How to Set up Your Business Facebook Page for Maximum Discoverability

Facebook is no longer just for connecting with friends. Consumers are increasingly turning to the social network to search for and interact with local businesses. Business Pages give merchants the power to connect with existing customers and drive repeat business while also reaching a broader audience that can turn into new customers. Whether people are using a search engine like Google or Facebook’s Graph Search to find a business in your local area, it’s important that your Facebook Page is up-to-date and complete as possible so consumers can discover your business.

Here’s how to set up your business’s Facebook Page to ensure maximum discoverability:

1. Choose the right Page Type and Category.

You’ll want to choose your Page Type based on how your audience views you. For example, if you’re creating a Facebook Page for a museum that’s also a nonprofit, you’d want to choose the Page Type that includes “museum” rather than “nonprofit” if that’s how your audience is trying to find you.

2. Choose the best name for your Facebook Page.

It’s best to use your business name, as this will serve as the title of your page. It will show up when you post a status update or make comments. You can also include a short description here if it makes sense. For example, “Giuseppe’s Fine Italian Dining.” You’ll want to avoid stuffing your page name with keywords, as this comes across as spammy and people may be less likely to engage with your Page.

3. Include your address and phone number.

This information will help get your page indexed for local search results. In addition, Google places higher importance on pages with this information.

4. Include a subcategory.

If you selected “Restaurant/Café” as your main category, be sure to narrow it down with a subcategory, for example, “Italian restaurant.”

5. Include a description with the appropriate keywords.

Fill out the About section, Mission, and Company Description fully. All of this information is searchable on Facebook and other search engines, so you want to make sure it’s accurate and complete.

6. Choose a unique Facebook web address.

This is the URL people will enter to get to your Facebook Page. It follows a format like this: http://facebook.com/username. URLs are heavily weighted by search engines, so choose a web address that reflects an aspect of your business. For example, Giuseppe’s could use http://facebook.com/Giuseppes.

7. Include a menu, list of services, or product list.

When people discover your Facebook Page, it’s likely they’ll be interested in what you offer. If you use a service like SinglePlatform, you can include detailed product and service information directly on your Facebook Page. This makes it easy for potential customers to find what they’re looking for without having to leave Facebook to visit your website or other listings pages.

Talkin’ ‘Bout My Reputation – 4 Management Tips

As an entrepreneur, you work hard day in and day out to manage various aspects of your business: inventory, finances, quality, service. But one of the most important factors in success is one that you have limited control over: your reputation.
While you can spend lots of time and energy creating a solid brand image and telling your story to potential customers, the truth is that they’re more likely to listen to their peers—even anonymous peers online—than you when it comes to forming an opinion about your business.

It’s daunting to consider how much influence the public has over your reputation. But although some things are out of your control, you alone have the power to manage your reputation—both the positive and negative aspects.

Here are 4 tips to help you get started with reputation management:

1. Create a Forum for Direct Feedback

Want to avoid seeing rage-filled posts about your business on a public forum? Make sure that it’s easy for customers to come directly to you to share their grievances. If it’s impossible to reach you by phone, email, or social media, a customer may go from mildly dissatisfied to seriously unhappy. And unhappy voices tend to make the most noise.

2. Ask Customers for Feedback Soon After a Purchase

To encourage positive feedback online, ask customers to write a review or share their experience on your social media channels shortly after a purchase. Patrons are more likely to take the time to gush about your business if they have a positive interaction fresh in their minds.

3. Monitor Key Review Sites

Keeping abreast of both positive and negative comments means monitoring the websites where customers are writing reviews. Identify a few top sites to look at on a frequent basis; you can also set up Google Alerts to see where your business name appears on pages across the web.

4. Respond Quickly to Negative Feedback

No matter how great your business is, there will always be some people who write negative comments and reviews. While you can’t prevent them from airing their complaints, you can be proactive in responding to them.

