How to improve your search ranking on Yelp

If you are running a small business – say, a mechanic shop, diner, dentistry or hair salon, chances are people are talking about your business on Yelp. Over 30 million customers have written a review of a local business using Yelp and about 78 million folks check out those reviews every month. The site’s popularity is such that a search for a business by name could list it’s Yelp review even before the business’ own website.

Getting a positive (or negative) review on Yelp is not hard, but since a big chunk of Yelp’s 78 million monthly users are accessing reviews directly via their website or app, the challenge is getting your business at the top of Yelp’s search results. Here are five tips for improving your ranking on Yelp –

1. Get more reviews. Unless your business is the only one Continue reading “How to improve your search ranking on Yelp”

How Starbucks Use Twitter

Social media is clearly a great tool for promoting a business or organization. But all business leaders have one concern about social media: What to do about the stream of unflattering feedback in such public forums.

Staying away from Twitter, FourSquare or any of the other social networks is not a good way to manage negative sentiments. A better approach is to take control of the conversation by establishing a presence in the networks so that you can monitor and follow up on negative feedback.

Let’s look at Starbucks as an example, this retail giant is celebrating 40 years of business – and lots of negative feedback! In an interview with USA Today, CEO Howard Schultz described one way the company uses Twitter:

We have a Twitter feed visible in our corporate office that is unfiltered. So we are watching what people are saying about Starbucks. From time to time I go over and look at it, and it’s not always positive. I like that. I can’t answer why people are so emotionally linked to what we do or why they like or don’t like us so much. I do like the fact that they’re talking about us.”
-USA Today

The fact is, you can’t stop people from using social media to say good or bad things about your business or organization, but if you are a part of the conversation you can clarify misconceptions, learn from accurate criticisms, and show off the positive buzz.

Free Apps? Good Idea!


There are apps for almost every interest and activity under the sun – apps for products, services, games, tips, guides, and apps for keeping up with social networks. It’s true that app developers are making lots of money selling apps – but business and organizations are doing just as well by giving away free applications they pay to develop.

Three reasons free apps can be great for your business or organization are –

Service. Make your customers or constituents happy by providing apps that meet their needs and they’ll do more than thank you for it. Not sure what that app might be? How about developing an app that reminds customers of appointments, birthdays, events or updates to your Website? You can also browse an app store for ideas.

Branding. Engaging apps are great for branding. Some of the most engaging apps are those that feature a game or enable social networking – or stuff that people  spend a lot of time doing. Associating your brand with a game or a network could be a great way to keep customers thinking about your product or services.

Revenue. You can earn revenue from your free app through advertising. Most free apps pay for themselves by running ads from Google, AdMob or other networks. But best of all, a free app can bring customers to your business or engage constituents!

The fact is, people are more likely to try a great free app than one they have to pay for – consult with an interactive marketing expert to see which app could get your brand out there. Also, check out our  our webcast of the recent Google Talks event, “The App Economy: How mobile developers attract users, win fans and make money.”

New Year’s Resolutions For Small Businesses

Get a smart phone, socialize your Website and form partnerships in 20111. Get a smart phone. This great tip appeared on the New York Times‘ list of “10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Technology“. Your clients are no longer using phones for conversation only, they are using them to find products and services, get directions,  keep track of appointments and goals. Mobile marketing is the next frontier for engaging your clients. In order to understand how your customers are using mobile phones, you need to become a user.

2. Socialize your Website. If referrals are important to your business, you’ll need to make it easy for your current clients to tell their friends about your great products and services. Subscribe to services (such as ‘Add This‘ and ‘Share This’) that allow visitors and clients to share your content with friends in their social networks. After all, your clients (and potential clients) are visiting your Website, but they are spending most of their time in social networks.

3. Form partnerships to promote your business. Although new media marketing delivers clear, track-able results, it can be costly and time consuming for small businesses. Partnering with a business that is not a competitor is one way to over come the cost and time. For example, if you are running a bakery, partner with the shop next door to retweet messages, Facebook statuses and share a marketing budget. Soon you’ll find that you are building and sharing a community of supporters for half the effort.

Is Your Website Social Media Friendly?

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If referrals are important to your business or organization, then visitors to your Website should be able to forward your content to friends in just a few clicks instead of taking time to “copy and paste” your Web links before emailing them to friends.

Online communication today is more than “email”. More and more people are choosing to use social networks as their primary communication platform.

Some of the top Websites are finding that a growing number of their new visitors are coming from social networks where their regular visitors are sharing Web links. For example, news out of TWTRCON (the annual “Twitter for Business” conference) is that social media is the fastest growing source of traffic to the Wall Street Journal Online, wsj.com! Up to 15% of visitors to wsj.com get there through links posted on Facebook, twitter, StumbleUpon or other social media Websites. Continue reading “Is Your Website Social Media Friendly?”