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How To Start Growing A Local Business On Social Media

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In a digital age, your online presence is as important as your physical shopfront. 
Think about the last time you were on holiday and wanted to find a good coffee. You likely whipped out your phone and did a quick search. The seemingly innocent google search is a battleground of optimisation, keywords, well written descriptions and mouth-watering pictures. 

Keep in mind, this is a highly localised battleground.
You can quickly become a big fish in a small pond with a few of these easy actionable tips to improve your local social media presence.

Get your Google game on point
Today most searches start in one place so it makes sense to have yourself set up and ready to go. 
Google search results and even the search results on google maps all go through Google my business. It’s vital that you have an account there. It’s very simple to add your business, or claim ownership of if your already listed online. There are a number of ways to verify your account and once you have access make sure to complete your profile as fully as possible. 

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews!
It can be daunting putting your brand out there on the internet. 
Trolls, freeloaders and people just having a bad day can ruin a perfect 5 star score, but having customer reviews enabled is required to stay competitive online. 
Google reviews are important as they directly influence search engine results and Google Maps ranking. However, they can be fickle as anyone can write them. 
There are other sites that are more trustworthy such as tripadvisor or yelp. They have more community based reviews systems and closely moderated posts. As they are normally checked by travellers or people with an intent to spend money, a few good mentions on these sites can get people through the door. Are there any local influencers in your area you could reach out to for a good mention or review? It’s a numbers game and every review helps.

Your customers are your best content creators
Just like reviews, real testimonials can often be the deciding factor when people are choosing where to go. User Generated Content is an amazing way to fill your own timeline with happy customers.
Having people post on their own social media channels is free publicity. Their own timeline is full of potential new customers and people trust their friends. 
How can you tap into this goldmine of referrals? Well, first make sure people have a good time! Then, use a bit of creativity.
Have you ever been to a Mexican restaurant that has tons of sombreros, fake moustaches and huge cocktails? What happens when you mix these ingredients together? Selfies by the truckload! 

Be available online
Customers are more likely to reach out to their favourite brands on social mediathan any other method. It’s much faster than email and way easier than sitting through annoying telephone menus. Just make sure someone is there to answer on the other side.
Facebook displays the average response time to give it’s user’s a rough idea, and the button is directly on your page begging to be clicked so give it some priority. Sure, some of the questions could be simple, but this can give you valuable insight into what your customers biggest obstacles are! 
If your answering for the fifth time that, ‘Yes, you will be open on the public holiday.’ Whip up a quick banner and make a big deal of it. If you continually get questions about shipping, perhaps it’s time to take a look at your checkout process.
In short, if your customers are asking you about something; make it easier to find the answer to that question. 
Of course they might just want to chat.

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