[News] Yelp Listings Integrated with Yahoo Search

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

[Listings News] Yelp Listings & Reviews Now Showing in Yahoo! Search

News Source: The Next Web

There’ve been rumors for a few months about a potential partnership between Yahoo and Yelp; on Wednesday, those rumors came to fruition with the release of integrated Yelp listings, reviews, and star ratings within Yahoo search results.

Yelp photos and listings information is shown at the top of the results page, with star ratings and reviews beneath the basic business information—following a similar format to what Yelp shows on their own site. A list of regular search results appears next to the Yelp content.

Key Takeaway: Both Bing and Yahoo are now integrating Yelp listings into their search results, and Google is a step ahead of the pack with the release of integrated menus. If you haven’t claimed and perfected your business listings on major publishers yet, now is the time! Take advantage of the latest technology by making sure that accurate, engaging information about your business is everywhere potential customers are looking. 

[Social Media News] Facebook Rolls out New Design for Pages

News Source: Mashable

Facebook has been pushing a number of design changes to its site lately, including a complete News Feed overhaul. This week, they began rolling out an updated look for Business Pages as well.

The new design includes a large right column with Posts and a left column with information about the brand or company. This revised layout makes it easier to users to follow the flow of Posts in chronological order, without having to jump back and forth between two columns as the previous design required.

Page Administrators can also view a revamped Metrics section that includes Likes, Post Reach, ad stats; soon, this section will also include a Pages to Watch feature, which allows you to benchmark your Page’s stats against those of similar Pages in your industry.

Key Takeaway: While not everyone is thrilled about the News Feed redesign, the new Pages design definitely helps improve the flow of content and makes it easier for Page Admins to check up on their stats at a glance without having to click into the Insights panel. These changes should help small business Page owners present content more effectively, and help their followers interact with their content more seamlessly.

[Ecommerce News] Instagram Grows as an Ecommerce Tool

News Source: NY Times

Instagram has long been used to share photos with friends, family, and strangers across the web, but it was never designed to be an ecommerce platform. However, businesses are now taking advantage of the social network to engage consumers with visual marketing and drive online purchases.

For Fox and Fawn, a local small business in Brooklyn, Instagram marketing was purely an experiment at first. Now, after a year and half of posting, the store sees 20-40% of its daily revenue coming from purchases made by Instagram followers.

Other brands have also found ecommerce success on Instagram, citing that the platform feels more “intimate” and “personal” than Facebook or Twitter, where brands tend to sell more directly to consumers via ads or sponsored posts.

Key Takeaway: The power of visual marketing isn’t going away any time soon, and Instagram is taking off as a great social network for both shoppers and marketers alike. If you sell items for your small business online, Instagram might be a good platform for you to try out if you aren’t already.

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

Google Adds Menus to Search Results

If you’ve searched for a restaurant menu on Google in the past week or so, you may have noticed something different. As of last Friday, menus are now being displayed directly in search results pages, rather than requiring searchers to click through to a restaurant’s website or third party review site such as Yelp. So far, the feature has only been deployed in the U.S.
Restaurants with more robust menus feature tabs with different sections that you can click through to see drinks, wine lists, appetizers, main courses, desserts, and more.

Menu Content in Google Search Result

You can also click on the “More about” link at the bottom of the menu; this opens a new page of search results that includes the business’s Google Local information in the right frame.

More About Menu Link on Google

Where is this menu data coming from? Google partners with a few third party menu providers, including SinglePlatform, who aggregate and distribute menu information for thousands of businesses across the U.S.

While Google is just pulling in basic menu item information right now, there’s great potential to do more with these menus by enhancing them with rich content such as photos, specials, announcements, and coupons.

For restaurants and other businesses with menus to share, this new feature provides a great way to engage online consumers who are searching specifically for their menu. However, the feature isn’t very useful for users who don’t have a specific restaurant in mind—a more general search string such as “Italian restaurant menu Brooklyn” yields no menu results from Google. Review sites and apps that specialize in restaurant listings still have an important role to play in helping consumers discover new local businesses.

If you don’t see a menu for your business in Google’s results, or see a menu that’s out of date, never fear: SinglePlatform can create a menu for you or update your existing one! Find out how on our website

How to Choose the Right Social Networks for Your Small Business

Most articles written about social media focus on what kind of content you should be posting and when you should be posting it to maximize your business’s reach and your followers’ engagement. But there’s an equally important item to consider before you even start creating posts: Which networks should your business be on?
The number of social networks—and number of people using each network—is growing every year, giving business owners more options than ever to connect with consumers online. However, no individual small business has the marketing bandwidth to curate content for every social network out there. So how to you decide where to invest your time and energy?

A Few Things to Consider

1. Your Industry

Think about consumers in your particular industry. What are their interests? Where do they tend to spend time online? What kind of content are they looking for? Based on the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to select the social networks that will appeal most to your intended audience.

2. Your Strengths

Do you write killer articles on your business’s blog? Do you spend after-hours taking photos of your products, or creating behind-the-scenes video tours of your store? Do you collect inspirational quotes and love sharing them with others? Whatever medium excites you, make sure to join the social networks that take advantage of your passion. Posting should be fun, not a chore!

