Go ahead, do a vanity search (otherwise known as “Google-ing”) for your name or business. Do you like what you find? So often, people say they’ve done this and have been unhappy at the information they find. It’s old, it’s personal, it’s simply wrong. Don’t waste your time trying to get those webmasters to remove your information because they: 1) won’t 2) aren’t home 3) have been closed down 4) there are simply too many 5) they all get their information from somewhere. You can be proactive with your online information (see How to Get Started in Reputation Management) and displace it with content you DO want people to see. Or you can list yourself.
Why is it important to make sure the information about yourself on the internet is correct? Yellow Pages Association and comScore found that local search for businesses, products and services grew 58% last year and reached 15.7 billion searches, more than a tenth of overall search traffic. Additionally, see this Sprout Social blog to read more about the benefits of social media on local search results.
According to Internet Reputation Management, 94% of people do research before buying and 60% of those are going to research you online. They might use a phone, they might not. If they were to call you, they most likely aren’t using a traditional phone directory. People under the age of 35 probably don’t have a landline. Did you know that if you don’t have a landline, you may not get a book delivered to your door? It’s true. 18 states have enacted an opt-in policy for delivery and only 2% choose to receive one. Check out this infographic by WhitePages to see the status of the phone book.
Here are some tools that I think you’ll find helpful. Granted, there are more here than you’ll ever really use but pick and choose the ones you want to list yourself on. Focus on the biggies towards the top of the list and the ones that have incorrect info about you and get them the right stuff:
- Google Places
- Merchant Circle
- Manta (really common search result)
- Facebook (get a business page and list your address)
- Citysearch (click register to get started)
- InsiderPages (sign up then search for your business, claim it, or create your listing)
- Localeze (search for your business, claim or add listing)
- Angie’s List
- Get Listed (an aggregate and will show you what your listings look like)
Read more blogs by Kerry Rego Consulting on Reputation Management: http://bit.ly/krcrepmng
[Image via Sustainable SPC]
Sometimes I only get 30 seconds with a business owner. What piece of information do I share that will have the most impact on their business? “If you do nothing else, claim your Google Places page!” Why?
The web (and our customers) are increasingly mobile. It’s of utmost importance that your information is correct and available to the public no matter where they are or what type of device they are using to access the internet. Google’s goal is to provide accurate information when and where their customers need it. They have emphasized local businesses by giving them prominent placement at the very top of the page where they place paid ads.
Type in the name of your business on Google. You will know if one has already been created for you if you click on the red pin on your location. Those Google Street View cars may have already claimed your location. All you need to do is claim it as the owner. It’s takes a little time but it is free.
Now read your Place page. That’s what Google thinks of your business. Is the information listed correct? Does it link to your website and other web properties? It’s important because this information is served to other decision engines like Yelp, Bing, and shopping sites. It gets passed around and around on the web. Make sure you list your services, types of payment, hours of operation, location, website and pictures or video if you have them. You can link this to your website so that it’s easy for visitors to get driving directions.
That’s my 30 second social media business advice. Get your business listed!
I design Facebook pages. It makes sense that I’d tell my clients that they NEED to have a snazzy custom landing page, tricked out with all the latest bells and whistles. The truth of the matter is that users of Facebook are accessing the platform more and more via mobile applications. If someone can like a page without ever having visited it because of the like button/like box/or some other social plugin, that person may never visit your page. Where’s the value? The value is in the status update.
When someone navigates to your page that custom landing page is the slick cover of the magazine that attracts people to your brand. It gets us to open it up and check it out. You need to have quality and value, not just great graphic design. We want the information we sign up for to be worth our time. If all you have to offer is contests and fluff, why do you think people will like your page? Give them something more.
It’s not just the custom landing page. There are so many applications you can load into your page like Twitter, YouTube, UStream, LiveStream, LinkedIn, newsletter signup, contests, ecommerce like Payvment, and more. But what most people don’t realize is that because of the high level of mobile Facebook usage, many people have no clue that you even have those fancy apps. They simply can’t see them.
See these examples of how people see your page via iPhone:
The first view is through Facebook’s own application. I can only see the wall, info, and photos tab. You would have no idea what their custom landing page looks like, much less know they even have one. All the other applications they load in can’t be seen through this view at all.
So if you decide to access Facebook through your Safari browser, you see the mobile optimized version. Not much better.
The third option is the desktop version in Safari. Do you know how long it takes to view a page in this mode?I’m too lazy to count all the steps in both modes. Let me tell you, it’s a pain. Most people don’t even know that they are missing something much less that they can alter how they view it.
All that money people are pouring into their social plugins may not even be worth it. Think about it before you spend the money.
So, what I’m trying to say is, Yes, you can have lots of fancy bells and whistles. You can do it yourself or pay a consultant such as myself but just because you have all that cool stuff, doesn’t mean your audience will ever see it. *Spend money on the right stuff*.