There’s no better a tool than social media when it is about optimizing your local search strategy. If you own a brick and mortar business, trying to gain higher foot traffic can become a complicated task to fulfill, more so with the growing online alternatives and competition. Today, the internet acts as the primary source of information and more numbers of consumers are looking up to it for local business information. The businesses range from cafés to local retail stores. In fact, a recent study by Google reveals that 50% of local leads gained from mobile users prove to add to the traffic for the same day! A higher ranking in local searches thus doesn’t just become an advantage, but a necessity.
Now how does social fit in? It’s true that a business can thrive using their social accounts and without a website! Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have come quite far today and has been dominating the industry requirements. When people love the food they eat at a restaurant, they are likely to ‘check in’ socially and leave a feedback/testimonial. Platforms like Facebook, TripAdvisor, UrbanSpoon and Instagram even allow these customers to rate and leave a review about their experience. Now, this information gets spread across the personal network of the customer and shared exponentially.
The more the number of people that check in, the better is your social ranking and the better is the chance of people finding out about your location and products. There are several opportunities that a local business can explore with social media. Previously, local SEO used to be a game based on quantity. However, after businesses were allowed to use geo-targeted keywords, the SEO business got into a different level altogether. So, where lays the advantages?
Social networks like Facebook and Google+ allows businesses to create category based pages. This would mean the opportunity to set up a social account for the business itself and interacting with visitors and potential customers directly. To fully realize and use the potential of social media, businesses should rely on consistent information across social networks, right from their addresses to product details. Also called NAP consistency, this would lead to Google bots validating the information and pushing the business higher up in search results.
Searchmetrics argues that the quality and quantity of business backlinks still play an important role in the overall SEO building process. Utilizing the various social channels for content distribution can be a powerful part of your local marketing strategy. Further, social sharing will inevitably increase brand awareness, wherein more people get to know about your products and services. As it happens, social media end users are also in the habit of sharing things that influence their positively. Now, each share is a unique post ID and since all link back to your domain, you can expect hundreds of quality backlinks.
Active social accounts of businesses and brands also lead to high quality of leads and traffic. When someone shares a positive experience about your business, it is likely that his/her friends, colleagues, family and other acquaintances would also like to try it out. Apart from direct leads, high quality traffic to your social account and business website will invariably lead to a higher ranking. However, you need to ensure that the marketing always sticks to high quality and shareable content. Use tools like articles, videos and Infographics to this end. Higher social traffic invariably improves different site metrics like pages per visit, bounce rates, time spent on site and other factors influencing SEO ranking.
The potential of social media is enormous. If you are yet to dive into the opportunities, start by building a Facebook account for your business, and Instagram profile and a twitter handle. Facebook account will also allow you to participate in other groups and spread the information among the likely demographics. There is no limit to un-intrusive advertising and the best part is, you pay minimal at most for the high profits.
Social platforms are networks with unique capabilities. However, a wrong social strategy can also cause an overwhelming disaster to your leads and reputation. Understand and be tactful of what you are doing!