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    4 Compelling Reasons Every SMB Should Claim their Local Listings

    Last updated 3 years ago

    If you’ve ever used a search engine like Google to find or research a local business, you know how vital online local listings are for promoting and managing your own web presence. From increasing your ‘shelf space’ on the search engine results pages to helping you manage your online reputation, claiming your local listings on review and directory sites is a worthy investment that can yield a lot of return.

    1. Directories and Review Sites Boost Your SEO.
    It’s a fact that more than 82% of consumers use online search to find and research local businesses. Claiming your local listings can increase your SEO ranking; the more places search engines can find you, the better you’ll fare when someone searches for your business. And it helps that search engines tend to favor review sites like Yelp and Citysearch when indexing the most relevant content. For instance, when a search is conducted for local Frisco business The Gent’s Place, Google yields results for their pages on Google Places, Citysearch, and Insider Pages, effectively helping them dominate the search results page for their business name.

    2. Unclaimed Listings Can Work Against You.
    By not claiming your listings, you may be unknowingly helping out your competitors. An unclaimed business may get placed below a claimed one in local search and directory listings. So, if your competitor has a claimed listing, the search engine may deem that business more relevant than yours. What’s worse is that your competitors can even hijack your listings in order to acquire your potential leads. It does happen: just look at this client, whose competitor had claimed their Google Places page right from under them!

    3.  Listings Are Good for Your Reputation.
    When you own the search results page for your business name, you can control more of the content people see about your business when they search for you. At a minimum, claiming your listings lets you correct erroneous or missing information, such as an outdated or incorrect location, phone number, or business hours, and maintain your info if it ever changes. Once you’ve claimed your listings, you can also actively manage your reputation by responding to any negative reviews on your pages and enhance your profiles with positive content like product or service descriptions, special offers, and engaging photos and videos that highlight your business.

    4. Local Directories are (Usually) Free.
    Claiming your listings usually only takes an investment of time – but in most cases, not your money. While some local directories do require a small fee, the most popular sites like Google Places, Bing Local, and are free for business owners to claim and update. However, most do require you to verify your listings via a phone call, which may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to be made. But once your listings are verified, you can update or add content as often as you like to make your listings as relevant as possible.

    Claiming your local listings can be time consuming, but it is a necessary part of optimizing your web presence. That’s why one of the many services ReachCast offers is claiming, setting up, and updating your business information on over 100 local directories and listings. To learn more about ReachCast, contact us today.

    About the Author
    Tamara Farley
    helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media marketing, and more as a blogger for ReachCast and ReachLocal.

    Thankful For: 5 Ways Social Media Marketing Benefits Small Businesses

    Last updated 3 years ago

    As we enter the holiday season, now is a great time to reflect on everything we have to be thankful for. Right now, more and more small businesses are using social media to market their products and services. So, this week, we want to recognize five ways social media benefits small businesses.

    1) It’s Flexible & Real-Time.

    One huge benefit of social media as a marketing platform for small businesses is that it’s an incredibly flexible medium to use. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, you can use social media to market your small business brand. Plus, there are a variety of tactics, tools, and strategies you can use to build your own program that fits your market, industry, and in-store needs.

    2) It’s Real-Time.

    Another huge benefit to using social media to market your business is that it’s a quick, real-time way to share information, offers, testimonials, tips, and more. This offers a very agile way to market your business, because you can go from concept to creation in a matter of moments.

    3) It’s Accessible & Affordable.

    Not only is social media fast and flexible to use, it’s also cost-effective. There are a variety of tools and platforms available to choose from. And, experts say that social media is actually helping level the playing field for small business owners.  It just takes an investment of time and talent to use these tools and tactics effectively.

    4) It’s Personal & Authentic.

    Another benefit to using social media to market your small business is that it truly helps bring your business to life online. As many ReachCast clients have seen, sharing images, stories , and events from your small business is a great, effective way to spread the word and keep customers talking about you online.

    5) It’s Everywhere, All the Time.

    More and more consumers are spending a great deal of their time on social media. In fact, a recent report showed that 25% of all website pageviews in the U.S. are on Facebook alone. As a small business owner, having the ability to reach local consumers where they are spending time online is incredibly powerful. Social media offers the ability to connect with large numbers of people easily, at any given time. So any business that has a dynamic social web presence has the ability to be in front of people where they spend a good deal of their time.

