Social signals like shares and follows don’t have a direct impact on your Local search score, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t engage, as social media’s still important to local search for a couple of other reasons. Viral social posts that pick up a lot of traction may make more of a direct impact on your local search rank than other posts, though this largely is because when you go viral, you tend to get mentioned quickly on other, local sites. The main thing you need to ensure you do is optimise your social profiles, as this data is what Google assesses your social presence for, when it comes to Local Search.
Social media is a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting Name Address Phone Number (NAP) citations, as every mention of your NAP data is ranked by Google. This includes NAP citations found on your Facebook Business Page and LinkedIn Profile, as well as on other social profiles. Sign up for as many online social business profiles as possible, to give you as many possible chances to include your Name Address Phone Number (NAP) data and URL in your bio, as well as anywhere else relevant. Try to sign up for Facebook Business Page, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and Pinterest even if it is just to list your Name Address Phone Number (NAP) information.
If you don’t have the time to post regularly to every social channel you’ve signed up for, pin a post to the top of your profile, to let people know where to find you and where you are more active. The best strategy for posting content is to focus on 1 or 2 social media profiles, so you can post regularly and often. Facebook and Instagram will be the most important to concentrate on, but if you have to pick just one, make it Facebook. Keeping social channels current doesn’t have to involve making a huge extra effort. If you have a food business for example, you could create appealing galleries showing your food offers and then create engagement Ads to push posts to people who live within a 3-mile radius of your local business.
The other way your social media will help boost your local search rank is when other people link to it, as the links you’ve added to your social profiles add to your website’s authority in search, although this will only give you a small boost.
Even if social media doesn’t impact your local search position directly, it will help you build your following. This will indirectly win you more mentions on local websites. Your main goals with social media for local search are to engage with potential customers, build trust in the local community, and network with other local business’s and influencers. Do this and you will organically win more mentions and citations on local sites, including on local news sites. The more mentions your brand gets, the higher your local search score will rise. You’ll also maximise your reach and attract more local interest, which will indirectly improve your local search position.
The top three profiles you need to make sure are optimised for your local business are:
- Trip Advisor
- Facebook Business Page
You should also ensure you are on any key local review sites, so when people search locally, you will appear. To find out the local review sites you should be appearing on, try searching for “target location” reviews or “your niche + target location” reviews. You don’t have to post to them regularly but sign up for profiles on social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok, so you can post your Name Address Phone Number (NAP) data, which Google can then crawl. This will be counted as part of your Name Address Phone Number (NAP) citations, so even if you never post to most of the profiles, it’s still worth doing. Make sure your location features in your bio and add live links where possible. All the content you post to your social media channels should be in the same voice and style, to ensure brand consistency, including your graphics.
You can also incorporate relevant hashtags that include your location on Twitter and Instagram. Try searching trending topics using your local area, or add your location on to your hashtag, such as #brandingbradford or #sussexhair. Google now considers the NAP mentions in the profiles you have on social media when it analyses your local search score, so it’s vital to claim as many online profiles as possible. Always include this Name Address Phone Number data, as each mention counts as a citation, including mentions on social sites like your Facebook Business Page. Remember, the more local sites you can appear on as a local business, the more chances you will appear in search results, and the more chances you will have of people discovering your brand.
Reviews: Did you know that research has discovered 81% of potential customers read reviews and look at business ratings? Online reviews can make or break your business, especially if you are a local brand, and research has shown consumers to turn away and look elsewhere if you have negative reviews, or not many reviews. On the other hand, if you get lots of positive reviews, this has a positive effect on consumer trust. It’s also a good idea to respond to both positive and negative reviews, as researchers at Moz.com discovered this can help build trust and show engagement.
Replying to a negative review might sound contradictory, as you don’t want to appear you are arguing with customers who didn’t have a good experience with your brand. If you take an apologetic and concerned approach, or even offer a solution though, it can take the sting out of the negative feedback. This will demonstrate to other people that you are care and want to make things right.
Three top tips for getting more reviews:
- Ask: At the end of all relevant online content, ask your customers and visitors to leave you a great review, if they’ve interacted with your local business and haven’t already commented. If you have a database of customer email addresses, you can cross reference these with visits to your establishment, and send out automatic emails, asking people for their feedback. Make sure you ask customers to consider leaving a review when they are in your location and tell your staff members to remind customers to do this. In this course, you’ll be learning an ultra-efficient way to get reviews on Trip Advisor, by ordering official Trip Advisor cards that ask people for an online review of your brand, which you can hand out to your real-world customers.
- Offer an incentive: Obviously, you can’t, and should never try to bribe customers to leave you good feedback, but you can encourage them to comment on their experience with your brand. To do this, you could run a competition, where everyone that posts a screenshot of their review gets entered, or you ask people to email you with a link to their review, in exchange for a discount off their next purchase.
- Make it simple: People won’t leave you a review if they don’t know how or where to give their feedback, so tell them exactly where you want them to go. If you’re talking to them online, in an email or on social media, you can include a direct link they can click to leave you a review. You can do this for your Google My Business Reviews by logging into your GMB account and generating a short link, which you can pass on to your customers. If you are trying to get offline customers to get online and leave you a review, consider handing out cards with your review URL, or ask them for their email and then send them a review request later.