Is your business taking advantage of Yahoo Groups to promote your business in Northern Virginia?
While many businesses are focusing their social media marketing efforts on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In, Yahoo Groups offer a marketing opportunity you should not overlook.
What is a Yahoo Group?
A Yahoo Group is a self-selected group of people who share a common interest. Yahoo group membership is free and open to anyone who has a Yahoo account, registers for membership and is approved by the group moderator.
The Fauquier County Yahoo Group is an active forum of 976 members who regularly post and share information about local community news, activities, events and resources. The Fauquier County Yahoo Group members frequently ask each other for recommendations to reputable local businesses that other members know, like and trust.
I monitor the Fauquier County Yahoo Group message posts and respond on behalf of my clients whenever I see people looking for the products or services my clients sell.
Recently, a local resident posed this question on the Fauquier County Yahoo Groups:
“I am looking for roofer recommendations: Who to get a quote from and who to stay away from.”
As you can see below, Paul Henry’s Windows benefited from the endorsements and recommendations he received from members of this group:
Yahoo group roofer recommendations
Online Word of Mouth Recommendations
We all know that people prefer to do business with businesses they already know, like and trust. Nearly every day, Yahoo Group members ask each other for word-of-mouth referrals to trusted and reputable local businesses. Alert business owners or employees can join in these conversations and attract more customers with thoughtful responses.
You can probably find other Yahoo Groups serving residents of your own town or local area that work the same way. It’s easy to join a Yahoo Group and get on the mailing list for real-time message alerts, or daily summaries of messages posted.
Facebook has launched a new search site (facebook.com/services) that makes it easy for prospective customers to find top-rated local professional services companies and decide who they want to hire for a wide range of services.
Auto repair services, dog groomers, hair salons, cleaning services, remodeling companies, photographers, plumbers and other services professionals should familiarize themselves with this new Facebook feature and start encouraging their best customers to review them on Facebook to achieve competitive rankings in the new Facebook professional services site.
What Does a Facebook Professional Services Search Look Like?
On the Facebook Professional Services page, you can type your exact query into two search boxes (one for business type and one for location), or you can browse through categories such as Automotive, Home Improvement, Financial Services, Medical & Health, and more.
More than 80 types of businesses are listed at the bottom of the page … but you can find many other business categories by typing in a business category into the search box. The Professional Services page automatically provides you with results for the town or city you are in, but you can specify a different town or city as well.
The search results display information found in the companies’ Facebook business pages, including the business’ name, phone number, hours of operation, street address, star rating, and even reviews. The top of the search results page also includes a background photo of the searched city.
Here are a few search results we found for various service providers in the Northern Virginia area:
How Will Facebook Professional Services Search Affect Your Service Business?
As a service provider, you will want to do what you can to leverage Facebook’s Professional Services site to get found by — and attract — potential customers in your local community. It creates yet another place where you can increase and benefit from online visibility.
We recommend that you take a look at your company’s Facebook business page and make sure that all your key business information has been added to your page. If you have not yet verified your Facebook page, be sure to do that too.
Make sure you have a process in place to ask your customers to rate your business and leave reviews on Facebook. The more happy customers you can get to share their positive experiences with your company on Facebook, the greater your chances of attracting more leads and customers with the new Facebook professional services search capability.
Here is a complete list of professional service companies that will be showcased on the new Facebook services site:
Arts & Marketing
Broadcasting & media production
Car parts & accessories
Car wash & detailing
Internet service provider
Decking & patios
Mattresses & bedding
Bands & musicians
Sewing & Seamstress
Medical & Health
Alternative & Holistic Health
Counseling & mental health
Pregnancy & childbirth service
Spa, beauty & personal care
Cosmetics & beauty supplier
Tattoos & piercing
Take a look at the chart above and think about its implications for your business.
Google’s 2014-2015 Consumer Barometer Survey (from which this chart is drawn) clearly shows that search engines are the top resource people are using to find local businesses online, followed by:
- Business websites
- Online map / navigation services
- Online business directories (Houzz, YellowPages, Yelp, etc.)
- Advice or review sites
- Social networks
What do Google’s findings mean your business?
If you are among the 28% of small business owners who don’t have a website yet .. it’s time you got one. And, make sure it is “mobile friendly” so your audience won’t be frustrated when viewing it on a smartphone.
