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    This Blog Has Moved!

    Last updated 1 year ago

    We want to say a huge thank you to all our readers of the ReachCast blog. We wanted to let you know that in order to consolidate our blogging efforts at ReachLocal, we have moved this blog to blog.reachlocal.com.

    We’re still writing about all the same great topics, now just all from one place – our ReachLocal Online Marketing blog. Join us there to continue the conversation about Web Presence Optimization, social media marketing, reputation management, SEO, and the latest tips, tricks, and tools for local businesses to market themselves online.

    If you’re subscribed via RSS, please update your subscription by subscribing to this feed via RSS, or, sign up to get posts sent to your inbox via email! And, don’t forget to follow @ReachLocal on Twitter, like us on Facebook, circle us on Google+, and check us out on Pinterest to stay up to date in the latest in online marketing for local business from ReachLocal.

    Thanks again to all our readers! We look forward to continuing the conversation with you.

    Facebook Engagement: Getting Fans to Say "Yes" to Your Business

    Last updated 1 year ago

    If you are one of the millions of local businesses that are using Facebook to engage with consumers, then you have probably asked yourself, “How do I get more fans?” But the question you should really be asking is: “How do I get more engagement from the fans I have?”

    The reason answering the second question is more important is simple. According to this infographic of Facebook engagement statistics, for every fan that engages with you via likes, comments, shares, and other social signals, there are on average 34 more friends you can reach with your content. 

    See "The Simple Science of Facebook Engagement" infographic here. 

    So what can you do to ensure that you are engaging the consumers you already have? Here are a few key stats from the infographic and tips to apply these takeaways to your business.

    Posts with images receive interaction rates 39% higher than average.

    Thanks to Smartphones, taking relevant images for your business Facebook page has never been easier. Plus, with infographics, memes, and sharable photos available across the Web, finding images that boost engagement with your fans is an easy alternative to creating your own. If you do use someone else’s images, make sure they aren’t under copyright protection.

    Check out: 

    41%of Facebook users check Facebook up to two times daily.

    If you have a personal Facebook account, you probably see how quickly your Facebook news feed changes throughout the day. And chances are, your fans experience the same thing. So, posting fresh and relevant content on your business page is a great way of staying visible to the people who follow you there.

    Check out:

    25% of people who use Twitter or Facebook to complain about brands expect a response within the hour.

    Actively managing your entire Web presence takes some effort, but can result in a great online reputation. The key to minimizing negative feedback on social media is to always provide great customer service, on and off your social sites. But when you are online, make sure to keep your social media conversations relevant to your business, don’t overreact to complaints or negative posts, and monitor your feeds regularly to catch negative comments early, so you can help keep your fans and customers happy

    Check out:

    How are you using social media to engage with your fans? Have you used any of the tips in this infographic on your business’ social media profiles? Let us know in a comment!

    About the Author

    Tara Banda writes about how small business owners can reach local customers through social media and online marketing for the ReachCast blog.

    Optimizing Google+ Local Pages: A Quick Introductory Guide

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Google+ Local pages, the business profile pages that replaced Google Place Pages, are a key source of local business information online. If completed 100%, a Google+ Local page provides potential customers with everything they would want to know about your business, in one localized spot. Now more search and social-friendly than ever, your Google+ Local page serves as an information hub for your business and helps it index organically on Google and its maps listings when consumers search your business name or keywords. Here are four tips tor optimizing your Google+ Local page.

    Claim and Merge Your Google+ Local Page

    The new Google+ Local pages provide more robust information about your business, so it’s important to make sure it’s accurate and complete. For example, your profile page displays basic business information such as your address, phone number, business hours, and a website link, but unlike your previous Google Places pages, your new profile page also serves as a hub for reviews, photos, and videos of your business. If you previously claimed your Google Places page, you already have a Google+ Local page. But, if you did not already claim your Google Places page, or if you did not have a Google Places page at all, you have a little work to do to get started. Once you have claimed and added your business details, familiarize yourself with your Google+ Local page and begin promoting your page so consumers can connect with you there. Then, by merging this page with your Google+ Business page, you’ll have an even more robust hub that allows you to share social-friendly content with consumers. 

    Get More Reviews for Your Page

    With 72% of consumers claiming that they consider online reviews as trustworthy as personal recommendations, you can see just how significant a role reviews play in whether or not a consumer will do business with you. So to increase your Zagat rating on Google+ Local, ask satisfied consumers to leave you a review on your Google+ Local page. The more positive reviews you have, the higher your score will be, which can lead to more consumers trying your business. Having a high score is important as your reviews are highlighted in the map listings when consumers search for your business type. 

    Use SEO Best Practices

    With 85% of consumers searching for local businesses online, the importance of maintaining a strong and active Web presence for your business is becoming increasingly valuable. Regularly updating your photos and videos and asking happy customers to leave you reviews are two great ways to keep your page relevant to the search engines. In addition, doing simple things like making sure your address is correct on your Google+ Local profile can help ensure that your business shows up in the maps section of the Google SERP. Also, including a description about your business that includes some of your business-related keywords can help your business show up in the local search results, especially if you don’t have a website. If your pages are merged, the integration of search and social on Google+ means it’s more important than ever to make sure your page and stream of content is optimized for local search.

