Online Business Listing Networks  How to Make the Most of Online Business Listings online business listings

According to a recent report by Gartner, global mobile advertising costs are estimated to reach $18 billion this year. A further study by Forbes.com, meanwhile, reveals that: “95 percent of smartphone users have used their phone to look up local information.”

When people are on the move and looking for access to your products and services, it is essential that you are listing all of the correct information and reflecting your business in the best possible light, to ensure that you convert as many new customers as possible.

Some popular apps that incorporate social media for local business include: Google Maps (Google My Business), Facebook Places, FourSquare, Twitter, UrbanSpoon, Yelp and YP. Here are some of the basic things that you need to need to consider when creating or editing profiles on these sites.

Business name

Make sure that your company’s name is spelled, punctuated and formatted correctly. Standardizing how your company’s name displays is an important branding strategy. Many user-generated business listing may not take these branding elements into consideration. For example, a user may have added “McBurger’s” as the company name, whereas “Mc Burgers” would be the correct name.

Hours of operation

Customers may often turn to social media, third-party apps and other services to find your company’s hours of operation. If your hours are listed incorrectly, then you may risk losing new customers. Some services allow customers to make changes to hours of operation which makes regularly monitoring these services even more important.

Contact information

Contact information should always be included with business listings – no matter the platform. Many business listings include the ability to add an email, phone number and even a feedback or support link. This information gives your customers the ability to contact you directly with questions about your products or services. This form of lead-generation is very valuable to any business.

Description

Ensure that a professional company description is being used. Some services may generate a description automatically for your business, or use a customer’s review as the description. Creating your own standardized company description can lend to search engine optimization and maintains accuracy. Your description should address your company’s main services, location, target customers while establishing credibility and urgency. Most social media support business descriptions, including Facebook, Google My Business and Twitter.

Links and media

Including a link to your website helps people to easily locate your official company profile. If a reader doesn’t find enough information from the listing, then she can easily click or tap on your link to visit your website. Many services support additional links and media, including links to your products or services, photos of your business, list of products or menus and more. For example, UrbanSpoon is known for featuring photos uploaded by customers of restaurant menus and business interiors.

Ratings and reviews

Before the Internet, business ratings were much more difficult for a company to quantify. Feedback from your customers is an extremely valuable resource that can help your business grow and improve. Customer feedback gives you the opportunity to understand your customer’s experience with your business. Yelp has become one of the most common services with business reviews. These review services indicate a direct correlation between positive feedback and new business.

Customer feedback

By providing an email address with your business listings, you open the possibility to communicate directly with your customer. Customers can contact you with questions, concerns and comments. You can respond directly to a customer’s concerns and establish a much more personal relationship — which is very valuable for local businesses. While not all social media for local business supports customer reviews, Yelp’s service allows you to respond directly to a customer’s feedback in the reviews. This gives you the opportunity to address the comments left in a review. Responses from a business indicates to customers that your company genuinely values customer satisfaction.

Discounts and promotions

Social media for small business enables you to reach more customers than traditional advertising. As a result, you can create special discounts to attract new customers to your business. Many organizations leverage discount prices on goods or services to gain new business. Creating a promo code or digital coupon is a great strategy to bring in new business from social media. If you decide to list discounts on social media sites, it’s a good idea to include a unique code so that you can easily track its source. For example, “FreebieYP” could be a promo code where the YP represents Yellowpages.com’s YP app.