3. Your Time

The limiting factor in social media marketing is usually time. How many hours a week can you reasonably dedicate to posting content, fielding customer service requests, and interacting with followers? From there, you’ll be able to determine how many networks you can maintain-without sacrificing your sanity.

A Profile of the Top Social Networks

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have become ubiquitous; others are growing rapidly, but aren’t as widely known. Below is a brief profile of the most widely-used social networks.

Facebook

  • Number of active users: 1.1 billion
  • Demographics: 67% of adults in the US use Facebook; appeals more to women, 18-29 age bracket
  • Content: News, stories, photos, videos

YouTube

  • Number of active users: 1 billion
  • Demographics: 67% of adults in the US use YouTube; appeals more to women, 18-34 age bracket
  • Content: Videos

Google+

  • Number of active users: 343 million
  • Demographics: 24% of adults in the US use Google+; appeals more to men, 18-34 age bracket
  • Good for: News, stories, photos, videos

LinkedIn

  • Number of active users: 259 million users
  • Demographics: 20% of adults in the US use LinkedIn; appeals to 35-54 age bracket, men, higher income and education
  • Content: News, business-related information, job listings

Twitter

  • Number of active users: 232 million
  • Demographics: 16% of adults in the US use Twitter; appeals to 18-29 age bracket, urban residents
  • Content: News, photos, videos

Instagram

  • Number of active users: 150 million
  • Demographics: 13% of adults in the US use Instragram; appeals to 18-29 age bracket, women
  • Content: Photos, short videos

Pinterest

  • Number of active users: 70 million
  • Demographics: 15% of adults use Pinterest; appeals to women, more affluent user base
  • Content: Photos, GIFs, infographics, other visual content

Vine

  • Number of active users: 40 million
  • Demographics: Younger audience, mobile users only
  • Content: Short videos

The Bottom Line

Choosing which social networks your small business will be a part of is the first step on the road to success. Consider your audience, business needs, personal interests, and features of existing social channels. Then you’ll be able to nail down which networks you want to invest in for the long haul.

Social Media Marketing for Small Business

By now, pretty much everyone with an internet-enabled device belongs to at least one social network. It’s where we go for news, entertainment, conversations, and information. It’s an integral part of our everyday lives, and it’s where we expect to connect with people, brands, and businesses.
You likely already have a social media account or two set up for your company. But having an active profile and actually using it to benefit your small business are not one in the same. Learning how to connect with your followers in a meaningful way that has a positive impact on your business takes time, planning, and commitment. That’s what social media marketing is all about.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing involves sharing content across social networks that users will then share with each other. Social media marketing serves multiple purposes:

  • To increase a brand’s online visibility and presence
  • To position a brand as an expert in a particular industry
  • To stay top-of-mind with customers and connect with potential customers
  • To drive traffic back to your business’s website or blog
  • To drive consumers to an e-commerce experience where they can make a purchase
  • To let followers know about new items, offers, events, and specials that will drive in-store business

How Do I Develop a Social Media Marketing Program?

Creating a social media marketing program is, on the surface, pretty simple. But the devil lies in the details, as the saying goes, and the details are what make social media marketing a challenge—but also a lot of fun. These are the basic steps involved in developing a social media marketing program:

  • Goal-setting: Think about what you hope to achieve with social media, where your customers are most active online, and what types of content will have the most impact on your audience.
  • Select your networks: Choose the social networks you’re going to join.
  • Create profiles: Set up consistent, detailed profiles on each network.
  • Follow people and invite followers: Connecting with other social media users is the best way to promote others to follow you as well. You should also make it easy for people to find your social accounts on your website, blog, and listings pages.
  • Share content: Whether it’s original content or relevant articles, photos, quotes, and videos, the content you share should be interesting and useful to your followers.
  • Track your performance: Look at the analytics provided within each social network and the traffic back to your website and blog from your social channels to assess what you can be doing better.

What’s the Benefit of Social Media Marketing?

Just because a particular marketing technique tends to be popular doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s worth doing. In the case of social media, though, your efforts will be well rewarded. A few reasons why social media marketing is worth your while:

  • Social networks are the online marketplace for word-of-mouth marketing. The more active you are in a social network, the more motivated people will be to share positive feedback with other users who might also be interested in your business.
  • Social media marketing isn’t just about selling your products or services. It’s about developing a community around the industry you’re a part of or the problems you help solve. Being a part of a dynamic conversation, rather than just talking at an end user you never interact with, is exciting stuff!
  • Social media marketing can help you reach a large audience without taking a huge bite out of your budget.
  • The conversations you have on social can help you identify improvements for your business and find the sweet spot for special offers, events, and deals. You can even field impromptu surveys to ask specific questions to your followers.

The Bottom Line

Social media marketing is is a simple concept that becomes complex during implementation. Now that you’ve got the basics down, we’ll delve more deeply into specific aspects of social media marketing to help you get even more out of your investment of time and effort.