    Inform and Engage Your Audience

    A Google+ Local Page is local listing page for your business information, but when merged with your Google+ Business page, it also serves as a social site for you to interact with your current and prospective consumers. With the new option to post updates, you can add content similar to what you would post on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog, such as business updates, industry news, photos, videos and more. Posting fresh and relevant content on a regular basis can help you reach more consumers who want to connect with you, engage with you, and share your posts on the site.

    With more people using information online to help them make purchasing decisions – and more competitors using the Web to market their businesses – it is more significant than ever for your business to make it easy for potential customers to find you and learn about you online. Claiming and optimizing your Google+ Local page will provide an additional resource for you to inform and educate your consumers, as well as help you portray a positive online reputation, taking your businesses’ Web presence from meek to robust without requiring much additional investment.

    Have you claimed and optimized your Google+ Local page yet? What Google+ Local features are you getting the most out of?

    To learn more about claiming, merging, and optimizing your Google+ Local page, check out our ebook Google+ Plus Local: Your Guide to Optimizing Local Google+ Pages.

    About the Author

    Jillian Chopin is a Senior Web Presence Professional for ReachCast. Leading a team of WPP’s who focus on cosmetic and medical campaigns, Jillian is passionate about her career and about serving as a Web presence expert and “go-to-girl” for her clients.

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    Social Media Do's and Don'ts to Optimize Your Web Presence

    Last updated 1 year ago

    You may be a social media-savvy business owner who logs in to your social media accounts regularly, or a social media newbie who panics over every status update. In either case, you are taking steps to boost your Web presence, and that’s going to take some practice. So in order to minimize major social media mistakes, here are a few quick “dos” and “don’ts” to make sure your social media profiles show the best side of your business.

    Don’t: Brand Inconsistently Across Your Pages

    We have all experienced it: you follow a brand on Facebook, but when you visit their website, it doesn’t even look like the same business. Avoid this error by consistently branding your business across your entire Web presence, from your logo and imagery to fonts and even the way you spell your business name. By streamlining your Web presence, you not only ensure a smooth user experience but also present a professional identity online. Make sure you are using a consistent business name, logo, address, colors, and message on all your assets, not just on your your social media profiles, but also on directory listings, online advertising, landing pages, your business website, and your blog to establish your brand online. 

    Do: Know Your Audience

    When it comes to publishing content on social media, it’s critical to know your audience and the type of content they prefer on each channel. What conversations are they having? What are they looking for from your business? Chances are you have some of the same followers on Facebook and on Twitter, so cross-posting the same content may not be effective for engaging both audiences, so think twice before you “spam” the same content on every one of your social media accounts. Also, keep in mind the preferred content type and limitations of each platform; for instance, a long post on Facebook would not work in the 140-character limit of Twitter. 

    Do: Promote Your Social Pages

    Too often, business owners fail to grasp the importance of creating buzz about their social media pages. They spend hours upon hours creating and optimizing their social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or their blog, but their customers still may be unaware that those pages even exist! So, promote them. For instance, you can include your social media icons on your website, business cards, email signatures, newsletters, and in-store signage. Also, simply ask people during conversations or at the point of sale to join your business online. Turning an already-existing customer into an online fan or follower is easier than you would think…if you just ask.

    Don’t: Set and Forget

    One of the most common social media mistakes made by SMB’s everywhere is viewing social media as a one-time thing rather than an ongoing process. Your fans and followers connect with you on social media because they want useful content and information, but they won’t come back if you don’t give it to them. So, you need to regularly post fresh content like photos and videos, coupons and promotions, useful tips, and more, in order to engage your audience. Then, review your audience’s responses on each channel to determine what types of content work on each platform and how often you should post.  Remember that building your Web presence and driving engagement is a marathon, not a sprint, so you won’t see results overnight. But keep at it; the more you become an active participant in your discussions online, the more your audience will come back and share your business with their friends.

    Social media can provide boundless opportunities for you to connect with your customers online. Following these few simple social media dos and don’ts will ensure that you and your business reap the benefits of social media marketing. 

    What other social media dos and don'ts would be on your list? Let us know in the comments!

    About the Author

    Jillian Chopin is a Senior Web Presence Professional for ReachCast. Leading a team of WPP’s who focus on cosmetic and medical campaigns, Jillian is passionate about her career and about serving as a Web presence expert and “go-to-girl” for her clients.

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    Study: People Who Own Smartphones and Tablets Perform 21 Local Searches Per Week

    Last updated 1 year ago

    It’s no secret that mobile search is on the rise, now that more Americans own Smartphones than they do feature phones.

    A new study illustrates this mobile search growth with a survey of 1,100 U.S. adults. According to the results, people who own a PC, Smartphone, and a tablet conduct an average of at least 21 local searches per week, compared with 13.5 local searches per week by people who own a PC and a Smartphone. In steep contrast, people who don’t own a Smartphone conduct an average of 5 local searches per week.

    The study also reveals that Smartphone-based mobile searches are starting to overtake PC-based searches in categories like restaurants, entertainment, and retail. 

    According to another study conducted by Pew Internet in March, 46% of Americans own Smartphones, although this number is likely higher with reports that iPhone 5 sold over 5 million units in its first weekend and the tablet iPad Mini sold out in the first three days. 

    What do you think about this research? How many mobile devices do you own, and how many local searches do you perform with each one? Let us know in the comments. 

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