Investigate each piece of negative feedback to see if there’s a real issue that needs to be addressed. If so, contact the customer promptly and take whatever steps needed to rectify the situation. If not, then decide whether or not to engage with the person. Each case is unique, and only you will be able to discern the right response in a given situation.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to reputation management, being proactive is essential. If you help cranky customers resolve their issues quickly, you can turn potentially damaging feedback into a big win. Likewise, if you encourage happy customers to review your business when they’ve recently interacted with you, you’ll be able to build up a collection of positive feedback to offset any negative reviews that others share.

 

[News] Square Gets Rid of Flat-Fee Payments

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Mobile Payment News] Square Gets Rid of Flat-fee Monthly Payment Option

News Source: The Wall Street Journal

Mobile payments company Square announced this week that it is eliminating its monthly flat-fee credit processing option for small businesses. All customers will now pay a per-swipe fee of 2.75%.

Previously, small businesses with transactions of $21,000 or less per month could choose to pay a monthly flat fee of $275 for the service.

Square stated that the change in payment options was prompted by customers who said the “caps and limits” of the flat fee were “inhibiting growth,” according to spokeswoman Lindsay Wiese.

Key Takeaway: Small businesses using Square may find it difficult to keep using the product with this change in pricing. However, Square’s decision isn’t too surprising—the majority of competitors in the payment processing space have historically only offered percentage-based fees. For smaller merchants, accepting credit payments from customers may still be a ways off. 

[Social Media News] Pinterest Adds New Place Pins

News Source: Read Write

Pinterest announced on Wednesday the introduction of a new type of rich pin called Place Pins. This pin type allows users to add Foursquare data to new or previously pinned images in order to tie them to a location. Users can add maps to their boards and add pins to specific locations.

Place Pins are the latest in a slew of rich pins developed for recipes, products, articles, and movies.

Key Takeaway: With this new Foursquare integration, it’s more important than ever for your small business to be present on both Pinterest and Foursquare. Make sure consumers can find you wherever they’re looking, and make it easy for them to share your business with others in a way that takes advantage of the latest social media features. Your business will reap the rewards in social word-of-mouth marketing.

[Social Media News] LinkedIn Adds Showcase Pages for Companies

News Source: TechCrunch

LinkedIn unveiled a new feature this week called Showcase Pages. This feature allows companies to create individual pages focused on a specific product or service, rather than having all of their items grouped together on the Products tab of their Company Page.

With this change, users now have the ability to follow specific Showcase Pages for products or services they’re interested in, rather than receiving all updates published by an entire company.

Companies can create up to 10 Showcase Pages. The feature comes at no extra cost, although the hope is that companies will pay to promote their new Showcase Pages with sponsored updates or ads on LinkedIn.

Key Takeaway: If your business has several products or services, this new Showcase Pages feature will help you provide more detailed information to prospective customers. It will also give you the ability to post updates for users interested in a particular product or service, allowing you to tailor communications to your LinkedIn followers in a more sophisticated way.

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know! 

Treat Your Customers Like People – 4 Tips for Personalization

Offering discounts, rewards, and other special perks has long been a standard marketing tactic to drive new business. But generic offers aren’t as effective as they once were.
According to a Gallup poll administered earlier this year, customers are increasingly underwhelmed—and even annoyed—by generic promotions. 66% of respondents said that offers were too general, 41% were irritated by unwanted offers, and 53% received offers for a product they already used.

The fact is, consumers are being bombarded by so many communications from so many businesses that it’s easy for them to tune out. Luckily, there’s a way to create more meaningful interactions that will get your audience to pay attention—a little personalization is all it takes.

Here are 4 simple ways you can start using personalization to benefit your customers and your business.

1. Personalized Interactions

Making your interactions personal can be as simple as using a customer’s name in an email or while checking out. A more sophisticated kind of personalized interaction might entail using a customer’s previous purchase history or requests to make recommendations during their next transaction or reservation.

