Claim your online territory and extend your virtual reach.
If you think about your bricks-and-mortar storefront as your face to the public, you’d never let it be unkempt, with a ripped awning or dirty windows. These days, your digital storefront—what consumers see when they check you out on search engines like Google, as well as social media platforms—is equally important.
The first step towards tending your digital storefront is to create or claim your business listing on Google, which makes it accessible to Google Maps, Search and other Google properties.
”Verified” by Google
Start by simply Googling your business name. Does a box appear on the right side of the screen containing a few business details? If so, click the “Claim this business” link and follow the prompts. If not, navigate to Google My Business (business.google.com) and follow the prompts there. You’ll receive a verification postcard in the mail shortly thereafter with a code to be entered online. Either way, the Casey Walter is an International Digital Marketing Consultant with Optimize Social Media. She educates and builds brands through modern marketing practices, while leveraging social media marketing services to amplify clients’ brand communications and connect them with consumers in order to drive business. process is simple and free. Once complete you’ll be “verified.”
That prominent box that appears has immediate visual impact, and lends your business additional credibility. The box contains your hours, plus links to Google Maps and review sites where consumers are talking about you, such as Facebook and Yelp.
That important box helps funnel traffic to your main site and your social media platforms, and anything that makes it easy for consumers to find you is good for business. Those extra clicks (on, for example, Google Maps) also help improve your search engine optimization (SEO), which helps you climb higher on search engine returns.
Now you’re in control
Claiming your business puts you in control. You can flesh out scarce information and make sure the information that does appear is correct. Distinguish yourself further by uploading your logo and photos of your business or staff, which helps to brand your business. With mobile technology now surpassing desktop computers for consumer use, this step also ensures your business will appear on Google no matter what device is used. If your online presence is your digital storefront, your search engine results are the front door itself. (You can claim your business on Bing, as well, starting at bingplaces.com.)
Search engines generate sales; free search results account for nearly one-quarter of all e-commerce orders, according to one US-based report last year. It’s especially important in the tire business, as a needsbased sector.
Unfortunately, few people wake up on a Saturday morning thinking about grabbing a latte and wandering the tire aisle just for pleasure. Most of us buy and have tires installed resignedly at best. People want to minimize their inconvenience, and they don’t want to spend a lot of time searching. By ensuring your search engine results are comprehensive, accurate and credible, you’re letting them know immediately that you’re present, and that you care about their experience.
The new word of mouth
Plus, right away they get a taste of what others are saying about you, and just as your digital presence is your new storefront, social media sites are the new word of mouth. Instead of a few friends talking about their experiences at a backyard barbecue, opinions today are easily delivered to hundreds, even thousands, of people with the tap of a keyboard.
Now that you’ve claimed your place online, it’s time to start thinking about modern word of mouth. Next time, we’ll delve deeper and I’ll share some of my best practices for making sure the conversation is going your way.