This is a question I get frequently from my clients. The honest answer is that not every business needs to be active on every social profile. So how do you know where to invest your time and valuable marketing dollars?
To begin, I’d like to define a social media channel.
According to Whatis.com, social media can be defined as any “online communications channel dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.”
Reviews of a business are certainly community-based input, so any platform that allows this type of interaction will be considered a social media channel and can include the following social networks:
- Angie’s List
- Porch, etc.
Now that we understand the types of social channels we’ll be looking at, let’s dive into some research tactics you can use for your own local business!
Hit the SERPS (search engine results pages)
One of the first places I look to see which social channels my client should have a presence on is by entering a few search queries that are relevant to their business and services.
The below screenshot is from an incognito, non-personalized search for the keyword “los angeles painters.”
That’s a lot of social networks appearing on the first page for this localized search term! In fact, for this particular query, 6 out of 10 results are social networks.
Barnacle SEO Strategy
A barnacle SEO strategy refers to establishing a presence on websites that are consistently ranking for keywords relevant to your business and services.
Results on the first page of Google get roughly 91.5% of all clicks, so if you’re not ranking, you can still increase the chances a potential customer will find your business by setting up and optimizing a profile. Even if your website is on the first page, increase your exposure by creating active profiles on the platforms ranking above or below you.
Which Channels Are Your Competitors Active On?
Competitive research can help you identify new opportunities and gaps in your current digital marketing strategy. While there are paid tools that can help assist you in this analysis, the free option is to do a little detective work and to see what accounts your top competitors are active on and where they are receiving reviews.
If a top competitor is active on a social network(s), it just might mean that it’s helping their business grow.
What’s Already Driving Qualified Leads & Sales?
As a smart business owner, you’re likely already asking potential customers how they found your business. However, many of your customers may not be tech savvy and fully understand the difference between some of your online marketing channels – especially those that appear in Google search results – e.g. organic, paid etc.
Having Goals set up in your Google Analytics account to track all desired visitor interactions, like a form completion or phone call, is essential for evaluating which channels are consistently sending new leads.
Let the data help guide the decision as to where you should be spending more time and budget.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
For the social channels you do decide to be active on, make sure you’re putting your best foot forward by having a completed profile which can include:
- Your business’s logo
- Business description that accurately describes who you are, what you do, and why you matter
- Photos of your best work
- Link to your website and other social profiles
- Accurate NAP data (name, address, phone number)
- Reviews – not mandatory, but many providers, like Yelp, include reviews in their ranking algorithm
The above screenshot shows the Houzz profile of Gerety Building & Restoration.
Each social network has unique opportunities for you to fully complete your profile, stand out, and attain more visibility.
Wrapping It Up
Hopefully these research tactics have provided you with some ideas about where to get started.