There was a time when phone books and directories were the chosen methods of communication between businesses and customers. And this was especially applicable for local businesses. Whenever people wanted to look for a localized service, they looked up directories for contacts. Along with general directories, Yellow Pages were also a source of contacts for local businesses. But times are changing now. Businesses are looking towards advanced modes of communications so that they can connect with customers in a better manner. And internet is paying a pivotal role in the same. People are searching for local businesses on search engines by typing in relevant keywords.
Apart from searching on the web for local businesses, many people are also finding relevant contacts from various social media platforms. As per Crowdspring, a leading company handling web designing and logo designing, almost 50% of local businesses have opined that they have got new customers via social media platforms. Two most influential and effective social media platforms in this regard are LinkedIn and Facebook. The use of social media is no more limited to enhancing visibility of the local business online, but also a mode of establishing connections with customers. People can have direct communications with local businesses via social media and express their opinions regarding the product or service offered by the company.
Social media is also not the same as it was few years back. Most of the social media sites now have options of local search. And this has helped in getting better rankings of the local business on search engines. Suppose you own a coffee store and offer some exquisite quality coffee to your customers. But unfortunately your coffee shop does not feature in the top local search results on the internet. People looking for local coffee shop in the area will miss out your store and go to some other place. The way searches are made is also changing. People are learning to search for local business via social media. A recent local search survey suggests that Facebook is used by almost 91% people for finding a local business online.
We all know that online purchasing is gaining immense popularity with people, particularly with the younger generation. Many local businesses are going online as they understand the impact that it has on general masses now. And when one intends to make an online purchase, it starts with online search. Now people are leveraging social media platforms for such searches. Infact reports have shown that 46% of online users consider accountability of social media when they are taking a decision of purchasing something online.
One tool that is creating great impact for local businesses in social media is Facebook’s ‘graph search’. It is kind of local search engine available on the social network. Along with finding the local place, you will also get recommendations and reviews of the place. So you know beforehand what the local business is like (it can be a store, coffee shop, restaurant etc). You will also come to know whether your friends like it or not. Research shows that 68% of Facebook users opine that recommendations from friends help in choosing a product or a service from a local business or any e-commerce portal.
Gone are the days when businesses were targeted for making profits solely. Today it is important to make connections with customers along with maintaining profit margins. Creating a relationship with the customer becomes a handy tool for attracting more customers. And this is where social media plays a pivotal role. Local businesses can provide all their information on the social media platform along with reviews and recommendations. There is nothing more that customers will look for.
On an average almost 50% B2C companies have opined that they have got considerable numbers of customers through Facebook. Twitter, another social media giant has also worked on local search and introduced ‘lead generation cards’ for the same. Local businesses can create promotional offers via the same. Seven kinds of Twitter cards are available and the follower has to expand the tweet to see the offer.
It is becoming quite evident with each passing day that the results that are obtained through social media local search are much better than general searches on search engines while looking for a local business. Social media search definitely has a competitive edge.