    Using social media to market your small business definitely offers a lot to be thankful for. What would you add to this list? Let us know by leaving a comment!

    Enjoy this article? Share it with your network on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn!

    About the Author: Tiffany Monhollon writes about social, marketing, and small business success as the lead blogger for ReachCast, a service that helps local business owners develop their web presence.

    Getting Started with Social Media Marketing: What SMBs Need to Know

    Last updated 3 years ago

    As a small business owner, you probably already know that social media marketing is a valuable way to engage existing customers. But what you do on social media can also increase your ability to get discovered by new customers because it promotes word of mouth, drives traffic to your website, and even boosts your visibility on search engines. Follow these tips to learn what every SMB needs to know about reaching new customers through social media.

    Go where your target consumers are.
    To establish an immediate presence on social media, create profiles on Facebook and Twitter, but keep an eye out for new and industry-specific social media platforms that attract your target consumers. For instance, creating a YouTube channel is a great way to share how-to or product videos with your audience. You can also join location-based sites like Foursquare and Whrrl to drive engagement with your target consumers by giving them compelling incentives for checking in when they visit your business and providing them with interesting facts and tips.

     Promote your social profiles.
    So, you’ve created profiles on some of the most trafficked social media and content sites. Now what? Promote them! Tell your existing customers about your social media pages through emails or in-store signage, and ask loyal fans and followers to share your content with their social media networks. Add Facebook and Twitter “follow me” buttons to your website to let visitors know how to easily follow your social media pages, and offer incentives to consumers who join your social networks – like a free dessert exclusively for your Facebook fans.

    Don’t be a wallflower.
    It’s important to know that social media requires participation. So, to get more fans and followers for your business, you have to join the existing conversation. Start by following other small business owners, influential bloggers in your industry, and of course, consumers who show interest in your products or services. Then reply to, comment on, and share their content, such as an interesting blog post or a local event. Many will follow you back if they see your profile page is full of valuable content.

    Talk about yourself – sparingly.
    Because social media is often the first time many consumers meet your business, you don’t want your stream of content to look like one continuous ad.  It’s important to post updates about your business, but like on a first date, only talking about yourself can easily turn someone off. So, it’s important to also share helpful tips, entertaining videos, exclusive offers and other engaging content that compels consumers to act. The more interesting your content, the more likely it is to drive engagement (such as a “like” or a comment), a social share, or a visit to your blog or website – which can result in a new lead for your business.

    Optimize for search engines.
    It’s not just consumers who love fresh content – search engines do too! Content posted on publicly-facing social sites like Twitter, YouTube and Flickr get indexed by search engines, giving consumers even more ways to find your content online. So optimize every social media post for search by including keywords, tags, and links that will help you get discovered by consumers who are not a part of your social networks.

    Track your social media efforts.
    One of the most often overlooked aspects of social media marketing is measuring your results. It’s critical to track data like fans and followers, engagements, and leads with a tool like Facebook Insights. You can also set up Google Alerts to discover what's being said about your business or industry, which you can use to create new content and join conversations that will help you reach more customers online.

    What do you think other SMBs should know about using social media marketing to reach consumers online? Which of these tips is the easiest for your business master– and which is the most difficult? Let us know in the comments!

    About the Author
    Tamara Farley
    helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media marketing, and more as a blogger for ReachCast and ReachLocal.

    Warning: Your Blog is Not Being Read by Anyone

    Last updated 3 years ago

    You’ve seen how social media and blogs are great ways for small businesses to engage consumers and current customers. You’ve heard that content marketing is a great way to drive sales.

    You’ve seen the statistics, like Technorati’s recent State of the Blogosphere report, which showed that the influence of blogs is continuing to grow. In fact, about 40% of consumers surveyed said they generally agree with the views of bloggers, and their trust in mainstream media is declining.

    So, you decided that now is the time for you to join the blogosphere and start publishing.

    But how can you make sure that your blog is actually being read? Try these five tips to avoid having a blog that nobody reads.

