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Conquer The Web: How Small Business Owners Can Maintain And Boost Their Online Presence

After a long, hard battle, you’ve finally scaled the digital Mount Everest. As a small business owner, you’ve crafted an online presence that’s as dazzling as the Northern Lights. As your business glows across Google SERPs and social media platforms, you breathe a sigh of relief and prepare to descend. The toughest part of your expedition is over… or is it?

Scaling the peak of online visibility is only half the battle. The real test of endurance lies in the way you plant your flag to protect and maintain the lofty heights you’ve achieved.

If your online presence is off the charts, congratulations, you’ve reached the summit. In this blog, we’ll make sure you stay there by improving online visibility with small business SEO.

We’ll break everything down today. The mountains are calling… off we go!

1. Surf the Social Waves Like a Seasoned Pro

Social media can be a double-edged sword for small businesses.

On one hand, it’s a powerful tool that helps you connect with your audience and promote your brand. On the other hand, one poorly judged post or tweet can result in a PR nightmare.

Instead of using social media recklessly, use it cautiously and carefully. It’s all about mastering the art of digital diplomacy.

How?

For starters, think before you post.

Think of social media as a lively little town square where every post is like speaking into a megaphone. It’s heard by your customers, competitors, and even the high school friend you haven’t spoken to in years.

Before you post anything, pause for a moment and consider its potential impact.

Let’s say you own a seafood restaurant. On World Vegetarian Day, you decide to post a picture of your popular shrimp dish with the caption, “Who needs veggies when you have shrimp like these?”

What may sound witty and clever to you in the moment could end up causing serious damage. This caption could easily offend vegetarians and vegans, resulting in a negative image around your restaurant.

Over the years, hundreds of popular businesses have made such snafus. In 2018, H&M faced a PR disaster when the brand featured a Black child model wearing a hoodie with the text “coolest monkey in the jungle.”

H&M ended up apologizing and removing the product from their line. However, the damage had already been done. Within a few hours, celebrities had also taken notice. The campaign spread like wildfire and resulted in significant reputational and financial loss.

Had these brands taken some time to think the campaigns through and consulted with a racially diverse team, these ghastly mistakes wouldn’t have occurred in the first place. By thinking before you post, you’ll end up protecting your brand from a similar situation.

In addition to cautiously posting on social media, make sure you cautiously engage on social media. Engagement is a two-way street. Instead of getting worked up about negative comments, tackle them with grace and professionalism.

Engage, don’t enrage.

Let’s say a customer comments on your Facebook post complaining about a stale croissant they bought from your bakery. Instead of ignoring the comment or getting defensive, acknowledge their dissatisfaction, apologize, and offer a solution.

A possible reply could be, “We’re really sorry to hear about your experience. We take pride in our fresh croissants, and your feedback helps us improve. Please let us make it right; the next croissant is on us! And we’ll make sure it’s fresh, delicious, and hot.”

This kind of thoughtful response shows potential customers that you value feedback and are committed to ensuring they enjoy a great experience. It also helps defuse a potentially damaging situation.

If you play your cards wisely, you may even end up turning an irate customer into a loyal fan. Chick-fil-A is known for promptly responding to complaints on Twitter.

By making amends (and we mean sincerely making amends), you’ll end up retaining a big chunk of your audience. This is one of the most effective ways to maintain a pristine online presence over time.

When your audience realizes you consistently show up for them and fulfill your promise, they’ll keep buying from you. Customer loyalty? Check.

It’s also important to note that while public responses to complaints are important, the real magic happens in direct, one-on-one conversations. In these personal interactions, businesses have a golden opportunity to transform a negative experience into a positive one.

Here’s how you should go about this.

See what we mean?

This conversation is a masterclass in humanizing brand communication and taking small business branding to new heights.

Notice how Mark from Fashion Fusion ditched the corporate jargon and instead spoke in a language that Jane could resonate with. It’s as if Jane was talking to a friend who genuinely understood her frustration, not a faceless entity hiding behind corporate lingo!

The secret sauce of this exchange is empathy. Something like this will work wonders:

“Hey Jane, just checking to see if the dress arrived. Is everything looking good now? As soon as you inform us that the dress is with you, we’ll send you the coupon code. Hope you make it in time for the big event! Enjoy.”

This not only verifies that the issue was resolved but also shows Jane that the brand genuinely cares about her experience. When you use the right approach and keep at it, your online presence will stay on track in the long run.

