Updated: Aug 29, 2022
This class, taught by Savannah Carabin with the Bluefield WV Economic Development Authority (BEDA), is the second installment of BEDA's "How to get your Business discovered on the Internet" office hours series.
In summary, we listed all of the classes we suggested you list your business:
Better Business Bureau
Angie* (formerly Angie's List)
Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn
*Typically for professionals providing a service like plumbing or roofing
First, we went through the thought process of attempting to find your business by searching for our industry on Google. To refresh, we did "cupcakes near me" or "ATV lodging near me".
In order to push your ranking higher, you have to implement good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. You can start by incorporating keywords about your business/industry into bodies of text that you publish online such as description boxes or in the body of your website. For instance, we went to Google "Hatfield McCoy Trails" and google auto-populated the search query box with the most popular keywords associated with searching for this term such as "map", "rules", "cabins", "Pocahontas", and more.
We then covered how having an active and up-to-date Google Business Profile can quickly increase your ranking. Google Business Profile is most effective when you update your hours, showcase new products, reply to reviews, post your menu, and more. Next we shared the importance of updating your Apple Business Register listing so that you appear on both Google Maps and Apple Maps -- regardless of what operating system your potential client uses. It is important to note that Apple Business Register indexes Yelp so claiming your free Yelp listing can be extremely beneficial to update information and upload photos faster.
For tourism-related business, we shared TripAdvisor and the Expedia Group. It's important to note that even if you don't feel you're a tourism business if you find that you seem to be serving more and more folks from further away, you might as well treat yourself like one. For instance, I may own a mom-and-pop restaurant and think I only serve the local retired community at breakfast but I fail to realize they are bringing their family with them that is visiting out of state or more folks that are in town to ride the trails are visiting. It is beneficial to list your business on TripAdivsor and the Expedia Group (the Expedia Group covers Expedia, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotwire, and VRBO all in one). These websites cover lodging and dining options but also share things to do.
For our service-related businesses such as plumbers, electricians, and other contractors, we had a quick recap on using Angi (formerly Angie's List) and HomeAdvisor. These sites are perfect to list your services and connect with individuals needing these particular services -- all in the app.
Social media plays an integral role in being found online as search engines index social media pages as well. We recommend using Facebook and ensuring your business's Facebook page is up-to-date and has accurate information. One of the best tools to use is Facebook's "events" feature for sharing things going on outside of the norm. Specific sales (don't go overboard with this -- it will get old quickly) or events for Fourth of July or other holidays would benefit from this.
In addition, we covered how sharing photos of your business product/service and geotagging the location outside of just your business address can be beneficial. The example we used was searching "Hatfield McCoy Trails" and checking the location, seeing a photo of a gorgeous cabin, and seeing that someone stayed there and geotagged the business that owned the company. In a way, if someone likes where they are staying enough to post a photo *and* geotag where it is, others are more likely to trust it would be a good place to stay.
Next up we covered how there are thousands of ways to be found and some tips and tricks to make it easier.
Imagine you are visiting somewhere brand new, how are you going to find information?
Eliminate bias when posting/sharing information. Write as if the person reading has never visited your establishment or used your product/service before. There's nothing worse than feeling out of the loop or feeling like you don't know enough to contact.
Make your call to action crystal clear: What is the next step? (Book Now/Get an Estimate/Learn More) Make sure your customer knows how to accomplish that next step
Be as detail-oriented as possible. Your business may be in Matoaka, but you can have phrases on your website, social media, or listings that say "Lodging on the Hatfield McCoy Trails" -- it attaches the HMT to your business because it's in the same body of text. Be careful of going overboard, you can't be everything to everybody all the time.
Post on your social media channels consistently. If not once a day, at bare minimum 1-2 times a week. Make sure you incorporate those keywords into what you post. It is important to prioritize quality content over the quantity of content to get a better reach and reaction out of folks seeing what you post. This will turn the algorithm in your favor.
Two more places to list your business that we haven't covered already:
Better Business Bureau: If you are conducting a lot of sales online (or taking bookings for lodging accommodations!) and not using a platform like Etsy, eBay, or other places where folks can easily leave reviews, it may be within your best interest to get a BBB profile and consider getting accredited. This accreditation holds merit when folks are unsure of using your business and can be displayed on your website, social media channels, and inside your business to put folks at ease.
Bing: Bing is the #2 search engine behind Google. Bing has a similar process to listing your business. In addition, Bing also indexes TripAdvisor to easily pull information.
So you've implemented all of these tips and tricks that you can... Now what?
Make sure you keep checking that every listing you have online is accurate and up-to-date
Ask your clients for reviews on Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and/or any other place where you listed your business. It is great to get variety because you want to be where people will search (and have the reviews to back it up).
Please be sure to take the survey at: https://bit.ly/bedaDOTI
View the Slide Deck
Watch the Recording
Questions? Let's get in touch.
Jim Spencer (Executive Director), firstname.lastname@example.org
Savannah Carabin (Speaker) | email@example.com