Digital Dos on Social Media

It’s finally hot here in Northern Virginia. In case the sun has you feeling a little brain fried, here’s a reminder of important “dos” on social media.

Do you

Let your readers see your personality shine through. Share your unique insight and strike a conversational tone that engages readers. Be social!

Think before you post

Big caution! Whether you post on company or personal pages, consider how everyone you are connected to may react. Hot-button topics like politics, religion, and gender issues are all over the news right now, but think before you add your commentary. Your customers will likely see the post, even if it was intended for a personal account.

Know your goal, but have a relationship mindset

We all want to grow sales, but social media isn’t strictly an ad space. You need to build your brand reputation, generate awareness, and increase visibility of your business. Take time to build relationships online.

Care for Your Audience

You are not the only one with needs – your audience has needs too. In fact, that’s probably what motivates them to read your content. They hope you can help in some way. Focus your content on what will help your audience and write it in a way that they will understand.

Is Your Business Ready For Local Search?

Guest Post by Josh Wardini, Community Manager

The world of SEO is undergoing some fundamental changes. For starters, recent years have seen a global shift to the internet use on mobile devices. Forecasts for this year and beyond only anticipate mobile trends to exponentially rise due to a number of factors.

Aside from mobile devices becoming increasingly available, virtual assistants like Siri and Google Assistant are getting smarter.

Plus, it’s hard not to get accustomed to the level of convenience that voice technology provides. Brands are continuing to develop everything from Alexa powered refrigerators to smart speakers with visual capabilities.

All of these combined have made it easier for people to rely on search engines for finding everything from how-tos to the restaurant with the best tapas nearby. And consumers are certainly making use of local search, with over 70% heading straight to a store once they’ve found the information they need.

Leveraging the Power of Local SEO

According to the research team at Serpwatch, almost a third of searches that happen on mobile are location-based. That’s a huge market share your business is missing out on if you fall behind on adapting your strategies.

This checklist will help ensure that you don’t. Read on for the fundamentals that’ll get you local-search ready.

Optimize for Mobile

A lot of local search happens on the go. So it’s crucial that your business is mobile ready too. Ensure that your website is properly adapted to smartphone views.

The same goes for your content. Structure articles in a way that makes information easy to digest. Keep in mind that users view videos on their phones mostly in portrait mode and use buttons with touch navigation. Invest in providing tailor-fitted online experience through responsive design.

Optimize for Voice

Your site might be optimized for SEO, but that’s no longer enough. Voice search queries are more conversational. You’ll have to tweak your strategies to include long-tail keywords. These are short phrases that more closely replicate natural speech. Instead of “carrot cake recipe,” the voice search equivalent would be more like “how do I bake a carrot cake?”

In that same vein, digestible content that’s neatly structured tends to show up more in voice search results. Loading time is another key aspect in voice search, with results loading much faster than desktop ones.

Clean up your Business Listings

Businesses fail when they overlook their listings. Various reports have found that not only do users search locally, they often act on the information they find. They’ll call the business number or even walk on over to the physical address.

Now, just imagine how it affects their perception of a brand when the information turns out to be incorrect. As it turns out, many industries fail on this particular point, from consumer protection companies to business attorneys, so make sure to exclude yourself by updating your company information.

Consider Signing up For Google Guarantee

As consumers, we love guarantees. Google leverages this in the Google Guarantee program. It offers a $2,000 coverage for “Guaranteed” businesses so that dissatisfied customers can always get their money back.

Imagine being on the business side of this deal. Not only does Google’s extra seal of approval add an “oomph” to your advertising, and the coverage makes hiring your company practically irresistible to customers.

Because Google is effectively staking its reputation on a business, getting that nifty green shield can be a trying process. It involves the business undergoing security checks, and not just online digital scan of some kind.

The inspection is on-site and includes social security number and criminal history checks. It extends to any employees that’ll potentially interact with customers. Once you pass inspection though, it’s worth it.

For starters, advertising through the program is charged on a per-lead basis – much cheaper than going through normal PPC ads.

Your Website Has Problems

If your website is like most, it has one or more of these common issues. There’s nothing more frustrating than a poorly designed website – they are hard for users, and worse, they work against your efforts to market online.

Avoid these common website problems:

  • Cluttered home page
  • Poor navigation
  • Hard to read
  • Out-of-date design

Your website should help you grow a following and retain customers. Here’s what you need to know.

Make Your Home Page Awesome

Many home pages are stuffed with too much content that leave visitors at a loss to discover what you are all about and what you can do for them.  Keep your home page focused. Tell people why they want to navigate deeper into your website.

Provide a Clear Path with Navigation

Your website navigation should be easy. This is not a place to get clever or creative. Present navigation that works like people expect. Use words that are clear. Labels like “Products,” “Services,” “Blog,” “About Us,” and “Contact” often appear in the menus of websites for a reason: they’re straightforward and easy to understand.

Ensure that your site hierarchy makes sense. Keep as few pages as are needed. Scrolling is no longer an issue for users. Group pages under logical menu items.

Help Visitors to Scan Content

Make sure your website is easy to read and understand. Limit the number of fonts, colors and styles. All of these make your page and content harder to scan.

Think short: short subheads followed by short words in short sentences grouped in short paragraphs.

Keep the Design Fresh

What’s the first impression created by your design? Does it look oh-so 90s? Design conventions change and your site needs to evolve too.

One big change is the move to responsive techniques that makes sites easy to view on the small screens of mobile devices. Your website should look great on desktops and mobile devices.

Responsive designs adapt to the device type that someone views them on. Make sure that your site buttons and menus are large enough to click on smaller screens.