Leveraging Social Media for Local SEO
The question of social media’s worth in promoting local businesses is one that never seems to go away. This is despite the fact that just about every brand and business is creating a presence on social media.
It must be understood that businesses have moved towards social media because that is where most customers are gravitating towards. This is evident in the growth of users of social media services that has seen them grow as promotional vehicles. That is where the eyeball is.
Even then, it has been argued that the fact that a service has a wide audience does not translate to business. Consequently, critics of using social media for local SEO believe that, in most instances, these channels do not translate to sales and traffic.
While it is true that you may not immediately see the increase in traffic and sales on your site, social media for local SEO is rewarding. When executed properly, social media can leverage the power of local SEO to provide signals that will help your business rank better as both Bing and Google have admitted to using social activity signals when ranking sites.
The use of social media in promoting local brand awareness is critical especially if you would like to be a leader in the digital landscape and want to ensure your brand is using social media channels before they become obsolete.
How to Integrate Social Media into Local SEO Strategies
Wondering how to integrate social media into your local SEO strategy? Here are some strategies for leveraging six popular social media platforms for local SEO:
- Use Geofilters on Snapchat to promote your brand, then use local press, social media campaigns and PR to generate links and buzz.
You can utilize On-Demand Geofilters in a manner that will suit your business. You can achieve this by creating your own filter design before selecting the geographical parameters that you would like the Geofilter to reach as well as the dates that the Geofilter should run. Snapchat will review your filter design before approving it. This usually takes one business day.
Although these filters are ideal for local brands seeking to draw brand awareness, they are common when promoting local business specific events. Since Snapchat does not create web content, you can leverage this strategy for SEO by reaching out to local stations about your event while promoting the Snapchat Geofilter.
When properly done, you can be sure to garner links from local news stations. These will help in increasing the credibility of your website consequently strengthening your brand’s search engine positioning. In addition, this is likely to increase your local traffic to your site that will ultimately increase the chances of conversions.
When you get enough engagement, you can boost your SEO strategy through requesting your audience to save their Snapchat with Geofilter before entering them to win a random/best photo/caption contest through a social media outlet like Twitter and Facebook.
- Answer industry relevant questions within the expertise of your business on Quora to elevate your local brand
Although Quora is not completely digital source, it has revolutionized the concept of complete personalization using an open community forum. The site lets users follow select topics that are of interest as well as view questions other people are asking on those topics. This channel also provides an outlet for users to ask questions by seeking responses and help from the Quora community.
Consumers like engaging with personalized content. Thus, local brands can achieve personalization in every step of the consumer’s buying process thus increasing the likelihood of conversion and driving more traffic to the site effectively creating a stronger SERP position.
To build a local presence on Quora, you need to build your profile. You also need to follow topics relating to your brand as well as answer questions in areas you have expertise in, as you link back to your blog or site where they can find an expanded answer to the question that was asked.
Using this strategy will drive your content creation as you can tell those topics/areas that people are interested in within your industry. You can tailor the content to address the trends in the questions that you see on Quora. Be sure not to overindulge in branding by occasionally finding questions concerning your industry that you can then use to drive traffic to your site.
- Craft local business updates on Facebook
If you like posting updates on Facebook for local business without giving it much thought, you are doing it wrong. You can leverage local SEO for Facebook by carefully engineering your status updates to ensure they are targeted. In addition, they should offer better engagement as well as improved EdgeRank to enable more followers to see your status updates.
Increased engagement with your status updates is likely to widen your reach by optimizing Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm without which your updates will not be visible to your followers via Top Stories they will see when they log in.
Additionally, you can schedule posts so that they only appear during prime time when you have more followers interacting with them. Facebook has a feature that lets you schedule updates in advance so you can write them in advance. You may also use tags to optimize your status updates. While Facebook dumbed the marketing advantages of using tags, it is still worthwhile in making status updates interesting and interactive consequently increasing interactions with your audience. Tagging other related businesses in your update can also be beneficial in the sense that they might opt to share the status with their users which is another Edge Rank indicator.
You can also consider adding a location or events in your local area in your status updates, as this usually shows the location where your business is based. This provides a map and pinpoint icon. Targeting specific locations is also a good idea as your status can only be seen by users in the targeted area. Other ways of optimizing Facebook for local SEO include targeting by language, adding photos and emphasizing on special posts.
Facebook’s graph search also offers businesses an incentive to invest effort and time in their presence so that they appear in top search results for a wide group of potential customers. For your business to rank well in Graph Search results, there has to be a link between the information that is shared and connections of the person doing the search.
To leverage Facebook for your local SEO, consider the following:
- You may also consider having different Facebook pages for different locations. Remember, businesses have the option of including the place in their profiles that will be referenced to by the Graph Search results.
- Ensure the category, name, vanity URL as well as other information in the about section is shared to enable users find your business
- Where your business has a local place page or location, popular locale and address, these need to be updated to ensure they appear in results. Comments on or photos taken within your business may also be tagged by users thereby improving the ability of the business to appear in Graph Search results.
- Come up with ways to attract fans to your Facebook page and give them a reason to engage on an ongoing basis while there. Always ensure that customers have a reason to check your business or link to it on Facebook to stay connected.
- Have a strategy for the kinds of users you would like to connect to. This may be those with strong followers, local influencers, or a small yet important niche, among others. The ability to specify the types of friends you would like to reference while searching for local businesses calls for a more nuanced and deeper approach.
- With Facebook’s recent inclusion of the ability of users to rate and recommend businesses, ensure you keep an eye on what customers are saying about your business in order to address any issues before they escalate to real problems that will affect your reputation.
- Use knowledge to strengthen loyalty and improve service on Foursquare
- Monitor trend in check-ins to determine the slowest and busiest times of day or week. Determine whether the specials and promotions you share through Foursquare or other means drives additional traffic for your business. Come up with ways to improve business during the slow periods like coupons etc.
- Claim your business listing if you have not done so already. This gives you an opportunity to update business information as well as share updates on your business like upcoming events and upcoming specials.
- Be sure to take note of the faces and names of your top customers to ensure they receive VIP service whenever they come to your business. Follow their photos and comments to understand what it is they like about your business and use the information to better your offerings. You must do this with caution especially when it comes to how well you know the customers in person. Be sure not to divulge information that you have been reading or keeping track of on Foursquare lest the customers feel they are being monitored.
- Come up with promotions to reward those customers for stopping by especially since you know the names of those who visit your store. For instance, come up with a promotion rewarding customers that check-in at the slow period hours. When they return later, you can have a printout indicating they came and offer a special giveaway or discount
- Take advantage of this opportunity to get better insight on the driving force behind the worst and best comments left on your Foursquare page. You can also try matching purchase receipts to feedback left by customers to be able to make a follow up and improve the service or item.
In conclusion, integrating social media channels into local brand SEO strategy can be difficult. However, you can put careful thought into the process to come up with an engaging yet interesting way to use these platforms that will further your conversion goals.
Ultimately, you need to keep in mind that social networks turn over fast with most of them having an inherent short cycle. Nonetheless, this platforms offer a great opportunity for local branding. You can also take advantage of new networks to position your brand locally within the industry to capitalize on the excitement of digital service.
Social media and SEO go hand in hand. Thus, social signals are included in the algorithm ranking as they can also help in boosting search engine rankings if only you can leverage them well. A good social media presence can help give you the much needed boost with local SEO as well as overall rankings.
That is, the use of social media to market your business offers great benefits, but you will get even more value if you can leverage it to bolster your SEO efforts. You must keep in mind that certain SEO algorithms changes make it difficult to keep up to date with some of the best practices. The bottom line is: Social media has the ability to impact the future of your business through search rankings.