Everything listed under: Social Media

  • 5 websites every small business / organization needs to be listed on


    [Pic credit: "Waterlogged phonebook." by Rich Anderson is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Cropped.]

    You need to be listed online.

    Period.

    It doesn’t matter the size or scope of your business/organization, if you can’t be found (easily) online, you might as well be invisible to majority of people searching for what you offer.

    I’ve listed the top five websites (plus some extras) to help you reach the masses and are all pretty simple to set up and free (or have a free option).

    1. Search engines sites: listed below are the big three, but Google is a must.

    Google Places for Business
    Bing Places for Business
    Yahoo Local Listing

    2. Facebook Business: one billion users, half of those people use it everyday. Not to mention, Facebook is on 75% of all smart phones.

    3. Yelp: this site is the go to for millions people looking for reviews and recommendations. If you don’t list your business/organization, someone else might.

    4. Foursquare: like Yelp, it lists comments and feedback, but also encourages connections by having customers check in.

    5. Directories: even though the phone book has gone the way of the dinosaurs, online listings are still a good place for people to find you. Choose one or two (or all) of the directories below to improve your chances of being found. (Be advised, these companies have a reputation of contacting you to upsell you advertising.)

    Manta
    Yellowbook
    Yellow Pages
    White Pages
    Superpages

    One other thing you might take into consideration: create a simple website. You don’t need anything too fancy, but it should look nice and include your basic (up-to-date) info. Send me an email if you need help setting any of this up.

  • Front door: what should and shouldn't be there

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/chunter01/

    Unless you own a business that has an iconic front door (i.e. Gothic church style, submarine portal, barn entry, etc.), you need to be more concerned about what goes on that open, blank canvas, greeting all those who enter, than your probably are. Here’s the basics:

    Business basics. Name, address, phone number, and website address are essential. You don’t have to cover every inch of space, but you do need something letting people know they’re at the right place. Also, if there is a multitude of doors leading into your place, consider directing patrons to a certain door to funnel the experience each customer will have.

    Branding marks. This could be anything from a logo to a tag-line used in all your promotions. Consistency is key and putting something on the door to reinforce your image is always a good idea. You can also set the stage for what customers can expect opening those door by using putting a fun phrase like “entering happiness...”, or something even cooler.

    Hours of operation. Keep this as simple as possible. If you have odd hours which change constantly, I advise not making them the focus of the door, but have a switchable board to gives the day/week’s hours. You can also inform clients to check the website with the most up-to-date times.

    Social media connections. One of the most neglected uses of the front door is displaying your business’ online affiliations through the different social media sites. Simply adding the Facebook “like” button to your front door will drive traffic to your online conversation and can turn into a more dedicated group of followers. Be sure to use location driven sites like Foursuare, Gowalla, or SCVNGR to let people know you reward loyalty. They are simple to set up and can give you the winning edge over other similar businesses in town.

    Awards and affiliations. If your town has a best of award or a super active chamber of commerce, considered finding room on the door. Always remember that it’s what happens inside the business that matters most, not an award or affiliation that will keep people coming back. Get rid of all acclamations that are over a year old unless it’s nationally recognized, purely unique, or sequential.

    Take every advantage of first impressions by having your front door be clean, well-organized, and helpful to the people who keep you in business. Any other suggestions or tips you’ve found to be beneficial in your business or organization connected to the front door?

  • 4 suggestions if the weather is hurting your small business

    I’m sitting at a coffee shop in rural Minnesota, during one of the many snow storms that frequent the area, enjoying the solitude of the moment and drinking half a pot of coffee while I work. I came in around 10:30a and was one of only two people in the entire establishment. The lunch crowd was slim too, with only a handful of tables occupied. Now, at 4:30p, I can safely say that today was a slow day for this usually busy cafe.

    So what can you do if the weather has your customers at bay? Here are a handful of suggestions.

    1. Consider delivery. If the customers can’t come to you, why not go to the customers. Even if the weather is bad, it isn’t always THAT bad, especially in town. Many families would love to order in a five dollar lunch box...not just pizza. And what about a hardware store delivering shovels, salt, and ice scrapers...process the credit card over the phone and take the receipt with you for the person to sign. You may have to invest in a pair of cross-country skis.
    2. Online engagement. Don’t underestimate online relationships. You’re probably sick of cleaning and surfing the web sounds like a welcomed distraction...but why not use that time to build your business by creating a month’s worth of tweets and Facebook posts? Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are popular web apps which allow you to pre-date your statuses and will help you use your under-performing day to create an online conversation that will ultimately lead to in person or online transactions.
    3. Discount deep. I was asked by a restaurant manager what the most expensive thing in his restaurant was...I guessed a bunch of different items but none were the right answer. He replied, “an empty seat”. Before surrendering the day to Mother Nature, why not offer a crazy/brave customer discount to those who made it out. If you do this on a regular basis, you may be pleasantly surprised that the store is packed every time the weather is awful.
    4. Charitable contributions. It’s always a win-win situation when you’re able to partner with a charitable organization in town. So why not use the time to figure out a mutual event or sale that would benefit the community and your business. Anything from having a tip jar for the humane society to hosting a facial hair extravaganza to help foster kids in the area...the possibilities are endless! It’s also well-documented that being identified as a business who gives back motivates people to patron those stores more often. Like I said, “win-win”.

    As a business owner, what do you do when the weather has the customers staying home?

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Online Neighborhood