A website is one of the most affordable and cost-effective investments you can make in your business because your customers are looking for your business on the web.
But don’t stop there! To truly leverage the power of the internet to bring you more business, you need all five of these “Must Have” marketing tools to reach and attract today’s consumer and compete effectively in your local marketplaces:
#1 – A Website
Your website should showcase your business to customers and prospects and make it easy for them to call you, email you, and find you (if customers come to you.) Your website should have all the key information your customers want and need to make a purchasing decision or action.
Your website also needs to be optimized so your customers can find you fast when searching for businesses like yours from their computers or smartphones.
Optimizing your website requires both on-site and off-site work. On-site work includes giving each and every page a unique page title, unique page description, and unique content. Each website page’s content should include the words and phrases that will help people find you online for the products or services you provide. In addtion, all photos and images on your website should be given meaningful and optimized file names, titles and descriptions we well. Optimizing your photos and images can help more people find you online and help bring in more business.
Off-site optimization includes getting your business listed in key online directories and making sure that your directory listings provide accurate and consistent name, address, and phone number data. will help classify you as a local business.
Your website also needs to be designed with conversion in mind. That means it needs to have well-placed highly-visible calls to action (phone numbers, contact forms, and short messages inviting people to contact you.)
#2 – Social Media Presence
At a minimum, your business needs to have a Google My Business page set up and linked to your website, a business Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a LinkedIn profile.
Next, set up a YouTube channel and develop a library of educational and/or entertaining videos to introduce your preferred customers to your business and build rapport with them.
Instagram and Pinterest offer additional platforms to showcase your home remodeling projects and give them wider visibility. Posting photos of your work in multiple online venues can help you initiate conversations with potential customers and your community.
#3 – Local Directories/Maps
The more places you list your business, the more likely you are to be found by your ideal prospects and customers. Business listings in directories and location-based local listing services also provide valuable backlinks to your website which will help your search engine optimization efforts.
Attention to detail is critical when listing your business in other directories. Your business name, address, phone number and website URL must be listed consistently everywhere in order to avoid confusing search engines. Inconsistent data about your business can harm your search rankings and make it harder for potential customers to find and contact you.
#4 – Reputation Management
Be proactive about getting your best customers to review you online. You can have a special page on your site reserved for publishing and highlighting customer feedback and testimonials. You should also have a system in place to follow up and ask your customers to review you on Houzz (if you have a Houzz business profile), Google, Facebook, Yelp and other popular and authoritative review sites. Since reviews appear on search results themselves, the more 5-star reviews people find for your business online, the more you are likely to attract the attention of potential customers.
#5 – Measuring and Analytics
Google Analytics and other tools can show you how many website visitors you are getting, which website pages are most popular, and where your visitors are coming from (both geographically and via other social media or websites.) This data can help you evaluate what is working well, what is not working, and identify ways you can improve your online marketing activities.
Call Herbst Marketing For Help With Your Web Presence
Most home remodeling contractors do not have the desire, the time or the required expertise to create a robust well-rounded and comprehensive web presence that will position them at the top of their local marketplace. Herbst Marketing can help you with all your online marketing needs, including: search engine optimized and lead-generating websites, online copywriting and content development, video production, social media setup and marketing, and reputation marketing.
Call us today to discuss your needs and request a quote for marketing services.
Can a social media marketing plan help your business grow?
Small businesses that engage in social media marketing can reap significant rewards over time. When approached in a systematic and disciplined manner, social media marketing can:
- Help you reach a wider audience than you can reach in-person at Chamber of Commerce and other business networking events.
- Grab attention and arouse curiosity about your products and services.
- Put you in control of your company’s messaging and branding.
- Educate your ideal clients/customers about your products and services through articles, pictures, and videos.
- Establish and reinforce your position as a knowledgeable expert in your market niche or local marketplace.
- Generate more calls to your business.
- Create relationships that lead to more sales.
Social Media Marketing Checklist
The Whole Brain Group’s social media marketing checklist and infographic provides a helpful and comprehensive visual guide for planning your social media marketing activities. Companies that do not have the in-house resources to plan and execute a comprehensive social media campaign can expect to pay $2,000 – $7,500 per month for an experienced social media marketing firm to professionally manage your entire social media marketing campaign. You can also assign the tasks to a knowledgeable employee or contact Herbst Marketing to request a quote for social media marketing services at more affordable rates.