If your in-house social media team isn’t cut out for robust, inventive, and power-packed small business marketing campaigns, turn to professional social media marketing experts instead. They’ll analyze your current social media standing, roll out an actionable plan, and give your business the visibility it deserves.

2. Monitor Your Online Presence

Let’s say you run a local bakery, “Sweet Delights”. A customer tags your business in an Instagram post featuring a customized cake you made for their anniversary.

The post is visually stunning, and the caption is as flattering as it gets. They rave about how beautiful and delicious the cake was. By monitoring your social media mentions, you can promptly like, comment on, and even share the post on your bakery’s store.

This is an excellent way to maintain a spectacular online presence for your small business.

Keeping a constant eye on your online presence is the first step in managing your reputation. Google Alerts is a free tool that allows you to track mentions across the web. Simply set up an alert with your business name. Google will notify you every time it pops up online!

This will help you monitor what’s being said about your business and respond appropriately.

Online reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google Reviews, and Trip Advisor can also significantly influence a potential customer’s decision to engage with your business. Closely and regularly monitor these platforms. This will help you thank customers for positive reviews and address negative ones promptly.

Social media is another critical area to monitor. If there’s any negative feedback/commentary around your business, make things right ASAP.

Amazon is a prime example of social media monitoring done right. Known for its customer-centric approach, the eCommerce platform closely monitors product reviews. If a customer leaves a negative review, Amazon’s customer service team responds promptly.

Whether you run an eCommerce business or a brick-and-mortar store, follow suit, and you’re good to go! It’s time to take control of your brand’s narrative. By harnessing the power small business reputation management, you can turn your customers into your biggest advocates.

3. Encourage Positive Reviews

When potential customers search for your business, they should see glowing reviews. This will significantly impact their decision to engage with you. A whopping 93% of web users make buying decisions after reading online reviews. If you bag a generous amount of stellar reviews, you’ve struck gold.

How can you encourage more of these golden nuggets? Let’s break it down.

Start by making it super easy for customers to leave reviews. Your business must be listed across popular platforms.

Never hesitate to ask for reviews if you’re not getting any. Add a gentle request for reviews to follow-up emails or on your website. In fact, you can even display QR codes or signage at your physical location to remind customers to share their experiences!

Follow this up by offering incentives for reviews, e.g., discounts or loyalty points. However, make sure you place incentives on the table in return for honest feedback, not just positive reviews. This will help maintain the integrity of your review process.

Let’s consider some examples to help you understand the right way to put this online marketing strategy into play.

  1. A local restaurant may offer free dessert in exchange for customers leaving a review on Yelp or Google Reviews. This incentivizes customers to share their experiences and gives them a reason to return.
  2. A fitness studio launches a contest on social media and encourages clients to post about their experiences with the studio for a chance to win a free month of classes. This drives engagement while promoting positive word of mouth.
  3. An online fashion retailer may include a thank you note with each delivery, asking customers to share their shopping experience on Google Reviews. To sweeten the deal, they could offer a 10% discount code for their next purchase (if they leave a review, that is).
  4. A local bookstore could host an author meet-and-greet or a book club meeting and encourage attendees to share their experiences on the store’s Facebook page. Attendees who leave a review could be entered into a drawing to win signed copies of the author’s book.
  5. A software company could create a “Customer of the Month” feature on its website, highlighting different users and their experiences with the software. Customers who leave detailed, helpful, and insightful reviews on platforms like Capterra or G2 could be featured.

You get the gist of it. Think outside the box; the box is too boring and familiar for you to sit in. The more creative, innovative, exciting, and unique your approach is, the better.

Wow your audience with something they’re not expecting!

A lot of brands have successfully pulled this off. Starbucks’ mobile app allows customers to earn “stars” for every purchase, which can be redeemed for free drinks or food items. As part of their loyalty program, they often offer bonus stars for reviews.

Amazon has also added this feather to its cap. The eCommerce platform frequently invites trusted reviewers to post honest reviews in exchange for free products. These reviews are identified with a special “Vine Voice” badge.

This reputation management technique will help boost your small business online presence like a virtuoso. Avoid black hat review generation techniques, and you’re good to go.

4. Create High-Quality Content

If you want to improve your online presence, start releasing high-quality content that leaves a lasting impression on your audience.

We keep saying this time and time again: quality trumps quantity every single time. Whether you’re writing a blog, working on a social media post, crafting an e-letter, or designing an infographic, make sure it’s relevant, interesting, and useful to your target audience.

It’s better to publish one well-researched, engaging, and insightful piece than 50 pieces that fail to provide value.

