Tag Archives: best online local business directories

Sharing is Caring – How to Use Social Media and Local Business Directory Listings to Boost Your Business Online

iStock_000019661855SmallSocial shares are local marketing gold. That’s the word from nearly everyone who’s anyone in the business of small business marketing and advertising. While local business directory listings are the linchpin of an small business marketing strategy, any local business owner who isn’t considering their social media presence is losing out on some of the best opportunities to stay in touch with existing customers, entice new customers, and keep a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the community that affects their bottom line. Catching the attention of nearby customers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and, increasingly, Snapchat, is nearly a guarantee of seeing a boost in sales and clients. Here are a few ways that local business owners can get more social media shares and more attention to their business on the major social media networks.

Connect Social Media Profiles to Business Listings and Website

Start with a coordinated suite of online business pages. Every business should include its own website, its listing in a local US business directory, a Google My Business page, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. That may seem like a lot to manage, but they each only take a few minutes to set up. Once they’re set up and linking to each other, there are tools that automate many of the tasks associated with keeping up an active social media presence.

Claim Business Pages at Major Online Review Sites

Online reviews are a major driver of customers to local businesses. Statistics show that customers are more likely to see businesses with a lot of positive business reviews when they search for local services and products, and are more likely to trust those that are highly recommended by their friends and neighbors. Just like other social media driven sites, it only takes a few minutes to claim and personalize a business listing at the major review sites, and again, it only takes a few minutes a week to check in on the reviews and respond to them.

Encourage User Generated Content

User generated content, commonly called UGC, is a new buzzword among small business marketing specialists. What it means, in a nutshell, is find ways to get customers and potential customers to post stuff about businesses they like, preferably at the business’ site. UGC can include something as simple as online business reviews, which can be republished or referenced on the business’ own website and social media accounts – but some businesses get really creative with UGC. A restaurant, for example, might encourage customers to post photos of their meals or of parties at their venue, tagged with the business name in a Facebook mention. Real estate agents may offer to pose for a signing photo when clients sign the final papers on their new homes. Posting those photos and sharing them help publicize the business and increase their online visibility.

Get Listed in Local Business Directories

Businesses that are listed in a wide range of local business directories increase their chances of being found by customers and mentioned on social media. Directories maintained by local organizations are especially good for this kind of sharing, especially if they publish “Best of…” articles to boost their own online presence. Sharing links to those articles is a great way to advertise and encourage customers to share news about local businesses.

Post Business Videos

Surprisingly, slickly produced videos aren’t the most engaging ones for local business customers. People like to feel like they know the owners and staff at their favorite businesses, and slick production values don’t offer that same personal feeling. Focus instead on giving potential customers a peek behind the scenes – “Check out the pouring skills that give our barista Mark his championship edge!” or “How excited were we to get our new shipment of luxury yarn? Just watch!” Facebook , Instagram and Snapchat make it simple to go live and post videos that customers will love – and share.

Do Something Good in the Neighborhood

Sponsor a local basketball team? Post pictures of special moments. Hosting a paint night at the venue? Make a Facebook event from the business page and share it, encouraging friends and customers to share it as well. Follow up with photos of attendees posing with their finished masterpieces – and don’t forget to tag them in the post. Tags ensure that the photos – posted by the business – will show up to their friends and encourage them to share in the fun next time.

Talk to Local Reporters and Bloggers

Get established as a local expert on relevant industries and topics. When reporters want to feature a quote about new home prices, be the one they call. If they need a quote on wedding trends for a bridal article, volunteer a quote. Wellness coaches can opine on health and nutrition topics, retailers on the hottest new toys for the holiday season and so on. Ask the reporter to drop an email when the article is published so that the business can share it on their website and list it alongside other honors in the business directory listings.

All this may sound like a lot of work, but it takes far less time and energy than many other marketing efforts – and the price can’t be beat. In most cases, everything listed here will cost a business nothing but an hour or two of time, requires surprisingly little skills, and have a big payoff in increased business and new customers.

What Is a Local Citation and Other Questions About Local Business Directory Listings

quesMarketing a local business online can feel intimidating and complex, but most of the best practices are actually simple to implement and based on common sense. Take, for example, one of the most often cited pieces of advice for local business owners – get local citations. Business owners – who rightly are more focused on running their business than on understanding techie stuff like local search engine optimization – often end up scratching their heads. What IS a local citation, exactly, and how does a business “get” them? It has a lot to do with local business directory listings, and “getting” them is nowhere near as complicated as most people think. These answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about local business directories like FindUsLocal.com may help business owners take control of their online marketing, and use it to best benefit their businesses.

What Is a Local Citation?

A local citation is nearly any mention of a business online that helps search engines determine where that business is located. The most common citations are local business directory listings, which include the name, address and contact information for local businesses. Other types of local citations include mentions in local newspapers or blogs, online reviews, and social media mentions of a business.

Why Are Local Citations Important?

As noted, local business citations help search engines determine where a business is located. Over the past several years, Google and other search engines have honed their ability to identify searches with “local intent” – that is, when a person is looking for nearby businesses or services – even when the person searching doesn’t include a location in their search. In other words, people no longer have to enter “find us local hair stylists” in <city>”  to get a list of hairdressers, salons, and barbershops near them. Google figures that if they type “hair stylists,” they’re probably looking for someone nearby who can do their hair.

So, How Does Google Know Which Barber Shops Are Near to the Person Searching?

That’s where local citations come in. If the person has location services turned on in their browser or mobile device, the search engine checks its listings, looking for businesses that appear to be located close to the browser’s location. The algorithm search engines use to determine whether a business really is located nearby is complex, but experts know that these things make a difference:

  • Number of citations
  • Consistency of information
  • Completeness of information
  • Local business reviews
  • Local business directory listings
  • Credibility of citations

Taken together, those things help search engines decide whether a business is really local, still in operation, and highly regarded by local customers and residents.

