For business owners, there is nothing more important than being found by potential customers. It used to be easy; we just opened the phone book. Today, we open a web browser, and the search results can be frustrating when your listings are wrong. I have done quite a lot of research on the topic and been successful claiming Google+ Business Pages, fixing incorrect phone numbers on search results and gaining higher rankings by adding information to internet directories.
If you have a listing appearing incorrect in search results, chances are something is wrong at the source. My sources explain there are four main sources feeding data to the major search engines Google, Yahoo! and Bing. The first place to start is to check out your listing at one of these data aggregators:
At a recent conference hosted by Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, an SEO expert recommended that you try to match EVERYTHING in your internet listings, especially your phone number, the exact way your business name is listed, and even staying consistent on how you abbreviate your street name. Since you are basically talking to a computer, it makes sense that it would see a street name of Daphne Ave. and Daphne Avenue as inconsistent. It doesn’t make it wrong, but the fact that it is inconsistent, causes the listing to not carry as much weight as those that are consistent.
Another recommendation is to do a search for your product name on Google. For various popular keywords, Google will display a group of local listings first. Make sure your business listing appears in the list. Not surprisingly, I have found creating a Google+ page for your business helps your business appear in the list. A good example is this Google Search for shutters in Daphne, AL. The results are good for local company, Beds and Blinds, and listings show their website in addition to their Google+ page.
Sometimes, a company needs to claim a page that is appearing on Google but is not currently being managed. It is a great feeling of accomplishment to claim a listing that is already appearing high on Google listings and maximizing it to show an updated description, adding photos or even videos.
Google will often pull information, especially for restaurants, from review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor or UrbanSpoon, and display the results in an inset box. If no one has claimed the page, you can tell by the tiny print appearing under the listing that says, “Are you the business owner?” Clicking on the link will take you to a page where Google will let you claim the listing after verifying using a postcard to the address listed, or a phone call to the business phone number listed. Other sites where business information appears have a similar verification process either by phone call or postcard.
Local search strategy is complex and is always changing, but getting your information listed, accurate and consistent can help your customers find you and, may even help you stay a few steps ahead of your competition.
–By Deborah York Geiger, Content Fresh
Pulling the Heart Strings
By Deborah York Geiger, APR
They don’t call them “heart strings” for nothing, and when it comes to Social Media, nonprofits have a significant advantage and I will tell you why.
Social Media is a tricky medium. It doesn’t always generate immediate actions that result in sales. The promotions that are successful take investment not only in Facebook advertising, but a significant investment in time, creativity and budget to create an artfully designed campaign. Some things never change. Just as in the past, the promotions that work, take forethought and planning.
Many businesses have become disappointed in their social media results. The big success stories have led them to believe that all they had to do was post and sales would come! People are finicky, though, when it comes to their social time, we have to make it interesting to have an impact. They will not seek out a company that is just pushing out ad messages, they simply won’t. We have to pull at the heart strings or elicit a powerful emotion to get their attention.
One of the best articles I have read on this topic is by Eric Jaffe. He sums it up like this:
“Recent research suggests that emotions hold the secret to viral web content. Articles, posts, or videos that evoke positive emotions have greater viral potential than something that evokes negative feelings, but both do a better job recruiting clicks than neutral content.”
This where nonprofits have a significant advantage! My advice to nonprofits is to take your powerful stories, past and present, and package them in a digital manner. Make a powerful presentation with your quotes, success stories and images using free services like http://animoto.com/ or http://prezi.com/ . Build a photo collage or an infographic using free tools: http://www.fotor.com/ or http://piktochart.com/.
Once you have the fresh content developed, announce it at a board meeting or your next public gathering. Provide it to your volunteers, staff and board members via e-mail or your social networks. Encourage everyone to tune in for the latest “sharable content.” Give them something ready to share with their own friends and followers. This strategy works best when repeated often!
Need help? I have a softspot in my heart for nonprofits, having spent eight years of my career working the heart strings. I would be happy to provide a free consultation.
About The Author:
Taylor Strunk is a freelance writer and editor. A native of Memphis, Tenn., she and her family now call Fairhope home. Taylor and her husband, Troy, have two children, Jackson and Ellie.
Daphne resident brings fresh outlook to social media marketing
Last fall, as Deb Geiger was working full-time in marketing and meeting the daily demands of her young family, she decided to invest the extra time she did have into a service project that would ultimately change the course of her career.
Utilizing her creative energies and technological background, Geiger help lead the social media portion of the “Invest in Progress” political campaign for the penny sales tax on the 2012 November ballot.
“I realized through the success of social media in that campaign to influence voters, and then through the impressive swing of the votes, that there might be something to this,” Geiger said. Her feelings were confirmed when she received the Medallion Award from the Public Relations Council of Alabama for her work on the campaign.
“Receiving that award was such an honor, and it gave me the courage to take the next step and start my own business.” And that she did.