Social Media Marketing Checklist Courtesy of The Whole Brain Group
Recommended Blogging Activities
- Write and publish at least one original well-written blog article or video each week.
- Syndicate/repost links to your blog post to each of your social media profiles/pages.
Blogging, combined with social media marketing, has paid off for Expert Kitchen Designs by generating more high-quality leads and sales for kitchen design services.
Recommended Twitter Activities
- Follow 10 new people each week
- Re-tweet 2 interesting tweets per day
- Send at least 3 tweets daily
Recommended LinkedIn Activities
- Update Company Profile and Status
- Connect with 3-5 new people each week
- Follow 3 new companies each week
- Ask for 1-2 recommendations each week
Recommended Google+ Activities
- Share content at least twice a day to your Personal Google+ Profile and your Google+ Business page
- Add 5 new people to your Google+ Circles each week
- Offer a Google+ Hangout session for a topic in your industry (Click Here for a Google Hangout example)
Recommended Pinterest Activities
- Add one new board containing at least 6 new pins (pictures) each week to your Pinterest page, with links back to your website/blog for each photo posted.
- Be sure to use relevant keywords and descriptions for each new pin you publish.
- Follow 5 new interesting and inspiring pin boards each week from users in fields related to your business.
Recommended YouTube Activities
- Find and share three new videos each week to your Facebook, Google+ and Twitter pages.
- Subscribe to 3 new channels in your industry each week.
- Post video replies to relevant videos in your industry each week.
- Plan and create one new video each week to showcase an area of your business.
Small Business Social Media Marketing Examples
Mommy Zen Video Blog
Expert Kitchen Designs Blog
Georjeans Dog Grooming
Herbst Marketing Blog
Girls Stand Strong Blog
Eileen Lonergan WordPress Blog
Expand2Web Online Marketing Blog
Sullivan Roof Cleaning YouTube Channel
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Social Media Cover Photo Guide
It has been said that every person who becomes a fan of a local business Facebook page is connected to an average of 130 additional Facebook friends. Therefore, growing your business’ Facebook fan base can greatly expand your visibility and raise awareness of your products and services to a larger circle of potential prospects.
For example, the 635 fans of Warrenton Favorites have a combined total of 167,045 Facebook friends. Thus, any information posted on the Warrenton Favorites Facebook page could, potentially, be seen and noticed by 167,045 friends of our Facebook fans.
Plumbing Company Facebook Marketing Case Example
Recognizing the marketing value of each Facebook fan, Appleton Campbell, Inc. initiated a campaign in June, 2012 designed to virally grow their Facebook fan base. Prior to launching the campaign, the company marketing department had noticed that they generated the most engagement (comments and likes) on their Facebook page when they posted information about community activities they sponsored and supported — especially activities related to local sports leagues, school clubs and nonprofit organizations.
A company employee needed to raise $3,000 to finance his daughter’s travel and lodging expenses for a Fastpitch Softball World Series Tournament, which presented a perfect opportunity to help a talented local athlete attain her dream while promoting the company at the same time.
Appleton Campbell launched a Facebook campaign offering to donate $1.00 to their employee’s daughter’s fundraising effort for every new person who liked the Appleton Campbell Facebook page. As part of the campaign, the company’s marketing department also provided a WordPress Website with PayPal donate button to their employee, so that individuals could contribute additional money to the fundraising campaign as well.
Less than two weeks into the campaign, the company had increased the number of Facebook fans nearly 50%, from 140 fans when they started the campaign on June 15 to 208 fans as of June 26, 2012.
How Can You Apply This Viral Marketing Strategy To Your Business?
Look for opportunities within your community where you can sponsor and showcase worthy organizations and causes. Offer to partner up with these organizations or causes for a win-win Facebook promotion where new fans of your Facebook page know they are simultaneously helping to raise money or otherwise support a good cause.
Herbst Marketing helps small businesses in Northern Virginia and elsewhere grow their business by expanding their web presence. We design and develop affordable, customized WordPress websites, provide web copywriting services, and social media marketing consulting services. For more information, call (540) 937-7234 or email us here.