How Can Local Businesses Get Seen More by Local Customers?

Quite simply, the easiest way to improve the visibility of a local business in local searches is to do some grooming on their local business directory listings. One of the first steps is to claim and update the business’ Google My Business listing, but local SEO efforts shouldn’t end there. The number of reliable listings the search engines find for a business directly affects how highly they’ll place that business in the search engine results. The key is for a business to groom those listings so that the search engines aren’t confused, and have the most reliable information.

What In the World Does That Mean?

Grooming local business directory listings is pretty simple – in fact, it may be the easiest thing a business owner can do to improve their online business visibility.

One of the first things people notice when looking at a list of businesses in their area is that most of them seem to use the same words. It may say something like, “<Business Name> is a <city> business that is primarily engaged in <industry>,” with the bracketed words replaced by the business name, city and industry. This is because most local business directories draw their information from a few big data sources, and use their databases to populate a standard template that can apply to any business. (On a related note, that’s also how businesses are listed in directories that they don’t even know exist. And why a single inaccurate listing can end up spread across the Internet, giving people the wrong phone number or address for a business – which is definitely NOT good for business!)

Most of those local business directories make it easy for business owners to “claim” their listing. Once that’s done, the owner can update the information in the entry, and often add things that make them stand out among the sea of similar entries. On a side note – the simple act of claiming and editing a business listing is a signal to the search engines that it IS a real business and the information is more likely to be accurate.

But There Are Hundreds of Local Business Directories!

Yes, there are! That doesn’t mean, however, that business owners have to edit all of them (or pay someone to do it for them, a service that many small businesses now offer). The trick is to edit and update the listings in local business directories that help elevate their business. There are a handful of big directories, including review sites that every business owner should update. In addition, there are other business directories that are especially important locally – the local Chamber of Commerce, for example, or a business directory maintained by community organizations.

Finally, businesses should also pay attention to local business directories like Find Us Local that offer special perks and gadgets to encourage local folks to check them first when they’re looking for local businesses. When someone goes to the home page on FindUsLocal.com, they’ll see a page that’s created specifically to highlight local news, events, and businesses, making it somewhere people go even when they’re NOT specifically trying to find a local business. That means local businesses have a far greater chance of being seen and found by their neighbors who are most likely to shop with them.

FindUsLocal Climbs Top Rated Local Business Directories Chart

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As a small business owner, you probably already understand the importance of listing your shop or restaurant on a local business directory. In fact, in today’s internet driven society, if your business doesn’t have a local business listing, you’re probably missing out on a lot of business. That’s because today’s consumers look to the internet when they want to find US local businesses.

But not all local business directories are the same, and if you’re going to go to the trouble of creating your local business listing, you need to ensure that you use the right one.

How to Know Which Local Business Directory to Use

Luckily, some pretty smart internet marketing experts help us keep track of the local business directories that get the results your business needs. In fact, they’ve recently published an article titled, top 70 online local business directories. Our favorite place to add local business listings, FindUsLocal.com, is right there in the pack.

And while it’s great news that Find Us Local took their place in the top 30 best local business directories, there is much more to know about this upcoming local directory. Here are 4 reasons why we strongly believe FindUsLocal will quickly take its place in the top 10 list of best online local business directories.

2 Reasons Why FindUsLocal is Becoming American’s Favorite Local Business Directory

Not all local directories are the same, and that’s why consumers tend to gravitate toward specific ones. For instance, just a couple of years ago, Find US Local was relatively unknown, and now it’s quickly gaining ground on directories that have been around for years. And there’s a reason why consumers are flocking to the directory: it offers things that the others don’t. For example, here are 2 things you can find on FindUsLocal.com that you can’t find on most other local business directories.

A Two-Way Conversation

Most internet marketing experts agree that it’s vital for local business owners to develop a two-way conversation with the people in their local community both in person and online. And while it’s easy for most to do that in person by attending local events and sponsoring local sports teams, it’s much more difficult to do online. For some, they spend years building a loyal social media following, and then devote hours each week to post on all their channels. For others it’s building an interactive website so consumers can feel a part of the conversation, but this is limited to those local business owners who have huge marketing budgets.

But what about the local business owners across the nation who have the time or money to create a big online presence? That’s where local business directories like FindUsLocal come in.

This cutting-edge local directory has created a comments section that local business owners can use to communicate with the members of the community. This section of the directory is separate from the reviews section, and is two-way, where reviews are only one way.

To use it, consumers simply leave comments in the section about the local business, and owners can respond if they choose to. For example, if a customer is frustrated that a local shop is out of their favorite product and leave a comment about it, the owner can respond by telling them when the product is expected to arrive. What’s more, the owner can leave comments about sales, promotions, job openings, and anything else to get the conversation going. You won’t find this state-of-the-art communication on any other local business directory, so if you want to communicate with your local customers for free, head on over and set up your business now so you can take advantage of it.

Real Time Results

Another advantage to using local business directories like FindUsLocal is that consumers won’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops to find your business listing. That’s because the directory makes use of GEO location technology, which automatically determines a visitor’s location and then instantly creates a customized home page for them. On this home page, visitors will only see the local results for their area. For example, if someone logged on from Austin, Texas, they would only see the news, events, comments, reviews, local meetups, and social media comments from that area. That not only makes it more convenient for consumers, but it also makes it easier for them to find your local business listing.

You already know local business directories are an important part of your marketing campaign, but did you know that choosing the right directory is critical to your success? It’s true, and it’s hard to argue with the fact that FindUsLocal.com is quickly rising to the top of the best online local business directories. Is your business listed there?