New Social Tools for Local Businessesby Kent Lewis on May 13, 2010Local Search
I know, I know, another post about social media tools. Are you getting sick of hearing about these tools? If you’re a small business owner, you might want to pay attention as the two tools I’m going to discuss could greatly impact your business. It’s extremely difficult as developments in social media continue, and new tools pop up from the depths seemingly on a daily basis. However, understanding what these tools do and how they can help is paramount in the success of your shop/store.
The first tool, Twitter, is most likely not new to you. If it is, oh boy, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you. Twitter is a great tool, if used properly, to engage, provide tips/info and (cautiously) promote your business or products & services. Hopefully you’re already exploring how Twitter can work for you. The latest news on the Twitter front, which has been a very restricted beta for several months, and is called the Twitter Business Center. The features look fairly limited to start, but will provide additional credibility through a “verified account” badge and the ability for business to send/receive direct messages without having to have both parties following each other. Here’s a list of the new features:
- Additional customization of your business profile – I’m hoping this is address/phone info for an additional Google citation
- A “verified account” badge – this can provide your business with more credibility, kind of like a “secure site” badge for an ecommerce site
- Select additional preferences – not exactly sure what these are, but they are supposed to help you reach your target audience more effectively
- Add contributors – this feature would allow multiple folks to tweet from your business account
The second tool is FourSquare for Businesses. FourSquare is sort of following in the footsteps of Twitter, as it has risen in popularity very quickly; however, the popularity is restricted to mostly those that use smartphones. The overall popularity, or even the very existence of FourSquare, by the public majority is very, very small. The popularity for this app in the smartphone community jumps to a 63% adoption rate. So, as a business owner, what are the reasons for including FourSquare in your marketing arsenal?
- Create different types of specials for those that “check-in” to your place of business on a regular basis
- Utilize window decals or signs to help promote your FourSquare participation to passersby
- Obtain real-time stats for your business through FourSquare statistics
- most recent visitors
- most frequent visitors
- time of day of check-ins
- …and more
I highly encourage small business owners to get in the game and learn how to use these tools. As of right now, these are free tools that can dramatically impact your business if done correctly. Get creative with your special offers and encourage your customers to get involved (tell them about the benefits of helping you – i.e. special offers).
I’d love to hear some success stories of businesses using Twitter, FourSquare or any other social media tool to drive engagement and revenue. Please feel free to post in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.