed Twitter and MySpace to establish an easy-going relationship with Iowa University customers. A “Twitter Tuesday” promo for students and teachers is claimable with a school ID. $1-coffee offers can be claimed when customers know the keyword posted earlier at Twitter.

2. Expedia. Online travel booking company Expedia is operating globally but maintains numerous local accounts. Expedia Chicago tweets the best round trip deals to and from Chicago every day. Twitter customers also get last minute travel and hotel deals that are cheaper than standard rates.

3. Studio Movie Grill. This Dallas-based cinema house operates an online ticket reservation system. They use Facebook and Twitter for local social media campaigns filled with announcements on special movie screenings and promos.

4. Dunkin Donuts. Their local campaigns are a mix of corporate- and branch-level Facebook offerings. Customers get a close look inside their kitchens, learn about their chefs, and receive a steady dose of news on local stores everywhere.

Best Places to Conduct Your Local Social Media Campaign

Social media sites may be the microcosm of the world, but they actually cater to local online marketing. Here are some of them and how they can help localize your campaign:

1. Facebook

Every user that signs up in Facebook fills in profile information. The city or hometown part of the profile is useful in local marketing. Your business’s Facebook account automatically places you in the same network with users of the same location, city or hometown.

2. LinkedIn

Business people use LinkedIn to get connections with businesses in the same location or industry. Your product, skill or service gains wider local coverage. LinkedIn users are potential business partners, employees or customers.

3. Twitter

Twitter’s near-real-time and conversational tweet feature allows businesses to directly reach out to local customers. It has a search facility that returns users in particular locations, depending on the search keywords used.

Tracking Local Social Media Gains

To ensure that your local social media campaign is really helping your business and is not a complete waste of time, here are some things to do:

1. Set a goal. This may vary from reaching out to costumers, or increase online sales, or simply monitor brand popularity online. Goals serve as the baseline to track the progress of your local social media campaign.

2. Track your milestones. A quarter later, did you achieve your goal to get a thousand Facebook fans, for example? Take stock of your current progress relative to the past, to maintain direction or make corrections when necessary.

3. Use tools to measure performance. It can be Google Analytics to measure traffic, or a PR checker, or a customer satisfaction survey form.

4. Keep at it. Local social media benefits are not gained overnight. Followers, fans and your entire customer base are carefully nurtured with patience and through time.

Remember that there is no such thing as instant success in local social media campaigns. Good business sense plus a well-crafted campaign will be instrumental in increasing your business reputation and engaging customers online.

About the Author

Debbie A. Everson, CEO SearchMar.com, experienced SEO Consultants and Search Engine Optimization Agency to over 2,000 small businesses. Learn about search engine marketing, pay-per-click, social bookmarking, and email marketing at our SEO Blog. Follow us on Twitter @searchmar or call 866.885.6263 to speak to an SEO Consultant.

Forget the Yellow Pages; It’s All About Local Search

by Collyn Floyd

With yellow pages being out of date before they’re even off the printing press, it’s no surprise that Local Search on the Web has taken the place of dusty old “yellows” as the preferred method for finding local products and services.

Local Search allows you to generate search results by neighborhood, city, state, or zip code. It’s ideal for physicians, dentists, contractors, realtors, restaurants, retailers, or any businesses that serve customers/clients who come from a limited geographic region.

For example, if you’re a Northeast Ohio-based orthodontist, most likely your patients are also going to be from Northeast Ohio. Your primary objective should be gaining search engine rankings in the immediate region because that’s your “bread and butter”. A patient seeking orthodontic help in California isn’t going to do you much good, but one in Akron is a potential new customer.
Even if you need to have a national presence in the search engines, it still may be important for you to have a local presence. We’re a Canton Web Design and SEO firm. While we serve clients across the country, the majority of our clients come from a 50 mile radius. So while we don’t limit our Web Marketing to Local Search techniques, it’s critical that we have a strong presence in the local search results.
How Local Search Works

There are three ways to go about searching for local results. First, you can use a local search engine such as Google Local, Yahoo! Local, or http://www.local.com. Second, you can use an Internet yellow pages site such as yellowpages.com or superpages.com. Third, you can use a regular search engine like Google, but use geo-modifiers, such as “Canton, Ohio Web Design”.
Local Search Benefits

Local Search isn’t just convenient for users; it’s also loaded with benefits for the businesses being listed. Here are a few of the benefits:

* Free or inexpensive local visibility and awareness
* Additional links to the site
* More visibility in the search engines
* More targeted traffic to the website
* More traffic to the brick-and-mortar store

Popular local sites

We’ve listed a few popular sites where you’ll want to make sure you create a listing. Of course, there are many more in addition to these, and your own community will have its own sites you’ll want to consider. These, however, are a good starting place:

* superpages.com
* Yahoo! Local
* Google Local/Google Maps
* yellowpages.com
* local.com
* citysearch.com

(Note: some of these sites charge a fee for inclusion.)
Local Search Best Practices

Getting effective local search results doesn’t just happen by virtue of having a website. You need to ensure your own site is in tip-top shape by following a few best practices. Be sure to put your address on the Contact page of your website and any other appropriate pages. You’ll also want to explain on your site how your business relates to the community. If you serve on any local committees or board or have any local media mentions, you’ll want to be sure to mention this on your site. Finally, be sure to spell out state names (OH Web Design vs Ohio Web Design).
Social Media and Local Search

With Social Media sites absolutely exploding with new users, it’s no surprise that some Social Media sites are offering Local Search options to help people connect within their local communities:

* Facebook – network with others from your hometown
* Flickr – join one of Flickr’s photo-sharing groups, many of which are location-specific
* Twitter – use the advanced feature to do a geo-search for local members
* LinkedIn – look for and network with professionals in your area

Recap

With Local Search making up anywhere from 60-75% of all Internet searches, there’s no question that Local Search is crucial if you have a geo-specific business.

When it comes to Web Marketing, local businesses actually have certain advantages over businesses with a national presence. Instead of having to compete on a national scale, local businesses can focus their web marketing efforts on a more targeted geographic area and even find success a bit easier.

About the Author

Collyn Floyd is a marketing and public relations specialist with The Karcher Group, a web development and search engine marketing firm based in North Canton, OH. She is passionate about helping The Karcher Group’s clients achieve greater online traffic, leads and sales through search engine optimization and marketing.

Location Marketing : The Latest Small Business Tool

by Ajay Prasad

The basic concept of location based marketing has been around for years but the internet, social media websites as well as ‘smart phones’, together are set to change it forever.

Simple yet brilliant phone applications such as Foursquare and Gowalla which rely on Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) have made it possible for business to communicate with their customers online. More commonly known social networks such as Facebook, Google Maps and Yelp too are catching up and helping make social media become an integral part of real world commerce.

Social networks and the so called ‘lo-so’ networks are an all new medium for Advertising and Marketing and the quicker do business comprehend them and adapt to take their advantages the better it is for them.

How does it all work?

Everything’s digital. Gone are the days when everyone kept a phonebook and a hefty copy of the Yellowpages directories, most of us today look for services and businesses online. Say it’s your first ever evening in San Francisco and the only thing in on your mind is ‘Sushi’. What do you do? You pull out your smart phone or switch on your laptop, visit a search engine website like Google and type “Sea Food in San Francisco” or perhaps even “Sushi in San Francisco”. Trust me, Google will let you in on thousands and thousands of results and is quite capable of leaving you all confused. What do you do? You click on the new Local Search Result Only feature. This would enable the search engine to provide you with results relevant to your physical location. You can then choose from a handful of restaurants, where you may relish your Sushi.

How does Local Marketing help Businesses?

Anyone on the streets, round the corner or even a mile away can, only with a couple of clicks on their ‘smart phones’, instantly find out about the services and goods your business offers. This new possibility naturally increases the on-foot traffic to your store and also encourages impulsive buying. Being published on online business directories allow anyone in the city to find your goods and services.

Local social media marketing is a form of direct marketing; your promotional material reaches out to real potential customers who are already making an effort to find you. Your promotional material is delivered electronically and on demand. It is, in comparison, an eco-friendly form of advertising as there is no hard copy paper wastage involved.
How do Businesses use Local Marketing?

Business register themselves on local marketing feature of search engines like Yahoo, Google, Bing etc, and on Business directory websites such as yelp to gain online visibility. It’s important to fill the business profile on such websites carefully.

Some companies opt for professional search engine optimization (SEO) for their websites. The importance of (SEO) is only to rise in the near future for not only would the website require to be indexed properly so they may be found within the general internet top search engines but would soon also require to be found by physical, geographic, location as well.

Another way businesses are using social media and location based marketing is to engage with their customers. Applications like Twitter allow building an intimidate relationship with customers. They act as an online mouthpiece where a store may talk of a new product launch or an art gallery may speak of a special event.

About the Author

Ajay Prasad is founder of Global Marketing Resources LLC that runs a number of ecommerce websites under its umbrella. Ajay’s functional expertise includes website strategy, marketing management, business development, consumer research, market analysis and strategic planning. SearchLocalHQ is an Orange County Internet Solution company that aims to develop an overall Web Marketing and Local Search Marketing solution for a small local business. For more information visit: http://searchlocalhq.com/