2. Personalized Offers

Coupons and discounts are great—but not if they’re for a product or service a customer will never use. Use your customers’ previous purchase history or an online survey to assess what individual customers are interested in. Then you can be sure to create offers that people will be excited to take advantage of.

3. Personalized Loyalty Rewards

Just as with offers, loyalty rewards can be tailored to the interests and needs of specific customers. If someone is buying a latte from your café every day, give them a free latte after their tenth purchase. If someone is buying school shoes for their kids, give a discount on children’s sports shoes. If you don’t have the technology in place to track specific customers’ buying behaviors, surveys are a great way to find out what would be valuable to your audience. You can even ask for some quick feedback during checkout.

4. Personalized Follow-ups

A personalized interaction, either face-to-face or online, will make a great impression with a customer. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to follow up and keep the conversation going. Follow-ups can range from an exit survey after a transaction, a personalized request to follow your social media channels or sign up for your email newsletter, or a simple thank you for visiting your establishment.

The Bottom Line

Personalizing your communications, services, and offers will make customers feel that they individually matter. If customers feel that you care about them for who they are as opposed to what they buy, they will be more motivated to care about your business in return.

[News] Twitter Introduces Custom Timelines

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Social Media News] Twitter Introduces Custom Timelines

News Source: SmallBusiness.com

On Tuesday, Twitter announced a new feature called Custom Timelines. This feature allows users to organize and display tweets around a specific topic or theme.

Custom Timelines function much the same way as Pinterest boards do. Each timeline has a name, description, and public URL that can be shared and viewed by anyone. Users add relevant and interesting Tweets to their Custom Timelines, which other people can follow.

Currently, Custom Timelines is a feature only available through TweetDeck.

Key Takeaway: Custom Timelines gives Twitter users a more meaningful way to view and share content. Make sure your business’s Twitter account is active and sharing valuable information so that users will share your Tweets using this new Custom Timelines feature.

[Retail News] TripAdvisor Survey Reveals Uptick in Thanksgiving Travel and Spending

News Source: The Wall Street Journal

TripAdvisor announced the results of their annual Thanksgiving survey earlier this week. The results indicated an uptick in both holiday travel and spending:

  • 39% of respondents plan to travel for Thanksgiving (up 7% from last year)
  • 46% of respondents plan to spend more on Thanksgiving travel this year
  • 45% of respondents plan to shop on Black Friday (up 12% from 2012 numbers)
  • 57% of respondents plan to use a mobile device during their trip, with 40% of mobile users researching restaurants

Key Takeaway: This Thanksgiving will be a busy time for retailers, restaurants, and hotels. In the next couple of weeks, take time to prepare for the increased patronage by training seasonal staff, extending store hours, increasing inventory—whatever your business needs to do in order to get the most out of the holiday season.

[Economic News] Franchise Sector Powers 20% of Total Private Sector Job Growth in October

News Source: Entrepreneur

This week, ADP released its October National Franchise Report, which outlines key job growth in the franchise sector each month. Some highlights from the latest report include:

  • The franchise sector accounted for more than 20% of the 130,000 private-sector jobs created in October
  • 25,060 jobs were added to the franchise sector last month
  • Restaurants led the way with 11,520 jobs, followed by Auto Parts & Dealers, Hospitality, and Business Services

Key Takeaway: The franchise sector has continued to grow faster than the overall economy in 2013. If you own a franchise and are going on a hiring spree, take the time needed to invest wisely in great staff who will be committed to your business and your customers.

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know! 

5 Facts About Small Business Saturday

As a small business owner, you probably already know that Small Business Saturday is the local-merchant equivalent of Black Friday or Cyber Monday. This year, Small Business Saturday falls on November 30.
In honor of the upcoming holiday, we’d like to share 5 interesting facts about Small Business Saturday that you may not know:

Fact 1: AmEx Launched Small Business Saturday in 2010

American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010 to help independent merchants get more exposure during the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. Their initial marketing campaign included national radio, TV, and social media ads.

