July Is Independent Retailer Month – Happy Independence Day!

Early Happy Independence Day!  This is a special month for independent businesses and there is an amazing Shop Local campaign currently going on throughout July courtesy of www.independentretailermonth.com.  They have a Blog-A-Day Education program for small business owners and I’d like to share my post mainly because FB notes doesn’t allow clickable links:

Claim to Fame: 7 Ways to Boost Your Internet Presence for FREE

As an independent retailer, you probably have to handle most (if not all) aspects of your business: management, marketing, finance etc.  So it makes sense that small business owners usually tell me their primary nemesis is time.  Advancements in technology and mobility have made the internet a necessity to effectively run your business.  Pair it with a capable computer, tablet or smartphone and the internet becomes a powerful tool for you as it essentially functions as your personal assistant.  Since you’re reading this, you most likely already use it to do research.  You probably take advantage of online tools to pay bills, schedule meetings and share files.  But are you using the internet to its full potential?   With the rapid growth of social media, you can now connect and engage with your customers (I prefer guests) like never before.  No matter how expansive the internet is with seemingly infinite websites to visit, you can claim your internet fame!  My guide will show you 7 ways to boost your internet presence for free.

Although your business may already be included in websites without your involvement, there is a good chance some have incorrect information.  Therefore it is necessary to claim your business on search engines and social media platforms to boost your internet presence and influence consumers to visit you.  According to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online.  So let’s start with the top 3 search engines that allow you to claim your business:

  1. Google Places – If you haven’t heard of Google, I don’t know how you do anything online.
  2. Bing Business Portal – Still in beta but you can’t count out Microsoft’s search engine.
  3. Yahoo Local – With 160 million unique monthly visitors, what are the chances one of them lives near your business?

Now that you’ve secured your business on the most popular search engines, it’s important to familiarize yourself with major social media platforms.  Consumers are becoming more resourceful with accessing local business information so you want to make sure you don’t miss opportunities by claiming and managing these sites:

  1. Facebook Pages – If you haven’t heard of Facebook, you need a lot of social media help!
  2. Yelp – This consumer driven reviews site can really hurt you if you don’t pay attention to it.  Make an effort to respond to every review.  If it’s negative here’s a good guide on how to respond.
  3. Foursquare – The leader in mobile check-ins.  Active users who visit you can leave tips, and share pictures they take inside your business.  Make sure to acknowledge your Mayor (person with the most check-ins).
  4. The 3/50 Project – A site dedicated to raising awareness of why it’s important to support local businesses.  Register so you’ll be included in their directory.

Social media allows you to “humanize” your business and personally connect with your guests.  Claiming it is just the beginning of a long journey.  If you’d like to learn how to effectively run a successful social media campaign, follow my blog and bookmark www.baysavee.com

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