Creating quality content is about more than just throwing together a few words and images. It’s about communicating value, sparking engagement, and building trust. It’s a way to show your audience that you understand their needs and have solutions to their problems.

  • Get to Know Your Audience: It all starts here. Understand who your audience it, what they want, and the unique challenges they face. This will help you create content that resonates with them and fulfills their needs.
  • Provide Value: Your content should provide value to your audience. Provide useful tips, share industry insights, and make them laugh. The key is providing content your audience will appreciate and find worthwhile.
  • Be Consistent: When it comes to content creation, consistency is key. Never drop this ball. Post routinely and maintain a consistent voice, style, tone, and quality. Stop handing over critical content creation tasks to any Tom, Dick, or Harry. Hire SEO content writers and make them the face behind your content.
  • Engage With Your Audience: Once your content is out there, encourage your audience to interact with it through likes, comments, and shares. Closely monitor these interactions and respond to them. This will help your audience feel “special” and show them you value their input. You’ll end up building a strong sense of community.
  • Stay Current: Stay up-to-date with industry trends and current events. This shows your audience that you’re in the loop and capable of equipping them with the latest and most relevant content!

GoPro does an excellent job of creating engaging content by featuring video shots by their customers. This user-generated content showcases the capabilities of their products and counts as authentic content!

Whole Foods also stands out for its visually appealing and information-rich blog. The brand routinely shares recipes, cooking tips, and nutritional information. This aligns with their focus on healthy, clean, and organic food.

IKEA’s magazine, “Life at Home,” is another great example. It’s filled with design inspiration, DIY projects, behind-the-scenes clips, home organization tips, and so much more. Each piece is insightful, engaging, and relevant.

Creating quality content is like cooking a gourmet meal. Just as a meal is only as good as the number of people who get to taste it, your content’s effectiveness is determined by how many people it reaches.

You wouldn’t cook a feast and then eat it alone, would you? In the same vein, your content needs to be served to your audience on a silver platter, and that platter is Google search engine result pages (SERPs).

Master these ropes:

  • Keywords, Keywords, Keywords: Think of keywords as the main ingredient of your content dish. These are the words and phrases your audience uses to find relevant content online. Perform comprehensive keyword research to get your hands on high-ranking keywords for your industry. Sprinkle them generously throughout your content but make sure you don’t overdo it. Google’s got a taste for natural language, not keyword-stuffed gibberish.
  • Meta Tags and Descriptions: These are like the garnish on your gourmet dish. They won’t change the flavor, but they’ll make the dish look so much more appetizing. Meta tags and descriptions tell Google what your content is about so it can serve it to the right people. Optimize these components with keywords to reach your target audience.
  • Link Building: This is like inviting friends over to your feast. The more high-quality sites that link to your content, the more Google thinks, “Hey, this must be a popular dish!” and pushes you up SERPs. Your content must satisfy Google’s E-E-A-T requirement. Make sure you demonstrate a high level of experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. If you’re new to link building, read our comprehensive guide to cover the ropes.
  • Mobile-Friendliness: In 2023, everyone’s feasting on the go. Your content must be digestible across all devices, especially mobile. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, Google will pass you over for one that is. Opt for responsive design, easy navigation, fast loading times, and readable text sizes. Think of it as tailoring your content to fit every screen. It’s the same material with a custom fit for different devices!

Master the art of writing and optimizing quality content. Once you’ve checked this box off the list, it’ll become much, much easier to maintain a swanky online presence.

Quality content writing and optimization cannot happen overnight. Take your time, do your research, and find small business content marketing experts who know exactly what they’re doing. The right team will help steer your small business in the right direction.

Let’s Get the Ball Rolling!

The digital landscape is never still. If you want to keep your business on the map, implement actionable, innovative, and power-packed strategies that’ll actually move the needle.

In this blog, we covered the importance of leveraging the power of social media, closely monitoring your online presence, letting positive online reviews do the trick, and creating high-quality content that captivates your audience.

Now that it’s time to raise the curtain and get your business ready for the spotlight, Search Berg is at your beck and call!

Flex your entrepreneurial muscles, buckle up, and charge headfirst into the thrilling world of digital marketing success. Your small business deserves nothing less than a standing ovation in the online world.

Explore our SEO services to kick things off. We’ll start with a free consultation, identify areas for improvement, and get to work. It’s show time.

It's time for a 180-degree transformation, Search Berg style. Rank higher on Google SERPs, build brand credibility, and drive more revenue by signing up with us today!

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