Fact 2: Social Media Loves #smallbizsat

Since its launch last year, Facebook’s Small Business Saturday Page has received over 3.2 million Likes. In 2012, Twitter offered $1 million in free ads for small businesses during the holidays. And hashtag #smallbizsat was used on Small Business Saturday over 200,000 times last year. That’s a pretty impressive showing for the new holiday on the block.

Fact 3: Over 100 Million People Shopped Small in 2012

After the first year, many people were skeptical about whether Small Business Saturday would become a permanent fixture. Participation by both merchants and consumers in subsequent years has proven these skeptics wrong. Over 500,000 merchants participated in 2012, attracting over 100 million consumers.

Fact 4: Half of Small Businesses Ran SBS Marketing Campaigns in 2012

According to NFIB’s Small Business Saturday Insights Survey, 47% of independent merchants used Small Business Saturday as a way to draw in new business in 2012. Of these merchants, 67% offered special deals for customers who shopped on Small Business Saturday.

Fact 5: Small Business Saturday Generated $5.5 Billion in 2012

Spending surpassed expectations last year as both consumer awareness and turnout increased, generating $5.5 billion in revenue for participating businesses.

Gearing up for 2013

Are you ready for Small Business Saturday 2013? Don’t forget to download your custom banners, signage, logos, and more from AmEx, and make sure to spread the word beforehand to current and potential consumers.

We wish you all the best this year, and hope to see you when we shop local over the Thanksgiving holiday!

[News] Nextdoor Raises $60 Million Funding Round

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Social Media News] Nextdoor Raises $60 Million in Funding

News Source: Mashable

Nextdoor is a local social network designed specifically for neighborhoods. This week, the company announced a $60 million funding round.

The social network aims to serve small, neighborhood communities, connecting neighbors in a way that global giants like Facebook and Twitter can’t. These neighborhood communities often serve as a hybrid of Craigslist, Yelp and LinkedIn. Users can get recommendations and information on a variety of local topics (everything from babysitters to local disaster alerts).

There are over 22,000 neighborhoods served by Nextdoor today. With this latest round of funding, that number only stands to increase over the coming months.

Key Takeaway: Unlike some of the larger social networks, Nextdoor is a highly local resource. The potential opportunity to spread the word about your business (or have your neighbors do so for you) is great. Check out the site and see if your community has joined yet; if so, you may want to get in the game early and create a profile.

[Auto Industry News] Meet Openbay, the New OpenTable for Auto Repairs

News Source: Boston Globe

Cambridge start-up OpenBay released its first mobile app and website on Monday. OpenBay’s business model is similar to OpenTable’s restaurant reservations and reviews: Car owners can solicit competitive bids for repairs and check ratings and reviews of the shop or dealership they’re considering. They’ll also be able to book an appointment and pay for services, all within the app.

The system is free to users; business owners pay 10% of the total repair bill as a service fee to OpenBay. The program has been pilot-tested by 400 service providers and over 600 car owners so far. 

Key Takeaway: Customers are focused on convenience, value, and quality these days. OpenBay fills all of those needs for the auto industry. If you have an auto repair business, this might be a service you want to try out in 2014. 

[Social Media News] Google+ Rolls out Updates to Hangouts, Photos, and Introduces Custom URLs

News Sources: FastCompany and Mashable

Google+ rolled out a variety of updates this week. A few highlights:

  • Hangouts now include a new geo-location feature that adds a user’s location to a message using Google Maps. They will also support SMS messaging and GIFs.
  • Photo improvements include an auto-erase editing feature, enhanced photo search, and a new slideshow feature called Auto Awesome Video.
  • Users can finally choose a custom URL for their Profile, rather than using Google’s auto-generated string of numbers.

Key Takeaway: In spite of ongoing skepticism, Google+ is one of the largest social networks, and it’s not going away any time soon. These new features will help you get the most out of Google+ to engage your fans, boost your SEO, and help people discover your business.

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know! 

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