    1) Tell People About It. One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make is to launch a blog and expect people to come to it in droves – for no particular reason. No matter how well-written your posts are, people won’t read them if they don’t know they exist! So, tell people – like current customers, friends, family, and contacts – about your blog when you launch it, and invite them to join the conversation and subscribe to updates via RSS. To spread the word, you can e-mail contacts, post the link to your social media profiles, and consider adding the link to your business cards, ads, or email signature.

    2) Tell Search Engines About It. Another big mistake many new bloggers make is to hide their site from search engines – whether intentionally or unintentionally. Making sure your blog is search friendly is an important way to gain readers – both now and in the future. Search engines love dynamic content, so blogs are a great way to boost your search discovery. Also, submitting your site to blog directories can help search engines find your blog online. So, invest some time in making sure your blog is search friendly and optimized.

    3) Promote It via Social Media. Blogging and social media go hand-in-hand. In fact, the State of the Blogosphere report noted that social media are now one of the top ways bloggers are sharing their posts with readers, and the line between blogging and social media is disappearing. So, make sure that you are promoting your blog via social media by proactively sharing each post you write with your fans and followers. And, use a blogging platform that easily integrates social sharing through re-tweet buttons and Facebook like plugins, encouraging readers to share your posts with their social networks, too.  

    4) Coordinate Your Web Presence. As you begin investing in blogging and social media marketing, make sure your web presence is coordinated. If you’ve invested time, money, and energy building a killer small business website, make sure that you use it to promote your blog. For example, you can embed your blog posts directly on your site so that visitors can see and interact with your latest articles, offers, and tips directly from your site.

    5) Frequently Share Interesting Content & Expertise. One of the biggest challenges new bloggers face is the age-old question: what should I write about? This can become a huge obstacle in maintaining readership over time. Not only is it important to create interesting, shareworthy content, it’s critical to blog consistently to keep people coming back to your blog and not labeling it a ghost town. If you’re stuck trying to find ideas, check out these tips for creating shareworthy content to get started. By shaing interesting content like what's going on in your store, you can begin to bring your business to life online.

    Are you worried that your blog isn’t being read by anyone? Don’t worry too much. There are many benefits to blogging – even if no one reads it! Building a blog readership is something that happens gradually. So, start by using these tips – and keep on blogging! The more time you spend publishing, the more your readership – and your influence online – will increase.

    Do you have any questions about creating a blog that people will read? Share them in the comments section.

    Learn More
    If you are interested in learning more about how our ReachCast Pro Web Presence Service can partner your small business with an expert Web Presence Professional who will help you leverage blogging and social media for your small business, feel free to contact us.

    About the Author
    Tiffany Monhollon writes about social media, marketing, and small business success as the lead blogger for ReachCast, a service that helps local business owners develop their web presence.

    Does a Dynamic Web Presence Really Matter?

    Last updated 3 years ago

    In the world of online marketing, it’s often said that a dynamic web presence is key. Essentially, that means that any business with a constant stream of updates across the web will be more visible in more places where consumers are online – and to search engines as well. Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, blogs, and other frequently-updated sites help create this dynamic content, which keep your brand front and center online.

    But, how well does a dynamic web presence stack up in Google?

    Before Stasco plumbing, a company in Atlanta, Georgia, became a ReachCast client, they had one static website – essentially one way to get found online. Luckily, their unique name meant that their website ranked at the top of the organic search results for their business name.

    After they became a ReachCast client, their dedicated Web Presence Professional Germaine Paul began working with Stasco to build their local web presence. Not only did the company gain a consistent presence on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as their own Cast page, the company’s dynamic web presence – all content that they controlled – also began dominating the first page of the Google search results for their brand name.

    “Working with small business owners every day, I’m a firm believer in a dynamic web presence. I’ve seen firsthand how this can help them own their brand in search results,” said Germiane.

    Does your business show up at the top of Google when you search for your business name? How many of the first page search results does your business control? Stay in the loop to learn more about building your business’ web presence by subscribing today , or get updates straight to your inbox.

    Enjoy this article? Share it with your network on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn!

    About the Author: Tiffany Monhollon writes about social media, marketing, and SMB success as the lead blogger for ReachCast, a service that helps local business owners develop their web presence.

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