Having an up-to-date online presence is essential for awareness of your business, and it demonstrates your reliability by showing that you regularly monitor your digital channels. However, the task of staying up to date with tech trends is a job in itself and not one that many business owners think they have time for.
This isn’t something that you can let slip if you want to stay competitive – but the good news is that it’s easier than you think.
Here are my top three essential tips to keep your digital platforms up to date.
1. Embrace Google My Business
As you probably know, your business’s Google listing is managed within a free Google tool called Google My Business. Many business owners consider their Google listing and Google My Business account to be a “set and forget” situation, but this is a mistake. While you may not need to alter your listing day to day, it’s essential to keep it in mind when any of your business’s details change – from opening hours and products to prices and how people can reach you. It’s as simple as this: if you change something about your business, change your listing.
For example, your hours might be affected by COVID-19 restrictions or lockdowns, public holidays or a change in your personal circumstances. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than visiting a business at its advertised opening hours, only to find it closed. By keeping your information up to date, it can help cement your business’s reliable reputation.
What to update in Google My Business:
- Business name
- Opening hours
- Contact details
It’s also worth noting that the general public are able to suggest edits to your profile and these notifications are easy to miss. Another reason to regularly check your Google My Business account is to find and revert any unwanted changes.
Once your Google My Business is up to date, it’s important to check that your other directory listings are consistent, including your website and Facebook Business Manager.
2. Use social media efficiently
Social media is a great way to connect with customers. But these platforms and the algorithms that drive them are always evolving. Facebook, Instagram and TikTok use algorithms that feed users content based on what they’re most engaged in so they’re more likely to return to the platform. The downside is that consumers may not see content from sites or profiles that they’re interested in if they’re not constantly churning out highly engaging content. This can be a challenge for small businesses who are trying to reach more customers, but there are ways you can break through.
Define your social media strategy
Before venturing into targeted and paid advertisements, consider how your current social media strategy fares. Start by harnessing the ability of social media platforms to help you communicate in a meaningful way for free. No matter which platform you use, the first step is to assess your target audience. In the beginning, this will be your existing customers and followers who are already engaged with your brand. Position your posts to speak to what they will find helpful and useful. That will reflect favourably on your brand and business. Stay open to learning from your audience – you’ll quickly find out what grabs their interest and what doesn’t, and what they’d like to see more and less of.\
Before you post, consider these three questions:
- Who are you speaking to in this post?
- What do you want them to know?
- What do you want them to do as a result of seeing your posts?
Once you’ve put a successful free social media strategy in place, you might like to move on to paid social media advertisements. Your target audience for paid media will be an expansion on your current followers. Take the specific details you know about your passionate customers and explore them more broadly. You could look at their demographics, like age, gender or life stage. Or their psychographics – like their attitudes, interests and opinions. In simplest terms, the best way to find new customers through paid media is to target those most like your existing customers.
3. Get the most out of testimonials
Getting informal positive feedback is great for any business. But to certify your worth to new customers, it’s important to gather formal testimonials and use them to your advantage.
One way to welcome formal reviews is to ask your customers to score you out of ten on how they found their experience with your business, such as receiving a product and using it, or receiving a service and how well it lived up to their expectations. Then, depending on the gap – say you receive a score of five – review what you could do to improve. What parts of your business could you focus on refining?
The best testimonials are those where the identity of the reviewer is authenticated –meaning you’ve proven they’ve used or purchased your product or service. You can do this by including a photo or some basic information about the reviewer, like their name, age and location (with their permission). If you’re using a platform like Amazon to sell your product, the platform itself might authenticate reviewers on your behalf. A significant number of legitimate reviews (with a high average rating) are likely to encourage a new customer to consider your business – and potentially spend money with you.
If you’d like more information on this topic, my book Scores on the Board further explores how to get the most out of testimonials.
Managing your business’s digital platforms doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Build on the platforms, systems and testimonials you already have in place and expand when you’re ready. Running successful digital platforms is about maintaining regular, achievable updates that keep your customers informed and interested in your business.