Wednesday February 15, 2012 0 comments
If you're frustrated because you've invested a good chunk of money into your website but your brand is invisible online and your customers can't find you, today's newsletter is just for you.
I have included links to the blog posts I've written regarding these topics, so you can read more valuable visibility tips. When you start using my top 10 tips for increasing your online visibility, you'll soon notice a jump in website traffic and get that phone ringing more.
Top 10 Online Visibility Tips
- Get found in local search. If you own a retail business or other type of business that relies on local "feet" getting in the door or on the local community calling you for your locally-based services, then the first thing you should do is get found in Local Search - on the maps in Google, Bing and Yelp. Go claim your free accounts there and start scheduling a few minutes per day to check in on them and if someone has posted a review, be sure to respond immediately and in an appropriate manner - in the same way you would (or better!) in person. The whole world is watching. Well... at least your corner of the world is watching, locally.Lifeline: read this first, before you set up and start managing your Local Search listings: How To Build a Positive Online Reputation.
- Get your face on Facebook. Facebook is now as big as the 3rd largest country in the world, if it were a country. Facebook ain't going away, folks. If you've resisted its powers so far, don't wait any longer. Remember the days when, if you didn't have a website, people wondered why? Well, now that same type of thinking applies if you don't have a Facebook Fan Page for your business. Before you begin building a community in Facebook, educate yourself and formulate a strategy and goal; be consistent in your presence (show up daily, at least once per day or more, depending on how quickly you want to build interaction with your fans). Facebook Fan Pages can be optimized to show up in Google when people search by keywords. Lifeline: You can always post questions on my Facebook Fan Page and I will answer them.
- Social Search Optimization (what I USED to call "Search Engine Optimization" or SEO) is critical to your Online Visibility. Without search-friendly pages in your website or blog, you are invisible, especially if you are avoiding Tips 1 and 2, above. Lifeline: There are lots of articles on my blog if you want to find out the latest things that Google is up to Start with this one, about the "Farmer" Algorithm.
- Claim your Yelp and Trip Advisor pages by creating your free accounts there and filling in your business information, then start investing five minutes a day to manage your reputation. How would you like it if someone wrote a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, complaining about bad service or some other negative experience about your business? Online reviews are more powerful than a published letter in your newspaper because more and more people are learning to check out online reviews before they spend their money. Lifeline: For more about this important online reputation subject, read my blog post: How to Build a Positive Online Reputation.
- Google+ Profile and Google+ Business Page: When you search in Google for information about a service or product or whatever, you can now start a conversation with someone in your Google+ social network about whatever you're searching for. Need I say more? Think about that.
- Pin your interests on Pinterest. There's a new kid on the block and she's giving Google a run for its money: Pinterest.com (pin-te-rest) is a virtual bulletin board - the kind of bulletin board that hangs on your wall at home, with cut-out pictures of things you want to get and postcards of places you'd like to go. That's what Pinterest is, except that you can have several boards, each centering around one of your interests and your followers can see what you're pinning to your boards. Here's the kicker: Pinterest pages are bringing more traffic to my website and blog than Google and Facebook. And you can attract traffic to your blog or website when you pin pictures from it. As of this writing, Pinterest is so popular that the site has been up and down, which reminds me of the early days of Twitter. They need to fix their servers to accomodate their explosive growth. Be patient if you can't access it for a few days, I'm sure they'll fix it. If you need an invitation, I've got some left. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll invite you. I'll have another update on Pinterest in a couple more days for you. Lifeline: Read this post: Pin Your Interests On Pinterest.
- Mobile-ize your website. By having a mobile version of your webiste, (one that's "thumb-friendly"), you'll significantly increase your chances of gaining new business because only a tiny percentage of small business owners have mobile websites. When your local customers whip out their smartphones to find a local service or product, 88% of them will contact the business they find on that same day. Lifeline: Here's more information about how to mobilize your website.
- Regularly participate in groups: in Facebook or LinkedIn or in Tweet Chats - or all three - as long as you consistently show up with a goal and valuable information to the group, you'll begin to build Visibility, then Credibility and then Profitablility. Lifeline: here are a few I recommend: #LinkedInChat with Viveka Von Rosen; #Blogchat with Mack Collier; #SmallBizChat with Melinda Emerson.
- Join a membership site or networking site where social media experts hang out and help you. In addition to running my own business, I am part of SocialMediaBizSchool.com and we help busy small business owners figure out how to use social and digital media to grow business for a reasonable monthly fee. Lifeline: You can try us out for $7 for two weeks. We have a closed Facebook Group in which members can ask questions of us any time and we trainers are online so much that we usually answer your questions quickly. You get access to Viveka Von Rosen, the LinkedIn Expert; Denise Wakeman, the Blog Expert; Andrea Vahl, the Facebook Expert; Lou Bortone, the Video Marketing Expert; and me, Lori Gama, the Twitter Expert. We're all social media consultants and we're each focusing on one area in order to bring you a concentrated dose of each social network.
- In-person networking. Surprise! Yes, in-person networking is CRITICAL to your business revenue and your credibility as an expert at what you do. If you aren't out there, visible in your local community, meeting people in person, allowing them to get to know you, see your smile, feel the firmness of your handshake and listen to them explain their challenges and successes, you're not going to grow very quickly. Check out Meetup.com and do a Google search for "business women (fill in your city)" and "business men (fill in your city)" and "business networking"; check out your local Chambers of Commerce. Here in Colorado, I recommend these groups: Loveland Chamber of Commerce; WDCColorado.org; Northern Colorado Women In Business: (NorCOWIB) and Colorado Women of Influence (CWOI). Don't forget to check out your community's non-profits, as they are always in need of volunteers and board members. By doing this, you help your community, as well as get to know a smaller group of people to network with, who are usually the decision-makers of their companies.
What do you think of these tips? What are some of the ways you are working on increasing your Online Visibility? Tell us in the comments below.