Social Media

Google, Yahoo, MSN/Bing, Yelp

More than 80% of people rely on reviews to see what other customers are saying about you before they give you their business. These websites include Yelp, Google Places, Citysearch and Yahoo Local.

What are they?

Yelp, Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Citysearch are websites that collect customer reviews about local businesses. Some of them have generated a lot of controversy, but there is no denying their impact. Tens of millions of people visit each of these websites every month, on their phones or on their computers, and that number is growing fast.

Why are they important?

Love them or hate them, sites like Yelp are not going anywhere, especially when 4 out of 5 customers rely on online reviews before spending their money.

And now that businesses can respond to Yelp and Google reviews, business owners have the power to make their presence on these sites more positive and rewarding—if they do it right.

What is the best way to use them?

  • Claim your business listing, and fill out your profile completely.
  • Monitor your profiles constantly, and respond to reviews while they’re fresh.
  • Thank positive reviewers, and respond sincerely to negative ones.
  • Always be polite and eager to please—other people are watching.
  • Invite positive reviewers to join your Facebook Page.
  • Flag inappropriate reviews immediately, and follow up to make sure they’re removed.

What is it?

Facebook is the largest website on the internet. Its mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. It has over 500 million users. If it were a country, it would be the third largest on Earth.

Why is it important?

Facebook is bigger than Google. It has more users. It occupies more Americans’ time than any other website. And people who find you from Facebook are more likely to come back than people who find you from Google. Because Facebook is not about ads—it’s about relationships—it’s more credible in the eyes of your customers.

What is the best way to use it?

  • Create a Facebook Page for your business.
  • Invite your customers to join your page as “fans.”
  • Share engaging content with your fans, so they stay in touch.
  • Subtly encourage your fans to spread the word about your business.
  • Create promotions that reward people for being fans, and that attract new fans.
  • Register for a customized Facebook URL, and use it in your marketing materials.

What is it?

Twitter is “a real-time information network powered by people all around the world that lets you share and discover what’s happening now.” For businesses, it’s a simple tool that helps connect them more meaningfully with the right customers when they’re ready to spend money.

Why is it important?

Twitter processes 50 million messages (or “tweets”) every day. And smart businesses are taking notice. GM uses it to solve customer service issues. Citysearch integrates tweets into its reviews. And Dell has sold millions of dollars worth of computers through Twitter alone. Thousands of local businesses are also using Twitter in creative ways to attract and retain customers.

Why? Because Twitter users are about twice as likely to visit a company’s website, post an online review, or click on an ad.

What is the best way to use it?

  • Search Twitter for what people are saying about your business or your industry.
  • Reach out to customers looking for your product, but do so in a helpful way.
  • Use Twitter to reach new people.
  • Keep it short! Twitter only lets you post messages of 140 characters or less.