First? Remember the Internet is not a ‘Field of Dreams’
The internet is supposed to be a great place to ‘get found’ but with explosion of content on the internet, it’s hard to know where small business owners should focus their energy. I used to teach search engine marketing and social media at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and here’s my list of the most important things a small business owner should do [in descending order]:
- Google My Business. Register and verify their business listing with Google My Business. If necessary, get a free website for one year through the Google Get Your Business Online program or through Wix, Weebly or WordPress.com. WordPress.com would be my ‘best practice’ recommendation. See my previous post on Google My Business here. By the way, you may find it odd that I’d recommend using Weebly or Wix but most small business owners are either unable or unwilling to do the SEO work necessary for true search engine marketing so an inexpensive, easy to use website is just what they need. If you are hoping to get found in search, leverage your Google+ page and use a self-hosted WordPress site with the Yoast SEO plugin. You can get my full take on the multiple approaches to small business websites here.
- Facebook Page. I don’t like Facebook much but most small business owners know how to use Facebook and their 1.5 billion users mean that chances are good that your customers are using it. Ask them to check in and offer a review. If you offer free wi-fi, use a service like Turnstyle that will encourage customers to like your page and hand over their data.
- Twitter. Get a Twitter account! Twitter is fully indexed by Google and you can get set Facebook to autopost from your Facebook Page to Twitter at http://facebook.com/twitter. It’s a twofer!
- Yelp. Register as a business on Yelp. Completely fill out your business information and monitor your reviews for positive and negative feedback — both have value!
- Mailchimp. Mailchimp will allow you to send out enewsletter campaigns and the service is free to use if your mailing list is less than 2,000 people. Mailchimp can automagically send out blog content according to a predetermined schedule if your blog has an rss feed [and most do].
- Foursquare. Foursquare is not as popular as it used to be but if you’re looking to leave no stone unturned, create a business account on Foursquare and encourage people to check in.
Use Flipboard and Buffer to find and share great information on your Google+ page, Facebook Page and Twitter account. You can also add a free RebelMouse page like this that captures everything you share to your social media pages and brings it back to your websites.
This is just a quick overview and I’m sure I left something out. Questions? Feedback? Please enter your comments below…
For extra credit reading
I drew on these articles to make sure my thoughts were simple but comprehensive: