December 31, 2012
Basically, they’re mimicking Google+’s attempts to make their social site mandatory for business success in local search marketing. Determined to show us, in no uncertain terms, how they plan to remain a major contender in the social media market, Facebook has increased the significance of its social platform – yet again – in what seems like an instant, all while forcing us as small business owners to re-evaluate our social media marketing plans. Potentially.
I’ve Gone Crawling Back… with Flowers, Chocolates, & Hallmark Cards. Plural.
Inconvenient, but true.
Even as many SMBs still scramble to set up and optimize Google+ pages for our businesses to take fuller advantage of local search traffic, it seems we’ll also have to continue to put up with Facebook Fan Pages to milk the most benefit from our local business marketing.
What am I on about, exactly?
Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land clarifies my obtuse ranting, delivering the bad news, in: Facebook Gets Into Local Search With “Facebook Nearby” For iOS & Android.
Now I “Need” a Facebook Fan Page for My Business? Ugh.
All right. Fine. I’ll stop being Suzy Cynic. I’ll stifle the bile building in the back of my esophagus and be big enough to admit the fact that this news isn’t “bad” for those who already have (or plan to build) a strong Facebook fan page, and/or for those who have at least chosen Facebook as one place on which to build a social media presence.
For this crowd, it’s quite great news.
But for those of us disenchanted by the very mention of the term “fan page,” exasperated and perhaps overwhelmed with the myriad of potential social media options, who want to just pick one or two freaking site already, and to H-E-double-hockeysticks with the rest of them, well… For us Cantankerous Carlas (or Carloses)… it’s not-so-fine news.
Sure, it’s easy to use a service like dlvr.it to connect a Facebook fan page to automatically receive posts from a business blog, “set it and forget it,” and simply monitor for comments and mentions. Eenie, meenie, chili-beanie.
But of course … we also know that this is not the optimal way to use Facebook, Google+ (or any social media site). The key to “social” media is, of course, the engagement.
Mandatory Nag: We cannot be anti-social SMM hermits and expect to reap the truest benefits from our social media marketing (lack of) “efforts.”
Yeah, yeah. We get that.
Even so, if this sort of automation is all you can manage for now (and this holds true for many solopreneurs), then it’s better than nothing – certainly with all the local search benefits that are continually rolling into social media marketing.
And it is freaking OK.
The point is to do something – and this new bit of news may well nudge you toward Facebook as your social media presence of choice.
Social Media Plus Local Search = Ooo, La La!
Corniness aside, here’s an excerpt from Greg’s article on how Facebook’s “Nearby” application can help bring local customers to you, through social media:
If You Don’t Have a Page, You Won’t Show Up
Facebook is only relying on its own data and only showing places where there are associated pages (with locations) in its database. Businesses that don’t already have a presence on Facebook will need to set one up to be found. Accordingly Facebook will see pages penetration grow especially among small businesses that don’t already have pages.
Here’s Facebook’s “SEO” advice to make pages more discoverable in the new nearby feature (from its blog post):
• Update your page to include all of your basic information, including your address, store hours, phone number, and details about your business in the About section.
• Update your category to make sure you appear when people are looking for your specific type of business.
• Encourage your consumers to like, check into, rate, and recommend your place.
Facebook Nearby thus becomes a new front in the expanding battle over local business reputations. Local SEO practitioners will now have to focus on helping their clients get ratings/reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook, among any others.
Now…Are the Importance of Social Media Marketing and Local Search Becoming Clearer to You?
In a time when using social media for business is still fairly new and unfamiliar to many entrepreneurs, the one pervasive question for many still is: How will social media marketing drive real, paying customers to my business?
I mean, it’s simply still not clear … particularly since the monetary benefits from social media are indirect, and are largely long-term and not immediate.
You likely already know these things.
So then, social media’s clear (and ever-growing) connection to local search is one primary key.
Though the social media site(s) you choose for your business should be based on a number of factors (ugh, article still pending – sorry guys!), we now have at least one very good reason to consider a Facebook fan page (and Google+ page, of course): To help drive more local customers to our businesses.
Interested in learning more? Get the full scoop about Facebook’s new social media / local search tie-in on Search Engine Land.
Harmony Major began building business websites and marketing online in 1999, converting her e-biz to full-time in less than one year – at age 19. These days, she does simple, conversion-focused websites and redesigns for service professionals, non-profits, and minority- and woman-owned businesses. Find Harmony at: ExcellentPresence.com or blog: http://blog.excellentpresence.com