Content Fresh was launched as a full-time venture for Geiger in June, and since then she has not slowed down. “Businesses can really benefit from social media and attitudes can change, and I want to help show our local businesses how that can happen,” she said.
When Geiger graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in geography, little did she know she’d be helping others chart the course in social media years down the road.
Incidentally, Geiger’s first job was as a cartographer.
“I have always had a technology mindset,” Geiger said. “I helped the company take 3-D photos and digitize them into maps…and I absolutely hated it,” she laughed. “I liked the technology and I am so interested in traveling, but when it came down to it, but I didn’t enjoy such a technical job.”
Geiger said she started thinking about her passions of writing, working with people, and graphic design, and decided a career in PR was exactly what she needed. “I took a job with Goodwill Agencies in Colorado Springs, where I was hired as assistant to one of the best PR professionals in the country, and she taught me everything I needed to know.”
From Colorado Springs, Geiger landed a job with a language translation software company, working as part of a team that took an off-the-shelf product to online software. “I was actually the sixth person hired on, and Glenn [who would later become Geiger’s husband] was the seventh. That job was everything I always wanted: investor relations, marketing and technology.”
Geiger and her husband eventually made their way to New York but soon found themselves unemployed when the dot-com crashed. “We were in Manhattan with no jobs, and we thought, ‘Where do we go? What do we do next?’ So we moved to Mobile!” she laughed.
The rest, as they say, is history. The Geigers bought a house in Daphne, started a family, and even convinced their parents to follow them to the Eastern Shore in 2003.
“Ever since [our move], I have been trying to find job to match all of my interests. I have had a good experience along the way, but I know this is where I need to be,” Geiger said of her company. “Content Fresh is about the ability to quickly deliver a company’s important messages. You no longer have to wait months and months to develop an idea. We’re here to help create the message – through press releases, info-graphics and status updates, and then deliver that it via e-mail, the website or social media – instantly.”
Originally Published online at AL.COM:
Top 3 Musts for a Productive, Successful Business Facebook Page
For those of you who may have missed my recent seminar on Facebook for Business, I shared some helpful pointers that everyone should know when optimizing their Facebook business page. In my small group seminars, I answer specific questions of attendees to customize the information presented so you may want to consider attending an upcoming class, but here are the basics.
1. Make sure it Makes Sense for your business
Not all businesses NEED to be on Facebook. Although many do, if you consider that recent statistics show that “one out of three people in the United States – more than 128 million – visit Facebook every day.” [Source: (Reuters article, By Jennifer Saba, Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:52pm EDT)
That is a pretty astonishing figure. Facebook has not yet released regional data for us to know how many folks from the Alabama Gulf Coast are using the network, but there is one easy way to find out: ASK. It’s the best way to know if your customers would happen to look for or would interact with your business on Facebook. One free, e-mail survey tool I have used successfully is SurveyMonkey. Or, you can see how closely the “average” Facebook user compares to your demographic. In an April 2013 article from Social Media Today, their analysis of Facebook reported the following:
- For Facebook North American active users numbers are declining
- The average age of Facebook users has risen from 38 to 41 years old
- The number of Moms getting on Facebook is rising sharply
- Teens are increasingly going mobile and Facebook is not their favorite app (new apps like Kik Messenger, WhatsApp and SnapChat that are grabbing the attention of teenagers)
2. Use images wisely. Let your Cover speak!
Recent updates on Facebook have made images larger and more visible on the News Feed in both desktop and mobile versions. Your Cover Image should be sized correctly to 851 pixels by 315 pixels. Keep in mind this is a very horizontal image and nearly panoramic in appearance. Facebook shares guidelines in their help section. Think of your cover image as that billboard you always wanted to post on I-65 — now is your chance! Just avoid the rookie mistake that could take your page down! Facebook limits the text on cover images and news feed images to only 20% of the total image size. Never fear, they have a handy grid measurement tool that allows you to upload your image and test it!
3. Take time to understand Facebook’s EdgeRank.
If you have spent anytime at all on your Facebook page’s Insights section, you may have noticed that very few of your posts are actually being seen by your fans. The statistics are quite shocking and show that only 17% of your fans even see those posts you have spent so much time developing. It pays to understand the Facebook algorithm. In short, the EdgeRank formula includes these three elements:
- Affinity: a measurement of the relationship between the fan and the creator of the story. The closer the relationship the higher the score.
- Weight: the type of posts (photos, videos, status updates, links, etc.) are each given a score based on the interaction and engagement from your fans.
- Time Decay: As a post ages it continually loses value. The best way to manage this is to post often. So you can see, fresh content is a critical component for your Facebook page in addition to your website! This is definitely something I can help you with.
Want more tips? I welcome engagement on my Facebook page, of course! I would also like to invite you to attend my upcoming 3-hour hands-on seminar Facebook for Business held in Daphne, Alabama on October 15 at 8:30 a.m.