The term social media usually brings to mind big names like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, and Linkedin. However, the true essense of social media is the ability for a business to interact on a personal level outside of the brick and mortar store.
It doesn’t matter how many “likes” you have, it matters how many of them actually interact with your page. Interaction is the key to succeeding with social media. Which is why if you truley want to use the full potential of social media, you need to look beyond the big names.
Any chance you get to make an impression on a potential customer should be used. All the sites on this list give you the chance to post pictures, descriptions, and other relevant info. The more you can post the better. Not only will a more complete profile show up better in search results, but customers will build confidence in you more quickly.
While traditionally, social media marketing focus’s on the big names, but there are many more sites than just the typical ones that give us the ability to interact on that personal level. Here are my Top 5:
Definitely not the first name to pop in your head when you hear “social media.” Though its been a go to business directory since pretty much the inception of the telephone. Its grown from a simple business name and phone number listing on a yellow page to a profile that easily rivals Facebook.
It includes photos, a description of your business, hours, description of your specific products and services, and most importantly a place for customers to leave a review.
Making sure your profile is filled out as much as possible can put you above your competition not only in the search results, but the more customers know about you, the more likely they are to choose your service over a competitor. Profiles with photos, hours, service/product descriptions, ect. look much better than a simply business name and phone number.
YellowPages.com directory pages rank for many different search terms, which means not only an additional page in the search results, but quite a high ranking one.
Most people who hear Yelp usually think “business reviews.” But with the ability to not only give user reviews of local businesses, but to rate these reviews with Facebook style emotions, Yelp shares a few aspects of traditional social media.
Users share reviews with “friends” so reviews can have a far reaching impact, in either direction. You can also upgrade your account for $50 a month to include a “call to action” such as “Get a Quote,” “Join Now,” and “Schedule an Appointment.”
For another $50 a month you can restrict your competitors ads from showing up on your page, and for $25 a month you can put a slide show of pictures on your page, in the order of your choice.
For $75 you can have all 3, which saves $50. So unless your really interested in a slide show only, I couldn’t see a reason not to opt for the $75 option. If you’re going to upgrade your profile that is.
Again, the more in your profile the better.
Yelp pages also tend to show up well on Google so the more info you can add, the better your rank and the more your customers will know about you.
The usual social media style profile incuding pictures, description, ect. For $4.99 a month you can remove the ads from your page. In addition, you can purchase additional cities for your profile to show up for as well for $2.50 a month each.
An interesting feature good for local business is the MC Verified Badge. For $4.99 a month you can display a badge on your website proving that Merchant Circle has verified your a real person, and a real business. For $19.95 a month you can purchase “Hero Ads” which will put your business profile above others.
So there are a lot of paid features that really aren’t social media. However, for the free profile, reviews, and photos its definitely a must have.
In addition to reviews and a rating sytem, you get a blog. One of the more unique features I’ve seen for a business listing site, and makes it a bit more of a social media site.
Despite being the original user only business review site, the profile it offers is quite small compared to others, consisting of only a small description, photos, website, and other generic features.
Members can not only review your business, but message you directly through the site, which makes it a very social site. Any chance to interact with your customers fulfills the goals of social media.
If you’re looking for some backing, the ads on Angie’s List offer consumers a great level of confidence. They come with a 30-guarantee of your service and products which means even if they’ve never heard of you, they trust Angie, so they trust you.
Ok so this one is a social media site. However, its a specialty one for small business owners to connect with other small business owners. It offers all the regular features of social media such as local ads and connections.
It also offers discussions to join and recommends local business owners to connect with. Great if your B2B or even just to connect with other people in town. Remember, social media is all about connecting with people, not just getting likes and follows.
Don’t Get Wrapped Up In Terms
Your social media strategy should be based around interacting with your customers and future customers. It doesn’t matter what you call a website, be it a business listing, social media profile, or business review.
There are many many sites out there not on this list. Don’t be afraid to search your business on Google and see what shows up. You may have customers trying to interact and you don’t even know it.