Making Sure You’re Found OnlineApril 1, 2014 By: Ron Cates
Sure, any business can create a profile on Facebook or Twitter but turning your online presence into profit requires a bit more than that. Here we’ll tackle getting your bar and/or nightclub found online and then share ideas on how to turn enthusiastic customers into online fans and followers that drive new patrons to your door.
The first step in getting found is to make sure you have a complete profile on social networks and online directories. Let’s start with Facebook. When it comes to your URL, choose a unique and short one. Since search engines weigh URLs heavily and Facebook pages tend to appear high in results, this will raise your profile.
Next, update your Facebook profile including address, phone number, business category, hours of operation, and company description. On your Facebook page, include an updated menu, calendar of events and other related information that customers will find of interest.
And it wouldn’t hurt to hang a sign asking customers to check in on Facebook or like your page. When they like your page or check in, their friends will know where they are and/or that your place got a thumb’s up, which will help generate more likes.
Why does all of this matter? Because the new Facebook Graph Search and Nearby Places search tools are designed to deliver personalized results based on a customer’s location, interests, and whether their friends have checked in and/or liked your place. The more complete the profile, the more likely your business is to show up in all possible search results. Once you’ve updated your Facebook profile, you’ll also want to update your profile on other social networks for similar reasons.
Moving on from social networks, it’s likely you’ve come across businesses similar to yours appearing on sites like MapQuest and Google Places and may have wondered how they got listed there. One option is to go site to site filling out your business profile, which would take an inordinate amount of time. Or you could simply use technology like SinglePlatform to populate all those online directories for you.
Once you’ve established a solid presence online including a website and updated profiles on social networks and online directories, the next step is to engage your customers. This is about making genuine connections to better understand what they’d like to see more or less of at your place. When you involve customers in creating a great experience, they’re more likely to return and tell their friends about your business in person and online.
And here’s something else to consider. Fresh content, including online feedback, helps boost search engine results. Specifically, this content spans updated website pages, blog posts, and reviews in newspapers and on places like Yelp.
Knowing this, it’s important to consistently create great experiences so that customers will take to online review sites and social networks to share positive comments. Additionally, engage them by requesting feedback, running a short poll asking which happy hour specials they prefer, encouraging them to post photos and share stories about being at your place, rewarding them for checking in online, and publicly recognizing your most loyal customers.
Getting found and inspiring customers to spread the word comes down to engaging them at every possible step. It starts when they discover your business; choose it based on customer feedback, tell their friends about it, and then return. As this cycle continues, you’ll see an ever-widening circle of satisfied customers lining up at your door.