This may be one of the most important podcasts/blog posts I’ve done in a while. Today I want to show you how a local business lost a job in seconds right on Facebook. But the worst part for them, not only may they never know why; they may never know they even lost it at all. It all happened completely out of their control in a private Facebook Group that they were likely unaware of.
This is happening more and more. I see it daily and likely so do you.
At the end of this article I will break this down into the 3 things you absolutely better be doing for you‘re local business. At least, that is, if you want to compete in this increasingly complex and ever changing digital world.
Do this for digital marketing success
If you’re not taking your local web presence seriously by improving your SEO, managing and building your brand on social media and, possibly most important of all, getting regular reviews on your website and the online sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc… you’re killing your business. Seriously folks.
This example literally happened in real time as I was working on today’s blog. I was just digging in to do a blog about the newest Facebook change (more on that in the podcast recording and coming blog posts) when I saw something crazy happen live in my newsfeed. So I decided to change course and share it here.
A strange request
A request for a recommendation popped up in my news feed. This is in a private community Facebook Group for my town. This goes on in every town all across the country.
The poster asked if anyone had done business with a local masonry company. They are looking to replace a patio and want feedback from anyone who used this company.
You will see in this picture a couple things that you should note if you’re a local business.
1: The time stamp was 6 minutes and someone had already shared a different company as their recommendation. I just looked back since I grabbed this screen shot and there are several other recommendations now.
2: The person is asking about a specific business which means they want to do business with them and are simply looking for validation. They may have even already spoken to them.
3: Facebook knows the person asked for recommendations so it alerts the world that this person wants more suggestion. Like it or not, Facebook is inviting the community to provide more competition as happened in point #1.
I blocked out the names of the business and the people to protect privacy and not call out any specific businesses.
Let me be clear…
This is the LAST thing you want to happen to your business. To have successfully gotten on some prospects radar only to have them go to Facebook is asking for trouble.
Once they do that, they WILL get other recommendations. And if you do not have a strong online presence with good marketing, a tight website and strong reviews… you’re toast.
I immediately went over to Google to look up this business. And you can see as I did there are no online reviews. If you cannot have anything else, you should ALWAYS have reviews. This is probably the biggest mistake by this business.
Had they had reviews, this person might never have gone looking for them and therefore wouldn’t have been invited to call other competitors by friends. This just shows perfectly how devastating it is for any business not managing their online presence.
No Online Presence
Reviews is really the bare minimum. If you have nothing else, you have to get those.
Not only do they not have online reviews, they have no Facebook Page, no website that we can find, they have not claimed their citation sites: Google My Business, Yelp, etc. There’s no digital footprint that they created for themselves.
The fact they had no online presence is a travesty for them. But had they had a few online reviews, they may have been fine.
Here’s what you have to do
Every business, large and small, must do three very simple things:
1: Optimize your website for search
The best way to do this is hire a pro. In fact, I would go as far as saying that if you’re not skilled in SEO, don’t do it yourself.
At a minimum, make sure you claim your basic citation sites such as Google, Yelp and any specific to your industry. Make sure the name, address and phone number are identical across all of them.
Have a basic website, at the least. Create a great user experience on your website. Think like your visitor. They need to know how to contact you, where you are, what people are saying about you, how you solve their problems and some persuasive invitation to take action.
2: Build and manage your brand on social media
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, you need a Facebook Page at a minimum. Get in there and make sure your page is setup completely. Take advantage of all that these social channels offer you as a business.
Create and share content regularly. Create a great experience and provide value. And make sure to keep at it consistently.
And it doesn’t hurt to spend a little money on Facebook ads. You don’t need to spend much. At a minimum, drive some eyeballs to your best content at least once per month.
3: Continually solicit your happy clients to leave online reviews
Both on your website and the other online entities such as Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc. Pro tip: reviews help your search results on Google and likely on Facebook as well.
You need to have an easy way to continually invite clients to leave them. Don’t do what most businesses do and beg people to leave you reviews once or twice. You need it to look normal to the search engines and to the potential clients who read them.
Don’t let this happen to your business
I believe these are all super important and foundational. You don’t need to spend thousands to do this. Although you should absolutely invest some time, effort and money into it. It’s not a nice to have thing… it should be any local businesses top priority.
I specifically think number 2 and 3 may be the most important. And, they both actually help you improve number 1; your Search Engine Optimization.
Facebook and other social media is not going away. It is increasingly becoming gated where things happen out of your control in private groups and communities.
This means you best bring your ‘A’ game. You better have reviews and you better be visible and interesting on social media. Ignore this at your own risk.
If you want to see how you stack up online, book a free strategy session. We can help you do all three of the above key things.