Small Businesses, Big Impact – Use Your Voice and Your Keyboard
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Local business owners have to work more intently to stay top of mind especially in this generation of transactional relationships and spending much of our time shopping online. This makes it even more imperative when you patronize local businesses, you help spread the word.
It used to be that we have an amazing meal and then upon arriving home we pick up the phone and let our mom and friends know. Let’s be real, that’s not how things work anymore. 1) if you’re anything like me, speaking on the phone is something I try to avoid “ for the sake of efficiency, “ or rather, for fear of getting into a conversation and not able to get out. 2) you are probably already taking photos of your meal and sharing them either via Instagram or Snapchat or whatever profiles comprise your social media repertoire. 3) we are sooooo busy. Sometimes I drive to an area of town and can’t even recognize it. I work from home meaning I’m not necessarily driving around observing as much.
Okay, Tiffany, you’ve explained the why I am needed to support local businesses but what else can I do?
I’m so glad you asked! First, check into the location using social media! Whether it’s on Facebook or Swarm or you actually add the location of the place you’re posting those #foodporn photos on Instagram. Not only does it let more people know but it also creates social signals which can help others discover the business online. You can follow the business on social media while you’re bragging about them and just take notice if there’s a specific hashtag they’ve used in the past.
Second, take a minute and answer those questions that Facebook and Google Maps insist on asking you. You know, the ones you try to stop every time because you have no idea if the restaurant serves brunch? Accuracy in online listings is a huge ranking factor for Google, and other search engines though we know Google is the beast. Furthermore, if the business doesn’t realize their information is incorrect, they can’t fix it! Guess what? Local business owners are just like you and me! They’re busy and care very much about their patrons but sometimes things get missed. The last super AMAZING thing you’re doing when you update their information is to prevent buyer frustration!
What does that have to you? If you recall the last time you showed up at a business only to realize the location had moved; you’ll realize that by preventing frustration; you’re also creating more opportunities for people to partake in the wonderful parts of our local businesses.
The final item I’m going to request takes more time than the former two. However, if done correctly, not only do you help your favorite biz owner but you also get to feel pretty important when you start seeing how many people you influence. Even better if you follow this “tiffany-approved local SEO boosting methodology.”
I became a Google Local Guide when it rolled out and I’ve been in shock at how many people see my reviews and images since choosing to devote my time to updating everyone in the IoT with my feelings about businesses I frequent. I’m going to use a review I wrote recently for an really hip spot near Orlando, FL because as I was writing it I realized I actually have a format I follow and I recommend you do the same. Just to give your review a little more ooompph.
You can read my review and see the colored areas for what I want to point out that are super helpful!
In red, you will see I mentioned the location of the business, not once, but twice. I used the specific area a local would call it as well as if someone who wasn’t as familiar to the area would use.
In green, you will notice the keywords that is valuable to the business, aka what they are known for.
In blue, you see I painted a picture of what the space was good for. That way you can help set expectations before anyone ventures out. You are also giving ideas in case someone didn’t know they could rent the entire back of the space.
In purple, well that was just to draw interest and have potential customers look online a bit more for the local business.
All these elements are little things that can have a big impact if search engines are trying to get a full picture of what your favorite local spot does. Oh and speaking of pictures! Always include photos! It’s hilarious how many views the picture of my son’s fish has from my Pet Smart review!
Since business owners are super busy and may not “catch” something, just let them know politely if information is incorrect or outdated. All of us go online to feel more assured about our next investment, no matter how big or small. Oh, and of course, if you’re in the Dr. Philips area of Orlando, you should definitely stop by The Pharmacy for a craft cocktail and margherita pizza. Trust me!